This morning was the Halloween Halfathon held down in Fort Desoto Park. It was a promising weekend for a half marathon with yesterday's morning temperature of 62 degrees. However, since this race is a little farther south, it was a little bit warmer this morning than yesterday morning, about 73 degrees at the start. But still, it was cooler than last year with just a slight breeze.
Woke up at 4:30, left at the house right at 5:00 and was at the park entrance just before 6:00, then a few more minutes driving inside the park. Jenny and I already had our bibs, so we just picked up our chips and then had the rest of the time to warm up. I did just under 2 miles of easy jogging with a few strides thrown in at the end. I wasn't feeling very fast this morning or overly confident, but I was going to give it my best shot.
Jenny and I lined up in the starting area where we also saw her friend Kathryn and I talked to some people I knew, Pat, who is also doing crazy events like back to back marathons, Iron Mans, 100 mile races, etc, and Roger who looks just like Santa Claus - but Santa who puts in a lot of miles and eats right!
Mile 1 - 6:37
I got up near the front, doing a pretty good job of lining up, as I didn't have to go around too many people. We were heading into some wind at first, but turned at the end of the parking lot and got out of it. I was feeling pretty good but not completely warmed up, so I thought I would ease into it. My hoped for pace was to get on a sub-6:30 pace and try to hold it as long as possible.
Miles 2 and 3 - 6:30, 6:22 (+:22)
The next two miles wind through a wooded area and then come back to the starting line. I felt good on 2 and then felt faster on mile 3, but as usual, Garmin and the actual mile markers are off by mile 3
Miles 4, 5, and 6 - 6:40, 6:45, 6:40
This stretch is always tough for me, after completing the initial loop, then heading out on the path that runs next to the water. There were 3 guys in a pack ahead of me, and ahead of them was a lone female who was the 3rd place woman. I kept the 4 of them in my sights and tried to get into a rhythm. I did a little bit better job on this stretch than I have before.
Miles 7, 8, and 9 - 6:33, 6:44, 6:39 (+:07)
Just before mile 8 is the turn around for the last stretch back. I think around mile 6 or 7 was where I finally caught up to 3rd place female (who later turned out to be someone I know kind of and has often beaten me at races). I think about mile 9, I caught and passed one of the three guys.
Miles 10 - finish - 6:39, 6:26, 6:41, 6:28, :55 (0.15 @ 5:57)
I made it to mile 10 and knew I had a good shot at a PR and could still go under 1:27:00, but I wasn't exactly sure. Pacing math starts to get kind of fuzzy around this part in the race. Shortly after the 10 mile sign, a guy cruises by me. I later talked to him, he told me how he started out slowly, not feeling well, gradually picked it up and ended up having the best race of his life. Soon, I was at the 11 mile sign and just had a good mile under 6:30. Helped a little to try and not let the guy that passed me too far ahead even though it didn't look like I could catch him. Usually, at the 11 mile point, I can pick up the pace and hold it until the finish. But, I suddenly felt like I was getting run down and had to struggle to hold onto the pace. Finally, see the 12 mile sign, legs were starting to burn. Decided not to look at the pace anymore, just look ahead to the next guy.
The race finishes in a parking lot, my watch had just clicked over to 1:26:00. I wasn't sure how long the last stretch was, but was going to try my best. I turned the corner and could finally see the clock, it was 1:26:4x something, gave it all I had but could see the clock tick over to 1:27:00.
A new PR! (after 2 half marathons which were slower), no sub-1:27:00 but I have 3 more of these races between now and March, to go under 1:27:00 and then start edging down towards 1:25. There were a few miles where I knew I could have pushed a little harder but was afraid to blow up. I'm very happy with the last mile and finishing kick. Just need to work on the stuff in between!
Won 3rd place in the masters division (number 2 was about 5 minutes faster than me)
Note: Hurray for chip time! 1:27:05 :) (gun time was 1:27:07)