Striders Half Marathon. As a rare treat, we had great weather this year: overcast, little to no wind, and temps in the low 40s.
This race was to be my last big workout before Boston. Since I had a shorter buildup for this marathon, I wanted to race a bit more frequently, so I did the St George Half in late January, then the Moab Half in mid-March, and the Striders Half today. My main goal was just to run well and get my confidence back up after a rather rocky Moab race a couple weeks ago, and to stay in control and not tap the well at all in doing so. (no need to get too tired or sore this close to Boston). It ended up being a really positive effort today, and I accomplished all that I set out to do. I felt sharp both physically and mentally.
When the race started, I got out to a quick start, but the first three miles were all pretty conversational. Bryant Jensen, who I figured would be my main competition, and Riley Cook went with me. The first three miles were 5:10, 5:11, and 5:06 (all mild downhill). Riley dropped back after 3, and then it was just Bryant and I.
I felt good at this pace, and wanted to keep it going for the 3 remaining downhill miles. Miles 4-6 were 5:00, 4:59, and 5:01. It was not a conscious surge, kind of happened organically, but I liked it and went with it. Was definitely breathing harder (no longer conversational pace), but still felt very controlled and loose. Bryant dropped a couple steps behind me, but kept close contact, and then dropped further back after Mile 6.
With Bryant dropping back a little, I pressed the pace as the course exited the canyon and started on the rolling hills around the lake. Mile 7 was another 5:00, and then 5:05 for Mile 8. The pace was now feeling pretty hard, but I was actually enjoying the hills a little bit after the long downhill.
Miles 9 and 10 were 5:14 and 5:08, respectively. Just 5K to go, and I felt like the race was pretty much sealed. The long uphill incline to the finish was coming up, and I didn't want to push too hard for this race, so I just tried to keep the pace honest and steady, but also cruise a little bit. 5:16, 5:19, and 5:19 for Miles 11, 12, and 13. Coasted into the finish in 37s for the 0.1, and finished with a time of 1:07:29.
This was almost 2 minutes faster than what I ran in 2007, and I also recaptured my old course record, which had been broken by Alex Tomas in 2009. So that was good. The course is a net downhill, but still somewhat challenging with the rolling hills and high altitude, so I feel pretty good about the time. And I feel good about starting my taper next week, and about what I need to do in Boston in 16 days.
Cooled down for about 4 miles afterward with a whole crew of folks.