So this is only about a week and a half overdue, but, hey, trips to New Orleans to start to figure out how to build a rocket happen. Regardless, the Saturday before last I raced the Huntsville Half Marathon.
Aside from some wind, the weather was pretty nice at the start, and I was hoping for a decent race. Most of the usual suspects from around town were there, including Mr. Speedy, Josh W, as well as a somewhat unexpected Brad S. Brad is a talented ex-collegiate runner with whom I've had some good races. However, he is kind of inconsistent when it comes to training, so depending on the day I can beat him easily, or have little chance of beating him. Fortunately, we chatted before the race and thought we'd be shooting for similar times, between 5:40 and 5:45 pace, so we hooked up about half a mile into the race. This was great, as I really didnt expect to have any company.
So after the first 3 mile loop in the neighborhood, we were a bit over 17min as we headed out to start the out and back. The next mile was a slight uphill into the wind that definitely took some of our momentum. The course finally leveled off but we still had another mile and a half heading south into the wind before having a couple miles respite heading north before the turnaround. That stretch heading north was on a paved greenway, and even though we had the wind at our backs, it seemed to take forever. Although running side by side, it seemed Brad and I were taking turns pulling each other along, and I was thankful for the company. Finally we hit the turnaround headed started heading back south on the greenway. The return trip felt a bit shorter, as we saw the bulk of the runners on their way out. Soon enough we reached the end of the trail and passed the 10 mile mark before heading back north towards the finish. During this long straightaway on a wide open road, Brad gapped me a bit and had a few seconds on me at Mile 11. But sensing the finish I pulled him back in and passed him just before Mile 12. From there I opened it up on the gradual downhill that is the 13th mile and kicked home to the finish, not wanting to give him any daylight. I finished in 1:14:30 and, to my surprise, put a little over 20sec on Brad in the last mile.
Needless to say, the time is nothing stellar (~2:30 off a PR), but I'm not too upset with it, either. 2min faster than the half three weeks prior, and faster than the projected time from my 5k two weeks ago indicate that at least I'm on my way back after missing two months of running and cycling. So while the time wasnt close to a PR, it shouldnt have been, as I was slowly building my training load after the injury. And after a frustrating summer, I'm really pleased to be back to running consistently pain free.
Next up (aka, now) is a bit of time off to reset before starting the prep for next year.