I haven't mentioned too much that I am racing the Rock N' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon this weekend, probably because I am training primarily for the New York City Marathon in November. I signed up to run Philly back in November when Competitor had some really good deal going on but haven't thought about it too much since then. But now that the race is 3 (!!!) days away it is time to start getting into race mode and thinking about my goals for this race.
Since I haven't been specifically training for this race I am not exactly sure where I will be time wise. The 15K I ran a month ago predicted that I should run a a 2:11 half. The course for the 15K was really hilly, though, while the course in Philadelphia is notoriously flat and fast. My long runs have been between 9:47-10:07 pace which according to the McMillan calculator means I could run anywhere from a 2:05-1:53. While I doubt I could run a 1:53 I have been doing runs that include a few miles at a half marathon goal pace of 9:00, which would equal a sub-2:00 half. During my 12 mile run the other week I did the middle 6 miles between 9:05-8:36 and was pleasantly surprised that that pace didn't feel too terribly hard. A challenge, yes, unrealistic, no way.
A Goal Sub 2:00
I think an A goal should be your reach goal if everything goes right on race day. I have been having some issues with my right quad/groin/hip flexor that could potentially screw some things up for me come race day. If I am feeling good though, I think I have a sub-2:00 in me. I'm not going to get all upset if this doesn't happen, though, because I realize that it is a reach goal.
B Goal 2:05-2:10
This is more where I think I will finish. This time doesn't scare the shit out of me like running sub-2 does. Again, a lot will have to go right for this to happen, but primarily my leg. If my leg is hurting I am not going to push it and just see what happens.
C Goal 2:15
I didn't even want to include a C goal but only did because of my leg. I know I am capable of running much faster than a 2:15 but anything can happen on race day.
D Goal PR
I should be able to easily smash my PR even with a bum leg. This might sound stuck up but I think I have a right to be upset if I run slower than a 2:21 given how hard I have trained and how little I trained to run that 2:21.
Truly enjoy the race & soak up every moment
Besides time goals, I want to focus on really enjoying this race and setting goals that I can control. Even though races may take a few hours it is easy for the race to be over before you know it. It is even easier to stop paying attention to things when the race gets tough & your body gets tired. I want to look back at this race and remember how much I enjoyed myself throughout the whole thing.
I have really not done that many long runs where I needed to take a gel, and even fewer hard long runs that require a gel. I have never taken a gel during a half marathon so I want to see how my stomach handles it. I took one on the bike leg of the Keystone State Sprint Triathlon a few weeks ago and had no trouble on the run though.
Leg permitting, walk only at aid stations
Walking during races is fine for some people but not for me. If I allow myself to start walking because things get hard then I will always allow myself to quit when the going gets tough. I do walk aid stations though to give my legs a quick break and because I have not mastered drinking out of a cup and running.