I capped off my winter family visit to Tucson with the Arizona Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. This being only my second half, my goals were basically to race hard and compete, and to run under 1:15 to try to pick up the Marathon Olympic Trials qualifier. Because this was the last day to qualify for the marathon trials, it was apparent from the gun that there was a pace group set out to run exactly that.
The miles slowly clicked by at just about exactly 5:43 pace. It felt comfortable; it was cool and sunny, the roads were flat, the bands were good, and I had teammate Addie Bracy right beside me. I can see how you could really get into a groove hitting a pace in those longer races.
The group didn’t last long though, by about mile five it was just me and one other women tucked in behind the two men pacing. By mile six I had let a gap open up between them and me, little by little. I went through 10km at 35:37, still feeling comfortable and the split did not go unnoticed- just 17 seconds slower than my 10km PR (not one of my strongest PRs, but still...). As confidence boosting as this factoid was, the gap continued to grow and I ran the next few miles in the dreaded no-man’s land. When the next group caught me at about nine miles, instead of attaching myself to them like a smart runner, I thought about how long there was left in the race and let them go by. In the second half of the race, I slipped from 5th and 1:15 pace to 10th overall woman in 1:16.56. Of course, from now on, I will now say I have run 1:16 :).
I did not run as tough or as fast as I would have liked, 13 miles is a long time to stay focused, but I am very happy with the PR. I certainly feel like a stronger runner than I did a year ago and I am excited to see how this new strength translates to the track.