Week 14 of marathon training is in the books, and so is the official start to the 2013 race season!
The 44th annual Sam Costa Half is held in Carmel and a small portion of the course is shared with the Carmel Marathon. Since this weeks training run was scheduled for 12, I figured this would be a great race to get the year going.
The race offers a Half and a Quarter marathon distance, and attracted over 1000 competitors for both races. The 9 am start time is much appreciated from a traveling competitor like myself. Easy to find, plenty of parking, and quick packet pickup.
The day was a good one, just a little windy and mid 30s to start. The course is primarily residential neighborhoods, and a couple trails/paths that allow plenty of room for passing. There is one really bad section where we are on country roads that run around a stone quarry and a landscpe company specializing in mulch perhaps? The road was crowded with semis and dump trucks. Throw in a few vehicles fighting through the course and is was a 2 mile stretch of "chicken" with these vehicles! Not the funnest running conditions.
I had made up my mind ahead of time that I was not running for a PR. I've not done the speed work to really go for a 9:09 pace to go sub 2 hours. I wanted to focus on the marathon pace, and the ability to go longer and stronger. Coming off of the stomach bug last week and only getting a couple short runs in this week one of two things were possible, either I would fail as a result of being "off my game"; or I would thrive as a result of being well rested and fully recovered.
I went out targeting 9:40s and hoping to negative split the back half. Long story short, I locked in on my pace for 10 straight miles. And while I wasn't able to negative split, I was able to hold on within 10 seconds of the pace, and pass many more people than what passed me. I could not be happier with the pacing, and the strength of endurance I was able to maintain. The uphill finish sucked, and I really struggled to climb any hill all day. There are certainly more hilly neighborhoods than I realized. Pleased with the 9:37 pace. This was my 12th official half marathon, and my second fastest official half marathon time.
Decent aid stations. Good post race food (meijer ultimate cookies are my favorite). Good race shirt. But no finisher medal.
Today I enjoyed a short recovery run, and tomorrow we load the bus for Florida/Disney. This could be a challenging week as far as running, workouts, and food, and the real challenge will be returning on Saturday before Easter Sunday and staring a 20 mile training run on the calendar. Will just keep taking it one day at a time!