I killed my personal record in the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon on Saturday. My chip time was 2 hours 19 minutes 2 seconds. My aspirational goal was under 2:20, but I thought a more realistic goal was 2:24. My previous PR was 2:26:58, set at the North Olympic Discovery Marathon in June, so this was an improvement of almost eight minutes.
Halfway through, I didn’t think I had much of a shot of hitting 2:20, because it took me 69 minutes to hit half way. I figured with my pace falling off like it always did, there was no way I’d do it. However, I kept my pace up. In fact, when I hit mile 12, I saw that I could do it if I knocked the last mile out in about 10.5 minutes. Through the magic of being 65 pounds lighter, I was actually able to bust out the last mile in about 9.5 minutes. In my previous four half marathons, my focus had been on staying alive and dragging my ass across the finish line at a pace of 12 or 13 minutes per mile.
So, yeah, it felt good.
I had been thinking about giving the Seattle Half Marathon the year off, but now I don’t want to give up the momentum.
Here is a neat little feature of my Garmin Forerunner that I haven’t used before, maps and stats:
It’s a very surreal route, especially in the fog. Start at an airport, running right next to planes, then over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which was kind of spooky on Saturday because of the fog, through a minor league baseball stadium, and then to the “nice” area of Tacoma. Throw in an aid station where the volunteers were all dressed as the Blues Brothers and it took on a very dream-like quality.
By the way, if you switch to satellite view and zoom in on the baseball stadium, you can see the error of the GPS plus the error of Google maps. We ran on the warning track, the route has me about 5 feet or so on the grass. Not too bad for a little Forerunner GPS.
(Cross-posted at The Band Blog.)
A few pictures illustrating my point about the course:
The start line:
The Narrows Bridge looking spooky and ominous in the fog:
Runners hanging out in the hanger away from the rain prior to the start:
UPDATE 2: I did get my traditional half marathon side ache at about mile 6.5, but this time pushing my liver up with my hand and deep breathing solved the problem without having to slow down.
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