For the time before my marathon and a short period after, before someone talked some sense into me, I was planning on running another marathon in February. I thought it would be the perfect way to use what I had learned to have an even better second marathon. After really thinking about it (and some discussion with my coach), I changed my focus. I instead started focusing on working for a half marathon PR.
My current PR in the half marathon is from Rock n Roll St. Pete in February of 2012. It's a 1:57:44, and while I'm happy with that time, I know that I'm capable at this point of going faster. Thought I've run a bunch of half marathons since that one, none of them were goal races. One was part of an ultra race weekend, three were part of long training runs during marathon training, and two this year have been races I did for fun or to run with friends. And each time I've run, I've known that one day, when the stars align, I'd be able to really achieve a big PR.
And that time is coming! On March 17th at the Florida Beach Halfathon I'm going to be putting my best foot forward and running. I'm going to run the race for the purpose of seeing what I've got. It's the ideal race and situation for me for a few reasons.
I started speed training right after my marathon. Mary's training plan included one day of speed work per week starting three weeks after the marathon, and a couple of weeks after that it climbed up to two days of speed work per week. Last week, I did three days of speed training between goal race pace, hills, and a track-style workout. And I'm doing them all at paces that make me smile. Last night, to start the week of really well, I did a 25 minutes tempo run at 7:56 pace! That's a pace that only a few months ago I would have only dreamed of holding. But it's giving me great confidence for what I can do in the future.
I've run the exact course before. This race is at Fort de Soto, where I ran the Halloween Halfathon. It is the exact course that I did there, and as that was my first race back after surgery in August, it gives me confidence to know that I ran that race in 1:58:41, without tapering or doing speed work to prepare for it. Because of my familiarity with the course, I'll know what to expect, how long there is left in each straightaway, and what I'm getting myself into with each turn.
The course is flat. There are no hills on this course. Anything that might be an incline or decline would be so small that a marble probably wouldn't even roll down. The drawback to the flat course is that it is definitely known to have a headwind. I'm not overly concerned about the headwind, as there was absolutely one when I ran it in October, and I've also been training in wind lately around my house and also when I go and run bridges. I think the flat and fast course will absolutely make up for the wind.
I will have friends there! I know a handful of people that are running the race. Between Tori, Meg, Mary, Caitlyn, and others I'm sure I'm forgetting, it'll be nice to see familiar faces before and after the race as well as during the race in passing. Plus, when your coach is running the race that you've been training for, you've got to put on a good show!
I'm going to pull back a little bit the week before. I'm not sure I'd call it a full taper, but I'm going to drop the speedwork the week before the race and keep it to easy runs and crosstraining to keep the fitness. I'm so excited to see what I can do, and I'm thinking that fresh legs will help a lot as well!
So what is my goal? I'm a little afraid to make a goal. I haven't actually put a goal out there for a race distance that I've run in quite a while. But with the training that I'm doing I think that a good goal would be maintaining 8:30 pace for the whole race. That would equate to a 1:51:30. I think that's a goal that I'm comfortable setting and putting out there right now. If it happens it happens, and if it doesn't it doesn't. I'm working hard, and I'm ready to go put it all on the line to make an attempt at that. I'm nervous, but I'm also really excited!
So, there you have it. I'm also planning another goal race in April at Iron Girl, but with the great training I've been having lately and all the cards stacked my way going into the race next weekend, I couldn't not give that one a shot as well.
Are you running this race?! Let me know. And if you're not but are looking for a race next weekend, there's a 5k and the half marathon! Chris Lauber does a fantastic job, and it's a really well-run race. Plus, the medal is perfect for the St. Patrick's Day race!
What's your next goal race of any distance? How has your training been going lately? Do you incorporate speed work into your training?