HERE), I was previewing the 3M Half Marathon that I'd be doing on behalf of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. I asked folks to consider a donation, and included a challenge for myself to see how far under 1:40 I could get. The race was held yesterday, and Ishani and her family actually came out to cheer me on... that definitely provided some extra motivation! Here's a pic of Ishani (on left) and her sister Monisha holding up the ALSF banner at the race:
So, I am happy to report that the race went very well and I finished in 1:31:16! It was a lot of fun to test myself at the half marathon distance as a stand-alone event, and that extra motivation came in handy by about mile 8 or so... For any of you that would like to help the ALSF cause and provide some hope to Ishani and the kids like her, just click HERE. Oh, and for the sake of the challenge, I guess we can say that I beat the 1:40 by 8 minutes : )
PS: Quick overview of the race:
It was pretty warm and humid for January (even in TX), with starting temp around 65 degrees and nearly 90% humidity; but a great course that is mostly downhill (point to point). The first 4 miles I just tried to maintain a steady pace and watch the HR, since that section has more uphill grade and I didn't want to burn myself out too early. I was pleasantly surprised to see I was holding around a 7:00/mile pace, and felt good.
Right around mile 4 there is a big downhill section that lasts a couple of miles, and I tried to keep the same relative effort; but allow the pace to pick up naturally with the downhill. That worked out well, and I was able to cut some time. Then things leveled out a bit for the next few miles, with some gentle rolling action. That can be a mentally challenging part of the race, as the adrenaline and excitement have worn away and you still have a way to go before the end. The Garmin came in really handy during that section, as I was able to use the pace and HR readings to keep myself on track.
Finally, I reached the final 3 miles, which is mostly downhill grade. At that point, I just let myself take off like I was starting a 5K; and didn't hold back. I had set an in-race goal for myself just before I reached that section to see if I could break 7:00/mile; and that became my focal point. It got a little tough on mile 12, but when I saw the finish line I had enough left for a final sprint and finished with 1:31:16; which works out to a 6:58/mile pace : ) And here's a pic with me (the blur of yellow) crossing the finish line:
Fun day, and thanks again for the support!