Back to running - Half Marathon PR (Read 645 times)

    2007 was a bad running year for me. Got injured in my foot in February and only started running again in December. As I started to run, I mixed in swimming and spinning (with a local triathlon club) with just three runs a week. I was inspired by the FIRST training plans but I thought they were a too aggressive with their speed sessions. So, this morning I attended my first race in a year an a half: the Montreal Half Marathon. I wasn't sure what pace I should start with. My PB was on the same course a couple of years back where I averaged 5min/km (8min mile). Back then, I was running 5 times a week with much higher mileage. Also, as I tapered last week, I had started feeling pain in my foot again. i.e. things were not looking good. But I massaged my foot this morning and it felt better, so I decided to start at my PB pace and adjust based on how I felt. Prior to the race start, I ran 5 minutes to warm up my legs and stretch. The warm-up run had built my confidence, my legs felt rested, my foot was fine, I felt positive yet nervous. Waiting for the race to start, I tried to stay relaxed and control my nervousness. As the race started I crossed the starting line, the trail was crowded. I passed others slowly, not overdoing it going by feel (I decided to leave my GPS at home and only use a stopwatch, wise decision). I missed the first kilometer marker, but my watch was showing 5 min when I noticed. I was going under 5 minutes a km. Not sure if I was right, I checked with the next km and I was going roughly 4:45 to 4:50 min a km. I was wondering whether I was going too fast, but my legs felt relaxed and not pushing too much. So I decided to stick with the pace for the first half of the race at least as long as my legs felt relaxed. As I was going through the first half of the race I was still clocking very consistently the same splits. I was feeling very positive: if I could maintain my pace, I would break my PR. About the half way mark I started feeling my legs starting to work, but just moderately, nothing to worry about. The plan now was to keep the pace for the next 4k and then give it all I got for the last 6k. As I got to the 6k to go mark, I was still keeping my pace but started feeling more tired. It was also getting warmer and the sun was getting strong. But everything was going according to plan, now was the time to push, and I did. I pushed harder each kilometer, yet I was keeping roughly the same pace. The last two kilometers were the hardest. I kept playing the game of spotting a sign and running to it, this got me to still keep my pace. With half a kilometer to go, and hearing the announcer and then the crowd at finish line, I started to accelerate, I was surprised I still had som gas in the tank, finished with a strong but smooth sprint. I felt great! I had given all I got and I knew that I broke my previous PR of 1:45:59 but not sure by how much. After I limped home and checked the results online I was thrilled: 1:41:22 ! Almost 5 minutes off my PB! I am thrilled about my time and new PB, but most of all, I am happy to be running again and that my training plan is doing very well and is keeping me injury free. The only sad thing is that this new PB is going to be harder to break Big grin - Ronald