Today Rob and I (and one of Melinda's grad students and his girlfriend) ran the 30th edition of the Topeka to Auburn (a small town/McMansion suburb of Topeka) half marathon. Despite an initial 10-day forecast of a high of 64, the race-time temperature was about 23, but the lack of wind made it manageable. This is billed as a hilly race, but without seeing the hills beyond photos, I wasn't sure if I should adopt a cocky you-want-real-hills-try-Utah attitude or in fact expect the worst.
Here was my logic going in: according to the dorky online calculator, my peak-fitness 5K in October (the day after which my months-long ankle injury began) indicated that I should be able to run a half marathon in 1:23. Hah! That was a downhill 5K, and I don't put in nearly enough mileage even when not injured for anything like that kind of half. Adding 30 seconds to that 5K projected to a half marathon of 1:25, or about 6:30 per mile pace. So I added :30 per mile to that for the injury and lost training, :30 for the hills, and :15 because I am working on just racing for fun (hey, today I even started without having told my watch to locate satellites ...). That brought me to 7:45 miles or 1:41 for the half. But then I thought about how, last year, 1:35 was good enough for a third-place age-group medal ... and, in the parking lot, Rob doubted I could break 1:40 (thanks Rob for getting my competitive juices flowing!). So I set my watch for 7:35 (or 1:39). In brief, it was a fun day.Training/schraining. The run felt good, I moved ahead of pace steadily, and the hills looked worse than they were. Really I thought I was even smiling at this point:
I ended up coming in at 1:32 and change, or just under 7 minutes a mile (and, for the record, the official race distance was a .15th of a mile over regulation length because they moved the finish area at the last moment due to a funeral). Last year my time would have been good enough for age-group 2nd. This year — a big fat 6th (damn growing race; then again, I would have medaled in either twenty-something category). Rob and Bart and Carrie also had good races and beat goal times. The pancake feed was even decent, and normally I can't stand small-town pancake feeds.
Non-running post to come soon.