Today I ran the Phedippidations World Wide Half along with people all over the world!
My programme had a 13 mile PMP run on schedule for this weekend, so it was perfect timing! I have done a few PMP tests now, so was interested in pushing a teeny bit harder, and trying to come in under 1:55.
I planned to do a coastal half marathon loop, which I've done 3 times as a race (1:50, 1:49 and 2:07 pacing C) and dozens of times in training (sometimes 13.1, sometimes longer). It's flat, picturesque, and you're bound to run into a few other runners and cyclists out there. The only problem with picturesque coastal routes? You guessed it- the wild wet Wellington wind (reference to a poem I remember from primary school, fortunately I mostly missed out on the "wet" bit today). Ahh wind. My mortal enemy. I really should start tagging wind posts and counting the times I bitch about it (or applaud myself for rocking on through it!)
Not long after I started, I decided to change my route a bit, and to do an out and back to the half way point. That's the good thing about a race with a field of one. If you feel like an out and back insetad of a loop, then out and back it is! My rationale was a bit flawed, in hindsight, but those damn headwinds were so strong I decided I was entitled to some respite on the way back! I didn't really have any idea of splits, but I thought I was roughly on track (a little ahead of pace, actually) at Scorching Bay (about 5 miles in), and I reached half way right on time, at 57:31. I was pretty tired, and more than a little wind worn, and I was starting to see the error of my ways.
See, the route was very windy, as well as being very exposed and thus very windy (*pause* while you reread that sentence). So, on the "way out" you have a mixture of things- strong headwinds, strong tail winds, and oddly quiet bits where there's a bit of shelter for a few hundred metres. Which means that on the "way back" there's actually still a fair bit of headwind. So much for cruising back! The worst thing? It was the first mile or so of the way back and the last mile or so that were the worst. I struggled along. Mostly OK, but a bit tired, and my right calf was a little bit tight (will be giving that guy the stick!!).
The last mile was pretty hard, and I was a bit worried that I wouldn't break 1:55, but I pushed on, one landmark at a time, and got to the finish at 1:54.19, just a few seconds faster than my first half, back in 2004!
I was/am feeling a bit concerned by this. Yes, I made pace (and, if mapmyrun is to be trusted at all, I think the halfway point may have actually been a little off- I may have done 13.5, which is rather different, and would mean my pace was 8:28, not 8:43!), but it was quite tough. Not race pace tough. But not "I could do this twice" either! So send some reassurance this way!! Anyone who's ever said "marathon pace is easy on race day, even if it feels hard in a solo training run in the wind two weeks out", now is the time to say it again!!!
(Other runs this week- I've been slack:
13ish mile hill run with Ed on Tuesday evening (sloow, 2:25)
5 mile tempo treadmill run on Saturday (39:19, and man I hate that evil mill)