This past weekend, I laced up my shoes for my second half marathon this year: The South Shore Half Marathon in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This was a new race for me, and I was pleasantly surprised; it was fairly small (just over 1000 people) and the atmosphere was extremely laid-back. The course was an out-and-back 6.5 mile loop along the Oak Leaf Bike Trail, a gorgeous, rolling, paved trail that took us along Lake Michigan, scenic parks and wooded areas.
What a beautiful day to run!
Mentally, the race was made easier to run because the trail wound around endless corners, and the scenery changed so much that I never got bored with the sights. I was surprised by the amount of rolling hills there were (I’m starting to sense a trend…hills always seem to surprise me) but there weren’t too many big ones. Every time I came to a small hill, I just thought of the Livestrong Half Marathon in Austin and all the giant hills I conquered there…with that in mind, this race was a piece of cake.
Going into the race, I told myself I would run it as more of a “training” run for the Wisconsin Half Marathon in May; I didn’t want to run all out, but simply run the 13 miles so my body got used to the distance, thus making May’s race day easier. However, as soon as I started moving along in the crowd and passing other people, I found it hard to slow down.
Mile 1 – 10:19 pace.
Right on target for the 10:20 pace I had planned on. But, soon I was whipping around people and before I knew it, another mile had passed…too quickly.
Mile 2 – 9:54
With that war of “speed up to pass—no, slow down to your pace” in my mind, my splits were all over the place:
Mile 3 – 10:23
Mile 4 – 10:22
Mile 5 – 10:01
Mile 6 – 10:02
At mile 6.5 (the turn-around point) I realized that if I picked up my pace a little, I could PR. I should have realized that, duh—I was already pushing it far more than I had planned, and there was no way I could continue that pace, let alone pick it up much more. I mean, look at that face:
But, I tried, thus mile 6 & 7 continued to hover around 10 minutes per mile. But I paid for it eventually, around mile 10.
Mile 7 – 10:06
Mile 8 – 10:33
Mile 9 – 10:31
Mile 10 – 11:17
I remember feeling really rough during this mile, until I finally hit water stop #3 and chugged down a cup of water and a cup of Gatorade. (Next time I’ll carry water with me.)
Mile 11 – 10:16
Mile 12 – 10:34
My view was something like this coming into the home stretch—gorgeous Milwaukee skyline on a sunny day:
Mile 13.1 – 11:11
Final time = 2:15:35
Woohoo! Compared to my 2:21:58 finish time in Austin in late February, I improved SO much! Better yet, I felt so good after this half compared to February’s. I hobbled around a bit on Saturday, but just two days later, I feel pretty good already…so good that I plan to go on an easy run of 4-5 miles tomorrow.
I’d say I’m on track to PR at the Wisconsin Half-Marathon, my biggest goal for the year. The time to beat will be 2:11. It will be a push, but I’m determined. What do you think? Any advice?
I see several bouts of speedwork in my near future…