This weekend Blair and I and three other fun-loving runner couples packed up the Garmins and running shoes and ventured to VA Beach for the VA Beach Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 Marathon.
In a word, FUN. Flat, fast course, great crowd support, and at the end of the race they handed out towels dipped in ice-water and rocket pops. Plus, I got to run the race with friends. Does it get any better?
Actually, yes, it does. Thanks to running buddies Christie, Bill, Kathi, and Don, I got a strong start at the start of the race and set a new personal record for the half: 1:43:39. More important then the PR though, is the confidence it inspired. My overall pace for this half was a 7:56. I'm looking to run an 8-minute pace when I run the Savannah marathon in November. The fact that I made it through a half at marathon race pace while I'm still fairly early in the training lends me hope. Maybe a 3:30 marathon is possible.
My proudest moment was mile 12 to 13 when I ran a 7-minute mile. In all fairness, we came down a bridge at the start of that mile so I had a nice downhill head start, but I held steady and pounded out the pace until I crossed the finish line. I kept seeing women just ahead of me who looked like they might be in my age group, so I decided the safer bet was to pass them. Competitive much?
Speaking of age groups, Christie and I were among the top 25 finishers in our age bracket of women 40-44, with over 800 women in that group. Sole sisters are fast.
Tracking my pace was interesting. I set my Garmin to show an overall vs. "in the moment" pace. However, my new Garmin beeps at the end of each mile and flashes the pace for the mile just completed. Since my overall pace is always steady within a second or two, I assumed I ran steady. Not so much. My readout for this half shows my time at each mile: 8:06, 7:45, 7:55, 8:07, 7:53, 7:59, 8:06, 7:52, 7:50, 7:42, 7:28, 7:46, 7, 6:55 (for last .1).
And the BIG news of the day is Blair. This was Blair's second half-marathon. His first was three years ago and he ran something like a 2:40. This weekend he ran close to a 2:10 which--just fyi--is faster than my first half-marathon time. We say he ran close because as of now we don't know exactly what he ran. That's because the freakin' time people have LOST his entry. If you type in his name or bib number is doesn't exist. Which is infuriating because about an hour after we finished the race and got back to the room I pulled up our times and all his splits were there with an estimated finish time for Blair of 2:10:38. Now he's just gone. I am beyond irritated. I've written to the marathon scoring people and am waiting to hear back. As Blair says, "Better they lose my time than yours," (can you even imagine that temper tantrum?!) but still... He worked hard for this. I want him to have an official time.
And that was our weekend. Now it's back to tempo's and speed workouts and long runs. All with that little seed planted in my mind that maybe 8-minute miles are possible.