On Sunday I completed the Texas Half in Irving. I ran it last year, but the location was at White Rock Lake in Dallas. It was the first race where I broke the two-hour mark (by two seconds) and the first time I ran negative splits in a half marathon. So I guess I’m a little partial. After my race on Sunday, I can say this is one of my favorite half marathons to run (especially since I won a free registration from Mellew Incentives).
The new location had great parking, and there were plenty of indoor restrooms. Major bonus for an early February race. The weather could not have been better for a half marathon. I should have worn short sleeves. I was only in the second mile when I pushed my sleeves up.
Before the race, one of my friends told me he thought I had too much gas left in the tank at the end of the race. I needed to push it harder. My other friend told me I could run a 1:53:00. My plan was to run under 1:58:00. That would put me around a 9:00 pace per mile. I didn’t want to push too hard since I have the Cowtown Marathon in three weeks.
I decided to implement the pacing strategy I used in my last 20 miler. I set my Garmin on the pace screen, and ran a specific pace for the first five miles. By mile four I had settled into a comfortable zone. I originally planned to run 9:00, but at the end of the first five I was near an 8:55 pace. Not wanting to run positive splits, I told myself the next five had to be faster. I also decided not to look at my total time for the entire race. The course wasn’t crowded, and I felt strong. I stuck with my fueling strategy, which included a Nuun tablet in my hand-held and carbs every 5K. I want to avoid any future dehydration issues.
The second five miles put me around 8:36 pace. Then I decided to try to lock into my 10K pace for the last 5K. I’ve done quite a few speed workouts that involve my 10K pace, so the pace was familiar even though the effort was hard. I can’t explain how I felt at that moment – to know I had less than three miles and had been running at a pace in the 8 minute range. In the last half mile, I thought my legs were going to lock up on me, but I continued to push and finished strong.
I was pretty sure I finished under 1:55:00, but math never was my strong subject. For the entire race, I had focused more on pace than actual time, so I was surprised to see the finish clock.
My official time 1:52:08. This took over seven minutes off of my PR from October! Wow! Maybe this will be the year of my four hour marathon after all.