Saturday, February 16, 2013
Myrtle Beach Half Marathon, Pacing Amy
This one was all about Amy and our ultimate goal of getting her qualified for Boston. The only reason we signed up for this one was as a test to see how the training was progressing and get a good idea if we were on track. Well, she passed the test with flying colors and according to the race prediction calculators we are not only on track but ahead of pace. Short Version, we were hoping for a 1:45 and ended up with a 1:43:29 !!!!
As I have recently reported on the training updates, things have really been going well and we seemed to be ahead of where I had expected but workouts are one thing. Performing on race day is another.
We were very lucky to have near perfect running conditions with the starting temperature of about 43F. We had discussed our strategy several times over the past few weeks and now was the time to execute. First, I had to make sure Amy didn't go out too fast. Then we were going to try and maintain 7:55-8:00 pace up to mile 10. And at that point if she had anything in the tank, she could open it up for the last 5k. Check, check and check.
We started off comfortably and I only had to tell her to calm down once around a half a mile in when her garmin was showing our pace was too slow. I told her trust me we were fine and sure enough we went through mile 1 in 8:24 which was about perfect for my plan. We then settled in as planned and hit mile 2 in 7:58. Perfect.
Over the next few miles I was feeling great and setting the pace. I was slightly worried because Amy kept dropping back a few strides so I was hoping that she was feeling ok and just holding back a little. I slowed down and ran beside her and we repeated that a few times. I was just trying to stay on pace but I didn't want to push her too hard this early. Mile 3 was an 8:00 and then mile 4 was a little fast in 7:50. At that point I let her catch back up and stayed by her side.
I think the 5th mile mark was off because we hit it in 8:18 and didn't feel like we had slowed and then at mile 6 we hit 7:42 and I know there was no way we had fluctuated that much. I'm usually very good at holding steady pace, especially on a flat course like this. Shortly afterwards we passed some timing mats which they said were the 10k point but that was way off and closer to 6.5.
We went through mile 7 in 7:51 and at that point it just seemed to me like I was floating. The pace up to this point had felt fairly easy to me but now I was talking like we were on a training run and singing as we past a band playing "Crossroads" along the course. I was thinking to myself that if I was racing for myself I could easily go 1:42 or better which would be my fastest since 2006. Amy seemed to be doing fine as we continued to click off sub 8 miles and I was already confident she was going to get the 1:45.
We hit mile 8 in 7:56 and mile 9 in a quick 7:48 which for the first time had us under 8mp overall and making up those 24 seconds we were behind at the first mile. Now I was eager to get to that 10 mile mark and let her know we were under pace and the time was in the bag. Sure enough we hit mile 10 in 7:55, and overall 1:19:48, 12 seconds ahead ! Woohooo. Perfect pacing !
Now it was go time. Amy was definitely working but seemed to be doing fine so I pushed a little bit and kept checking to make sure she was right there and doing ok. We were joking about anybody could run a little 5k so I knew she was good. Mile 11 was a 7:44 and then Mile 12 was a 7:41 ! I told Amy we had a 1:44 in the bag. One mile to go and I'm feeling fantastic ! I pushed it up another notch and Amy was right there and then finally we made the turn into the ballpark with about .2 to go.
Just before mile 13 I told Amy, "this is why we did that 7:25 mile at the end of our last pacing workout" and then we went through it in 7:33 ! The mark was right before the final turn and as soon as we went around it Amy put it into her passing gear and surged ahead. I was just hoping could answer her younger legs and natural speed and fortunately I was able to respond. Amy looked up and saw the clock showing we were going to go well under1:44 and was smiling and nearly laughing. We were able to cross the line to gather and celebrate her amazing PR !!!!!
I am so happy and proud of her and the hard work that has gotten her to this point and in the process I am in my best shape in years.