straw plains half marathon – race report

So that was tough. A half marathon on a crisp sunny day on back roads of Knoxville. I got caught up at the start, so was behind just about everyone, first two miles I basically was weaving through a couple hundred people. I was shooting for a 7:30 pace, but was pushing to make up the deficit from the start and payed for it at the end. My paces were between 7:10 about halfway in, and up to 8:20 for the last mile. Oh, and the first mile was 9:00, yikes. Final time was 1:41, outside of my goal, but still satisfied.Main take always:
After all the trail running I’ve been doing over the years I can’t say I’m really enjoying running on asphalt. There were several moments where I was pounding the white line of a long flat country road thinking I’d rather be up in the woods. The main focus for the spring is the marathon, so I need to tough it out, but after that its almost all trails for me.

My MAF, slow base building workouts seem to be having an effect. I never pushed my lungs and heart beyond the breaking point like I used to, but still managed a decent pace. I did bonk at mile 12, probably due to fuel shortage, but also maybe due to an unsustainable pace. I thought I could get away with it, but the body started stalling at the 1hr25min mark. Very stiff and sore muscles.

This was a test race to see how well I’ll be doing in the Knoxville marathon. Looks like I’m on course to do a 3:30. There’s still 8 weeks left, so it’s not impossible to shave off a few more minutes. I have a couple more longer races ahead that will give me a clearer picture.

My knees that have been acting up did not bother me during the race. I’ll have to keep a vigilant eye on them though, may scale back the miles and do some stationary bike instead. They are doing ok really, I’ve just learned to be careful and not push things too far like I used to. Running through the pain is a recipe for disaster. I mainly blame the road miles, the monotony and sameness of the movements seems to be creating strength imbalances in my muscles. May report on this further.