I had a goal. But then, isn’t that why you sign up for organized athletic/recreational events?
In 2013 I ran the Iron Horse Half Marathon in Midway, Kentucky as my first ever half marathon event. My time was 2:14 and I felt pretty good about that. My training had fallen apart in the last few weeks leading up to it and I ended up walking some. I knew I had it in me to do a road half in less than two hours. Two years later I’d not managed to do that, though I have run a trail half in 2:57 (which I felt pretty darn good about) and a couple of unsupported road halfs in the past year at or under my previous PR.
The distance no longer worries me. This summer I’ve been running longer distances as I train for my first 50k trail race. A road half seems pretty tame to me now. I felt like a reasonable goal would be to shoot for a sub-two hour finish. That was my only goal.
I know that I could have picked a more ambitious time. But since my focus has been on getting to a 31 mile race distance I didn’t want to get too far off track shooting for a 13.1 speed record. I figured with a little extra oomph I could crack a hundred and twenty minutes.
I didn’t run the Iron Horse last year, but Mandy did. I should have. I think I would have done pretty well coming out of my Rugged Red “fitness.” I was really jazzing on trailrunning at the time. The thought of a road event just didn’t appeal to me. Since that time I have realized that too much trailrunning (unless your name is Al Edwards) can be debilitating. So I switched gears and started incorporating a lot more road miles into my regime. Regiment. Platoon.
|Hard to get a clear photo while chasing a PR|
I'm not going into a blow-by-blow of the race. I did finish in less than two hours. I bested my recent half marathon distance PR (2:08) by twelve and a half minutes. That was an improvement of six minutes over my 2013 Iron Horse time.
After doing the math I was unsure if I could maintain a low enough pace for the distance to pull it off. I know myself. When I was still running a sub-9:00/mi pace after 5k I was hopeful. After 10k I felt like my chances were distinctly good. I worried about cramps or mystery pains flaring up, but I stayed relatively pain free for the entire race. Around mile 10 I felt a stitch growing in my side but it went away fairly quick.
My final average pace was 8:52/mi. I don’t typically pull that off when I’m shooting for a 5k PR. In fact, I came close to setting an adult PR. I was a minute shy. I did clock PRs for 10k, 15k, 10 mile, and 20k. Oh, and half marathon. My official chip time was 1:56:24. It was mile nine before my pace dropped below 9:00/mi and that was the first long steady climb (gaining the most elevation of any mile on the course). I only had three miles where my pace dropped slower than 9:00/mi.
Mandy and her mom went. They signed up early when I did. They both did it off the couch. The normal crew from work didn’t make a showing. There were only two of us this year. I ran into an old friend and another guy I know. They overtook me at about mile twelve. I ran with them for a couple tenths of a mile and then let them go on. Terry finished two minutes faster than me. It was good to see him again. He’s signed up for Yamacraw, but I think I’m going to bow out of that one. It falls on my son’s thirteenth birthday.
Nothing stands between me and the Rough Trail 50k now. I have a scheduled 26 mile run for this coming weekend and then there’s a tapering of distance until November 14th. I really feel pretty good considering. My knees are a bit ragged this morning. I’m a little worn down. But the only real pain I have is from an off-the-couch gym session on Saturday. I did some bicep and tricep curls and worked my core, and my arms and abs are screaming still. But that’s not from the Iron Horse.
I’ve got a lacing problem to sort out still. On my most recent long training run I thought I had it fixed, but my left foot flared up during the run Sunday. I tried to keep my laces loose enough, but loose enough that they don’t cause pain is so loose my shoes feel like they’re going to fall off. I can’t have that on a tough trail run.
Gonna hit the running shop with my shoes one day this week.
Anyway, that’s the 2015 Iron Horse Half Marathon report. I feel pretty darn good after throwing that down. I was worried going into it. I put it out in the world that I wanted a sub-two hour finish. It took extreme focus to do it. That’s not something I typically do well at.