Temp 73 Wind 5 mph. Humidity 98% Dew Point 70°.
Have about 60 training days before HM to fix any weak areas. Also using today to test pre-race fueling, hydration, and warm-up. Knock all three of those bullet points out of the park. Repeat in November.
Less than ideal conditions so not going to get a fair test of real fitness. Plug the numbers into race equivalency calculator and weather conditions adjustment calculator. A 52:08 finish time today would indicate 1:26:00 HM fitness.
Been doing my AT training runs using 5:00 minute Garmin alerts, so go with that. Top three established in less than 60 seconds. Go out with Joe W. and Doug A. Doug is running with his dog. Pace feels just a few ticks slow and dog is all over the place...back and forth on the trail, slows down, speeds up. I am behind them. Patient and wait until I hear the first 5:00 minute alert. Check and we are at 6:29 pace. Move on past them and take the lead.
Relaxed and rolling. Plan was to drink at 2.0 and 4.0 miles. Find the first water stop at 1.5. Skip it thinking I will see the next one at 3.0. It's not until right before the turn around (about 3.9), so decide to go on, make the turn around and get it on the way back. Out Mile Splits = 6:26 / 6:26 / 6:27 / 6:28 (25:47).
Come back and step off to get a drink. Both JW and DA pass me. Checked Garmin after race and I took 0:11 to get a drink. Will be my only stop now, so drank sports drink. Mile 5 Split = 6:37 (less 0:11 drink = 6:26). Things pretty much went to shit during this mile as pace was too uneven. Had caught back up to DA fairly quick; however, trouble getting around with dog breaking my stride again and now contending with runners coming the other way on the course. Do not get around him until just before going under Southern Expressway overpass. Starts to rain steady now. Realize that I should have took water over sugary sports drink as it starts to fight back. (Very glad to know this before HM...Drink Water!!)
Totally lose it in mile six. Go 6:45 and lose my 2nd OA position back to DA. Know that I am screwing the pooch here, so back up, relax, and try to get things back together. Start to recover on mile seven -- 6:39. Getting my act back together again and mile 8 -- 6:28. Do not make back up my lost position(s) and finish 3rd OA.
Clock Time = 52:16. 3rd OA and 1st 50-59 AG. Pretty much what I needed to show that I am on target. That 0:11 second drink is probably the difference. Will need to practice drinking while running and will need to plan to drink only water during HM. Will also need to remember not to run behind any dogs.
Old 8-Mile PR from 2009 was 57:12. Beat that by 4:56. Overall pretty happy with performance. About one month from 53rd birthday and averaging 6:32 for eight miles on a warm, muggy late August morning. Will take it.