The short version of my Winter Carnival half marathon is that I basically ran 7:10s to the turn around point just passed mile 7 and then ran 6:50s the final 6 miles to finish in 1:32:27.
When I was thinking about this race last week, I had it in my head that I'd run conservative (7:10 - 7:15 pace) for the first 3 miles and then run 7:00 pace for the last 10. That would put me at 1:32:20. While the end result was pretty close, the course and the conditions did not lend themselves to that kind of pacing today.
For the most part, the course is out and back on Shepard Road in St. Paul. There are a lot of rolling hills, which are mostly uphill on the way out. And this year we had a steady headwind on the way out too. So even though I went through 3 miles at 7:11 pace, I knew there was no way I'd be able to drop down to 7:00 pace until we hit the turn around. Basically, I just bidded my time and kept clicking off 7:10ish miles through mile 7.
Once I hit the turn around I was ready to pick up the pace and pass everyone in front of me. Of course, everyone else was thinking the same thing too. So while I was able to pass a handful of people during the second half, let it be known that I did not pass everyone. And I don't think anyone passed me until the final mile when I was just ready to be done.
Once we did turnaround, I couldn't wait to get to mile 8 to get some feedback and see whether or not the change of direction was helping. Of course, I knew it was, but I wanted to know how much. Was I only running 7:00 pace, which would make 1:32 out of the question, or was I running the 6:50s I needed to get back on 1:32 pace? So when I hit mile 8 in 6:49, it as a relief. I passed mile 9 in 7:21 and immediately knew it was long, so I figured 10 would be short. Sure enough, I went through 10 in 6:22. That means those averaged out to 6:51s.
I'm not sure if 11 was short (6:37) and 12 was long (6:57) or if I just pushed too hard during mile 11 and paid for it during mile 12. I do know that that's a possibility because during mile 11 I was running with a guy that had his headphones just blaring. Based on his breathing, I knew he was working pretty hard. At one point he started to cough/hack/spit and I took the opportunity to pick it up a little and get some separation.
At mile 12 I knew I had about 7:30 to get under 1:32. I thought I could make it but I forgot about the steep climb up Jackson street heading back into downtown St. Paul and the subsequent half mile that still remains after that.
In the end, I'm pretty happy with this race. Of course, when I look at the results it's easy to say I should beat him and him and her. But I have to keep my ego in check. I have to remember where I was 4 months ago, remember that I basically didn't race all of last year, remember that it's only January, and remember to keep striving to improve.
In my last post I gave Steve and Mike a hard time for sand bagging their goals. I bet they'd both run sub-1:25. I admit I was wrong, but they both were within 1-2 seconds per mile of running sub-1:25.
I based my predictions for them, and me, off of Daniels's VDOT chart. Using this chart and my Meet of Miles time, my VDOT falls squarely between 49 and 50. If I look at the half marathon column, Daniels predicts 1:33:12 for a VDOT of 49 and 1:31:35 for a VDOT of 50. If you split the two in half you get 1:32:23, which is pretty dang close to my final time.