My last half marathon was October 1, 2011. It was the Applefest Half Marathon in Holis, NH, and I ran it with BFF Ultra Vera. My time was 2 hours and 22 minutes, a personal best for me, despite the hilly course (for my Midwestern legs) and continuous downpour during much of the race.

This Saturday is one of my goal races this spring – the Sunburst Half Marathon. I’ve been thinking about this race technically since last October, when I started wondering how good I could do at a less-hilly half, but I’ve been really focused on this race since the end of March, when I decided not to race the Chi-Town Half.

My training has changed a lot since Applefest. For one thing, I’ve been logging a lot more miles.

 

I’ve also gotten faster. About a month after Applefest, I ran a 5K in 25:59, an 8:22 pace. My last 5K was in March, and I finished in 23:18, a 7:30 pace. I ran a hilly 10K in April (that would be twice the distance of a 5K for those of you who are bad at math, unlike me, obviously) in 49:52, an 8:01 pace.

I am ready to PR the pants off of the half marathon on Saturday. I’ll be honest, I’m a little nervous, only because of my own goals. Running 13.1 miles no longer sounds hard to me (sure, it’s no walk in the park, but I know covering the miles is doable). But running 13.1 miles within the timeframe I want? That makes me nervous. (That’s the point, right? Push myself to my limits. Find out what I’m capable of.)

My A Goal is to finish in under 2 hours (9:09 pace or faster). That would be a 22+ minute PR. McMillan thinks I can do it, actually, the pace calculator predicts a 1:51 finish based on my 10K, but that’s a bit ambitious for me. I’ll just focus on sub-2, and maybe chase McMillan predictions after the Chicago Marathon.

I feel like I am capable of a sub-2 finish, if the weather conditions are favorable, and my body and mind cooperate. Will I be disappointed if I don’t finish sub-2? Honestly, yes. I’ve spent these last two months training for a sub-2 half, doing weekly speedwork and tempo runs, and forcing myself to keep my easy runs feeling truly easy, even on hot days. Many of my friends who I run with (at similar paces) have done a sub-2 half marathon in recent months, so if I can’t pull it off, I’ll be a bit baffled. My plan is to keep my heart rate in the right zone (160-169) and see where exactly I have to settle to get my goal.

In my mind, my B Goal is to finish at a sub-10 pace.  (2:10:59 or less.) My C Goal is to PR (faster than a 10:53 pace). But all I’ll be thinking about between now and 7:30am (eastern time) on Saturday morning, and the following less-than-2-hours after, is finishing sub-2.

OK, maybe I’ll also think about work. And eating properly – trying to bump up my carb intake. And hydrating enough in preparation for race day.

And my race-day outfit of course. In fact per Kim‘s request maybe there will be a whole post related to race-day outfits … maybe a Fashion Friday: Race Day Edition. (If I can get my act together and take pictures.)

 

Don’t forget: