Ogden NUTS Half Marathon. Ran 1:12:54, a PR by over a minute. Offical clock was started late, so that is my watch time. This was a pretty good race and made me feel better about my early-spring fitness level.
5:18 (mile short?)
5:49 (mile long?)
0:32 (0.1, jogged)
The course is the first half of the Ogden Marathon, so gentle downhill (400 ft drop) over the first 8 miles, and then mild rolling hills with very little net elevation change for the last 5 miles. Conditions were good: about 45 degrees, overcast, occasional sprinkles, and only occasional mild wind.
Tim Wight and I took off early and broke away from the pack by Mile 3 or so. We knew that Nate Long was lurking somewhere back there, and sure enough he caught up around Mile 6. Tim and I, in the meantime, were having trouble finding a consistent pace and bounced around pace-wise in the first half for some reason (see mile splits). I'm not sure why this occurred or how much I lost in efficiency, but we sure weren't trying to surge or anything. At Mile 8 the descent ended and we turned to go around Pineview Reservoir, the rolling part of the course. Near that point Nate took over and I hopped on with him; Tim did not go with the move, but ran steady from behind. Without the downhill and with the increased pace, I began to labor more, whereas Nate was barely breathing. However, Nate turned out to be an extremely nice and generous guy, and paced and encouraged me over the tough miles and offered to take the wind for me whenever it picked up. This definitely aided me greatly and helped me get more out of the race. Nate's pacing was much steadier than mine, and we locked in on consistent 5:30-5:40 pace over the rolling hills, which I was very happy with (even splits overall for the race). We cruised into the finish together; he got a good workout and I got a nice PR. Tim ended up somewhere in the 1:13s, maybe up to a minute behind (haven't seen results yet).
This race was encouraging to me, and makes me think I can run a good Ogden Marathon, perhaps in the low 2:30s, or even sub-2:30, if I can make some fitness and biomechanical improvements in the next six weeks. My mileage is finally up to the 75-80 mile range, and I think my fitness is finally getting there. I still need to lose 10lbs, which will help greatly, I believe.
If my body feels good tomorrow and Monday, I will most likely register for the Ogden Marathon, but making sure my back and knee can handle hard training and racing is the first priority. During the race today, my knee felt good (didn't notice it at all, but my back was pretty tight. However, I felt smoother than any race to date. Through physical therapy, the flexibility of my hamstrings and back joints have increased dramatically, and that will only help my running and injury control.