That's right folks! After how my runs went over the last two weeks, and given the fact my HR has been about 10 bpm too high, I was planning on just running and having fun. I really didn't think a new PR was in the cards. But I came in just over 2 min faster than my previous PR (1:59:01) with a time of 1:56:54 (8:55 min/mile pace). A few weeks ago I was hoping for a 1:55, but I'm happy with my time. It was also good enough for 94/507 in my AG. Not bad for a 3-toed sloth. :)
Kansas City is a beautiful course, but it's pretty hilly. Most of the locals will go to Chicago if they're trying to BQ or PR. But I have to say, if you've never been to KC, running the full or half marathon is a great way to see the best parts of the city.
My plan was to go at a 9:00 min pace and see how I felt. I knew the first 3 miles would be slow due to the 2 biggest hills on the course so after that I would re-evaluate and adjust my pace as required. John was my personal pacer. He knew a 9 min average would (barely) get me a PR, so that's what he was watching. And I did something I've never done before - I ignored my watch. I checked my HR maybe 3 times, but I wasn't watching splits and I was just running how I felt. I think that may have actually been the best approach. At mile 10, John told me we should slow down, but I felt good and I knew what the end of the course was like so we pushed it.
Here are my mile splits, according to John's Garmin:
Don't be fooled by the 6:30, that was just over the last 0.1 mile. What's cool is the pace vs elevation on the course Garmin plots. Check this out:
The top is the map of the course, the bottom shows pace in blue and elevation in green. Pretty cool stuff. Makes me want to get a Garmin. But I'm waiting for them to make the wrist unit waterproof so I can wear it swimming.
This is the first race I have actually run the second half as a negative split. Normally I go out too fast and then have to just hold it together for a decent finish. I may have been more happy I was able to negative split than PR. I'm a little sore today, but I was expecting that. I ran hard and I honestly had nothing left at the end, which in my opinion, is the correct way to race.
My other little victory this year was that I caught my rabbit. Two of them actually. I like to find someone (typically a woman who looks like she should be slower than me) who is ahead of me and then make them my rabbit to chase down and pass. Last year, I lost. I got close at mile 10, but then she pulled away and I couldn't keep up. (Based on the size of her rear-end, I should have been able to run her down easily. Looks can be deceiving.) This year, I passed my rabbit at mile 10 and then had to find a new one. The second one I chased for much longer but caught her in the finish chute and passed her too. I was determined this year not to let my rabbit get away.
It was a weekend of small victories, which sometimes are the best kind. We didn't race this morning since John wasn't feeling 100%. With his 50k on the horizon, I let him make the call. If I would have raced today, it would have just been for fun. I am planning on an easy run at one of the local trails later this afternoon to loosen up my legs and enjoy the beautiful fall weather.
I think the race yesterday is a good indication that my base fitness now is much better than my base fitness previously. My winter goal is to improve my running and have a better base when I start to seriously train for Boise. If I start at a better place than last year, I'm pretty sure I can get close to a sub-6 hr finish. Only time will tell, but I'm off to a good start.