A week ago Sunday I ran the Mercer Island Half Marathon; this was my first organized half marathon. The short story is that I had a great run and a good time, finishing in 1:38:54 (gun time) which was 24th out of 210 in my age group (M40-44). Yes, amazingly, I'm getting almost fast - that's the top 11th percentile!
I ran the event with my triathlon team (JFT2) - Jill, Sharon, Michael, Tina and her husband Blake, Char and Jason, and Dee (sorry to the bunch more I've left out). I knew a several more people in the event including my collegue Tony, who deserves a big shout out for completing his first half marathon - woo hoo!
The morning was cold and rainy, but luckily the rain stopped before the first mile was up. After that, just cloudy and cool. The course itself is all rolling hills and twisty roads, with a lot of highly crowned or banked roads which are tough for me to run.
My race plan was AeT+10 to +15 on the heart rate monitor (thus 158-163) for the first 5-6 miles, then pick it up to AeT+20 to +25 (168 to 173 bpm) until mile 11, at which it was "hard as I can". My goal was to "negative split" the distance - the second half faster than the fisrt. The plan worked well, although I'll say that hammering the middle miles where the course was flat would have probably been better time-wise than hammering the last two miles which were more or less a steady uphill. I felt I expended a lot of effort into the unyielding, uncaring hillside. Great. At least the last half mile or so was a flat downhill to the finish.
Edit: My coach Jill tells me "no no no". Hammering the middle miles would have blown me up and I wouldn't have been able to deliver the pace I did the last two miles. It's all about pacing, and I raced this exactly right..