I've been excited about Sunday's race for a while now, since I registered. But now that the race is just a few days away, I've got another feeling coming in.
And you know what that means? I'm ready. Ready for the race. Prepared for 13.1. Set for chasing a PR.
If it's Thursday and I'm not nervous about the weekend, that means I don't have a race coming up. It's just a fact of life. I get nervous about races. I know I'll finish the race, that much I've learned in the two-plus years I've been racing, but the nerves don't go away. Maybe that's just how I handle things. So I wanted to blog about my race plan here in order to try and quell my nerves and try and really picture the race.
According to the Long Beach Marathon Web site, the half marathon course "is flat and fast and runs 100 percent along the shoreline."
Key word: flat.
Of course, my half marathon PR was on a hilly course, so I'm hoping since I don't have to account for hills that I will be able to run a strong and consistent race. I'm trying to PR, which means a finish of under 1:56:58. I think the strategy that will work best for me will be to run some strong early miles and try and maintain that throughout the race. That's what normally works for me as opposed to trying to pick up the pace late, which doesn't.
The carrots I'll be dangling in front of me are the split times at the 5K, 5-mile, 10K and 10-mile marks. I hope to hit splits of...
5K - 27:02-27:36
5m - 43:30-44:30
10K - 54:04-55:19
10m - 1:27:00-1:29:00
To be honest, that does not seem unreasonable. I have run at that 10K time during training runs before. In fact, whenever I crack the six-mile mark I generally think to my worst 10K which I did in 56:01 and see how I compare to that. Of course, the challenge is to run seven miles beyond that and maintain that pace. By mile 10 I'll be able to know if a PR is realistic or not.
By the way, the above times are between an 8:42 and 8:54 per minute pace.
In Redlands, my plan was to get through the hills strong, which I did, and then finish strong, which I mostly did. I seem to remember the last mile taking a long time. I knew my flat miles would have to be strong no matter what, and they were, but that was a bit of pressure for me. This time I might be able to relax more and focus and hopefully that will translate into a strong, consistent pace.
Physically, I'm recovered from my fever. I had a strong four-mile run on Wednesday and am ready for one or two final training runs before the real deal arrives. I got a plan, but will I get a PR? We'll see on Sunday if I can follow through on my plan.