Result: 2nd, 1:15:13, PR
The USATF 100k National Championship (Mad City) is my goal race this spring and in returning to training this past week I wanted to know my level of fitness. So I contacted the race director of the Town of Celebration Half Marathon last week in the hopes of entering an already full race. Fortunately, this past Wednesday, I was given permission to sign up and was able to toe the line Sunday morning.
The short story is that I set a PR (I don't run many half marathons -- in fact, this is just the second time that I've lined up for one) and my fitness level is higher than I had thought. My goal here was to set a sustainable pace, not necessarily for the half marathon distance, but suitable for the marathon distance roughly a month from now. In other words, I wanted to run a pace that I should be able to sustain for a marathon on March 1st, provided that training goes well between now and then. The pace wasn't altogether too taxing and the result gives me promise that a 2:32 (or so) marathon is very possible.
The plan going forward is three-fold: a four-loop 50k course on February 8th, in the Manasota Track Club 50k in Sarasota; two marathons in three weekends to start March, in the Woodlands Marathon and a return to the Rock N Roll USA Marathon; then a 44 mile training run about three weeks before the Mad City 100k. That should have me set to perform as well as possible in April.
I was especially pleased with my time in the half because I've only begun really training this week, which means I've had low mileage (40-55 miles per week) and no workouts over the past five or so weeks. This week I ran my first speed workout (20 seconds building up to 3 minute intervals with 40-60 seconds rest) and a progression run (ending with a few sub-5:30 miles). Given that I'm just getting started with training and that I ran a 1:15, things look promising.
And I expect training to go quite well. 'Tis the season to train in Florida, what with lows in the high 40s and highs in the 60s/70s! :)