Half marathon training begins!

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I've got a goal race on my calendar!

I registered for the Historic Hillsborough Half just before the price increase on July 4. The race is on October 1st, very early in the fall racing season. The inaugural race was last year, but it seems like it was well-run. I've had a long-standing beef with the half marathon: While I've PR'd in nearly every half I've raced, I've never felt that my times reflected my fitness, usually because of injury. In fact, my unofficial half marathon PR is (1:48), set in the middle of the Tobacco Road Marathon. My actual half marathon PR is 1:50 from City of Oaks.

Here's my history with half marathons:

  • 2011: Hamptons Half Marathon - 2:06 (9:38)
  • 2012: Manhattan Half Marathon (unscored due to snowstorm)
  • 2012: Brooklyn Half Marathon - 1:57 (8:58)
  • 2013: Wisconsin Half Marathon - 1:52 (8:35)
  • 2014: City of Oaks Half Marathon - 1:50 (8:26)
  • 2015: Bull City Race Fest Half in 2:09 (pregnant)

While I'm hungry for another PR, I don't want to put too much pressure on myself because 1) I've only been running about 10 mpw since April; and 2) babystuff, training just looks different than before. The season of life I'm in now, etc. A PR would be an A+ goal, or more like an A+++ goal. But even so, I named my weekday morning alarm "Sub 1:45".

I waffled a lot about choosing a training plan. I've only ever used Hal Higdon plans, and have liked them a lot. I first grabbed his Advanced plan and plugged it into my spreadsheet, but after looking at it more I began to worry that I was setting myself up for failure. (There's 6 days of running per week, and a 40 minute tempo in week one.) I scrapped it and then plugged in his Intermediate 2 plan which felt much better. This has five days of running but I could potentially combine two of the easy runs and get it all done in four days per week.

I have a few other races in mind for the fall. It would be possible for me to chase this race with the Bull City Race Fest on 10/22, or the Richmond Half on 11/11, or both. Bull City would be fun because it's right here, and it would be nice to take a crack at the course when I'm not pregnant. I have at least one friend running Richmond so far, so it would also be great to do that, too. I have a tendency to get carried away with race registering, so I'm going to hold off for now and see how it goes.

Race Recap: Running of the Bulls 8k

I've been wanting to run this race for years but the timing has just never worked out. But this year, I had no travel or a one-month old (!) so I was thrilled to get to line up for this hot hometown race.

The only other time I've raced an 8k was the Shamrock Shuffle in 2013, which I ran in 39:06 (7:39 pace), and I'm definitely not in shape to beat that time. I talked to a friend and learned she was planning to run it with the jogging stroller - what a good idea! We decided to run it for fun as a family.

This wound up being a perfect plan. The morning of, we got ourselves and the baby ready (no easy feat: The normal challenges, plus sunscreen & cool drinks are essential for an hour in the summer heat) and made our way to the start. We got there early and played in the grass. It was funny to line up in the back with the other jogging stroller folk and novelty runners - jogglers, ruckers, flag-carriers, and the like.

The race itself was a blast. I ran without a watch. The baby had a fine time watching the other runners around us. We kept up what felt like a brisk but comfortable pace. The course wound through some nice parts of Durham and ended on the old ball field. We finished in 49:21(9:55 pace).

Next up, I'm looking at about three more weeks of pre-training "training"/base-building before real half marathon training begins. I can't wait to get some of my speed back again!