In my New Years Goals Post I wrote that I wanted to run a half marathon PR this year, but I didn't know for sure if I'd have the time to focus on it. When I ran a PR at ZOOMA Florida it came as a bit of a surprise, but it also made me aware that I could do more. When I set a new PR three weeks after a marathon without any speed training I started thinking of what could really be possible with some recovery time and devoted half marathon training.
So a few days later I signed up for the Gasparilla Half Marathon! Gasparilla is a mainstay in Tampa, and they have a 15k and 5k on Saturday and a Half Marathon and 8k on Sunday. They have a variety of challenges where you can run different sets of races; in 2012 I ran the Beck's Light Challenge, but last year I didn't run Gasparilla at all. I knew I wanted to do some series of races this year, and when my coach said I could go for a PR in the half or shoot for a challenge and build back up to marathon mileage, I knew instantly what I'd be doing! Half marathon for me please!
The courses aren't overly thrilling, but the long straightaway on Bayshore means fewer turns and the added ability to pick up speed. Plus, Gasparilla always does it up right with big medals, pretty tshirts, and lots of food afterwards.
I'm particularly excited for the race this year, because I've been doing speed work and training to PR. I've had some fantastic tempo runs in the low 8:00 mile range, and I did two weeks of 800 repeats to give my legs the sensation of running really fast. Between that and some solid long runs, I have confidence in my ability to beat my current 1:55:10 PR from ZOOMA.
This week I've been training really light, aside from a 6 mile tempo run on Tuesday. Wednesday's easy 5 miler felt good, but Thursday's easy 3 miler felt hard. My legs felt tired. Hopefully today's full rest day and Saturday's 2 mile shakeout provide all the rest necessary to have fresh legs on Sunday.
I'm looking forward to running with my friend Meghan. She's an insanely fast runner, but she's doing the 15k the day before and has agreed to run the half with me to try to push the pace and hold on for the long haul. She's already told me she's tough and doesn't sugar coat her words if the going gets tough. And for that, I'm ready.
My goal is to PR, but if I could go under 1:52 I'd be very thrilled. My tempo runs have all been under that pace, and I'm feeling like holding 8:30's will be doable for me if the weather is right. And I guess that's what the race will depend on. Right now it's a little warm but not hot--I wish those cooler temps from the last few weeks could have stuck around.
After a few recovery days next week this will also signify the end of my slacking on the cross training. My lack of butt to saddle and body to water time is starting to get a little ridiculous. Next week, I'm going to get more comfortable with an early AM alarm going off.
If you like tracking people, you can sign up to track me on Sunday here (I'm bib #25653, and the race starts at 6:00 am).
Wanted to keep you updated on racing plans! I don't really have any questions for you. Anyone else racing this weekend?! What are your long runs?