Today marked my first real race of longer than five miles in more than five years. I ran the Hooters to Hooters half marathon on what turned out to be a perfect morning. I wanted to see where I am at in terms of preparing for a fall marathon. My efforts at 8K and 5K earlier this winter suggested 1:45 was a possibility but deep down inside I knew that I was short on training to get there.
I hit the first mile in 7:40 and it felt so easy but I knew that it would feel that way until sometime after six miles. I decided to run by feel and not worry about my splits. I immediately realized that I was gradually slowing down mile by mile and was hitting eight minute pace by mile five. At seven miles the race hits the first of two major climbs in the space of two miles. Hills don't exist around here. You get your hill work running bridges and this particular bridge in the middle of this half marathon was one I had trained on last summer. Given my hip and leg problems I have been avoiding hills lately.
Those two miles just about kicked my ass. I was pretty much stuck in 8:20 mode until the final mile when I finally sucked it up and ran an 8:05. I finished in 1:47:33 averaging 8:12 per mile. It wasn't horrible and overall I don't feel like I gave it 100 percent. The run told me the one thing I already knew, I need more long runs. Whether or not my right hip and leg will cooperate remains to be seen.
As for the Czarina, after much complaining about not wanting to run this race she signed up on Friday. The cool, windless day really helped her and she ran nearly three minutes faster than she did last year finishing second in her age group. The Czarina was about eight minutes behind me.
We've got a few 5K's and a 4 mile race before we're done racing for the spring. Hopefully I can dip below 22 minutes before the heat sets in.