This morning I ran the Turkey Run Off 15K put on by the Plano Pacers. I had a couple thoughts / plans for this race, and I was not expecting they would all pay off as well as they did. The end result is that this was a very significant race for me in many ways.
One goal was to practice with a fuel belt. Never really used one before, but I had decided that this would be a good trial run before the White Rock Half in two weeks. As I explained to a faster runner after the race, when you are my pace, the first couple water stations are super duper crowded and then the next 6 aid stations have soaked concrete covered in 10,000 crunched, slippery cups. And after having problems getting water and Gatorade at the NYC Half in August, I thought it would be a good way to make sure I don't lose any time at the race and increase my chances of setting a new Personal Record. This ended up being a wise decision to try out the fuel belt as the third water stop on this course had backed up and left by the time I got there - no bueno.
Another goal was to practice consistent pacing. I had done this at the Fort Worth Half Marathon and it had worked out very well with an end result of an 11:56 pace. Interestingly enough, my 15K PR before today was an 11:50 pace. So my goal was to start at a consistent 11:40 pace if the day felt right and see how I felt as the race progressed.
Finally, since I had the fuel belt, I thought I would try to run the whole race with no walk breaks. I had been pretty thrilled at the Fort Worth Half Marathon on November 8 when I had run the whole race except for walks at every water stop. So this would be my first non-stop 9 miles ever. And I actually was able to do it! (And my hips and thighs are reminding me that I did it as I write this - ouch)
I went out a little too fast, easy to do at any running club race. These smaller races of a couple hundred people, mostly running club members, tend to be a faster crowd. Add to it a short distance option (5K), and you find that most people my pace (11-12 min/mi) choose the 5K rather than the 15K. Slowed it down within a quarter mile, learning to pull it back quicker every race now.
Pretty course through woods and around small ponds, up into a neighborhood. Although we wound all over each other and a few runners ahead of me ended up off course for a short bit, doing some extra steps, because it was a little confusing.
In the end, it all came together for a PR of a minute off my 15K time, with final time of 1:49:22. Average pace: 11:36. Good enough for hardware - 2nd place in the Athena division! Of course, first place went to my faster training partner and carpooler Sarah - congratulations, Sarah! I gotta stop going to races that have an Athena division with her because she will ALWAYS beat me. :-)
Look at these beautiful splits:
Mile 1: 11:41
Mile 2: 11:34
Mile 3: 11:35
Mile 4: 11:37
Mile 5: 11:41
Mile 6: 11:40
Mile 7: 11:36
Mile 8: 11:28
Mile 9: 11:41
Next 0.3 miles: 11:15
Last 0.13 miles: 11:24 (lapped my Garmin when I had hit 9.3 miles, total Garmin GPS distance on my watch was 9.43 miles)
Next up: Dallas White Rock Half Marathon on December 13. I would love another new half marathon PR...we'll have to see what happens. I've been adding to my weekly mileage to get some leg strength for the 13.1 miles and I think that's succeeding. With good weather and racing smart, it could be a great race day.