Last post was all about how not to PR by moving furniture. I thought I was heading in the same direction before the half. Saturday night was spent with my wife's cousin and husband that we haven't seen in forever. We really look forward to getting together with them because it's always a blast. The plan was dinner and then a good nights rest. But we were enjoying ourselves and we didn't get home until 2 AM. We had dinner and a couple of glasses of wine. But I was good and drank plenty of water to offset the wine. I got to sleep about 2:30. Race time was 8:55 AM.
I sorta felt guilty. As all serious runners know, sometimes the social life takes a hit because of the next race or the 18 miler you have scheduled. My wife is so good about allowing me to do as much as is feasible. I really didn't have the heart or nerve to tell her we should leave so I could sleep. Besides I was having fun and was in no hurry to leave. I remembered the running advise about sleep before the big race. It goes like this: Don't worry if you sleep poorly . If you've slept well the prior week it won't have much affect on your race. I just never tested this theory personally. I wound up sleeping only four hours.
I got up and had a light breakfast and made coffee for my thermal mug so I could drink it in the car and headed to the race. Surprisingly, I wasn't exhausted. I decided on running in my Brooks ST4's for the first time in a race longer than a 10K.
The race started and the first two miles was on the parking section of the forest preserves. Here is the Race route. If the miles were marked I didn't see them. Since I don't own a GPS watch, I ran by feel and hoped it was good. After the second mile we rejoined the asphalt loop that is the actual bike/run path of Busse Woods. Now I am more than familiar with this section since I do 90% of my long runs here. I finally see the first race mile marker at Mile 3 and my watch read 22:47 (7:35 pace). I guess running by feel was helped by my 10K last week. We headed SW into a pretty steady 5-10MPH wind. I settled in behind another runner who was about 6'2" so he could take the wind and I could draft a little. The danger in this is if the draftee is running too slow it can throw off your time. I got lucky as he was my speed. We also ran up and down two bridges both out and back. I wish I knew the elevations. The balance of my splits:
Starting with Mile 4 7:21, 7:40, 7:35, I ran by my wind breaking buddy here as the wind was behind me now. 7:36, 7:39, 7:52, 7:26, I started to feel my speed fade a little but I run this path and I know there isn't much mileage left. 7:32, 7:46, and the last 1.1 in 8:22 (7:36 pace). Final time 1:39:44. My best of my three halfs this year. Only :50 seconds off my PR which was in August of 2009 at the peak of marathon training. I was really happy with the outcome. Another affirmation that my Chicago Marathon was a hiccup due to injury.
So that leaves me at a point where I am getting more speed and endurance. And here comes winter. Not exactly the perfect time for all of this. Don't get me wrong. I'm really happy with my progress. But the snow and cold is on the way for the next few months. The next real local race is in March. I hope I can maintain it.