secret city half marathon – report

Oak Ridge, Tennessee

I signed up for the Secret City Half Marathon sort of on a whim a few weeks ago. After my somewhat lackluster performance in the last road marathon I was looking for another race to verify that I’m still on track.

The Half Marathon went well with a 1:33:10 finishing time, about 8 minutes faster than my previous half marathon in February this year. Can’t complain about that. The fast course was of some help, but also I felt strong throughout. I negative split and managed to hold on to the pace up until the end. The 1:35:00 I was shooting for was easily met, although the fast course probably helped out a couple minutes.

the good

fast course
There were some undulating sections but overall a pretty flat course. This race is known for PRs and also has a few state age group records. I’ll probably start doing this race on a yearly basis, it’s only a half hour away.

I had two gels stuffed in my shorts, took them at half hour intervals. I also stayed pretty hydrated despite the cold weather. It’s easy to under hydrate when the weather is cold.

no chatting
I had a few chat moments, and each time I felt my pace suffer ever so slightly. It takes away my concentration and some of my breath. Looks like talking is going to be relegated to ultra races. It’s much easier to have a conversation hiking up a hill at 15 minute miles.

the meh

long pit stops
I’m still losing a bunch of time at the aid stations. Every time I stop I take about 10-20 seconds, even sometimes chat a little. I just can’t stand gulping water while running. I usually get passed by a few people at every aid station. I promptly gain that time back and pass those people again, so it’s not hurting too much at this point. But as I get faster, standing at aid stations is going to eventually become an issue. In this race I had over a minute of standing around.

where to now

A sub 1:30:00 half seems the next logical goal. I need to get close to a 1:25:00 for the half to have any chance of a sub 3hr marathon. With the current trajectory it looks like early or mid next year should be doable. The current thinking is to break the 3hr marathon mark by the fall of next year.

Looking at Tennessee age group records I’m creeping up on some of those ever so slowly. Building on my base for next year it looks like 2015 could be a nice breakout year for top finishes. That’s of course if everything just keeps on improving at the same rate without any hitches. Ha, yeah, good luck with that. Whatever, it’s still possible. And I have to keep some dreams alive. 🙂


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