Prerace Post – The Race Plan
I’m officially in the taper, and officially signed up for the race! It’s a bit crazy, but sometimes I don’t sign up for races until last minute. I signed up for the Mike to Mike Half Marathon just two weeks before the race. After the Disney marathon and then Rock N Roll Raleigh, where I signed up so far in advance that it felt like my whole race year was already planned out, I’m opting for a little less planning.
This week I’m in the taper, where I reduce my mileage in order to be fresh for the race. This time around, there will about 2 weeks of taper before the race. The Mike to Mike Half Marathon in Fayetteville is my goal race. It is a point to point race, starting from the Iron Mike statue in downtown Fayetteville and ending at a replica of the same statue on Ft Bragg. The only other point to point race I’ve done was the 4th relay of the City of Oaks Marathon, which was a serious personal record (PR) for me, on an uphill course. I think that bodes well. Mike to Mike is not a flat race, but it will be less hilly than other races I’ve run.
It has been a year since my last half marathon, Rock N Roll Raleigh, where I did not do that well. I credit the hilly course, the heat and witnessing a man in cardiac arrest towards the end of the race. These are also my reasons for not racing Rock N Roll Raleigh again this year. I’m choosing local this time.
1 hour, 45 minutes (8:01 min/mile pace)
If you know my previous half marathon PR is 1:51:16 (8:29 pace) you might be asking me: “Isn’t that a little aggressive?” Yes, dropping 6 minutes might be aggressive. However, my race times in shorter distances have improved tremendously since fall of 2013 when I set that PR. My 5k PR has dropped from 22:30 in fall of 2013 to 21:46 in fall of 2014. My 8k last weekend, when entered into the ever-useful McMillan running calculator, gives me an equivalent half marathon time of 1:43:43 (7:55) pace. I consider that the best possible outcome, if everything goes spot-on perfect and the wind is at my back.
My other goal is to place within the top 25 women. This goal is dependent on who shows up, but from looking at last year’s results, it’s possible.
Race morning and Warmup
1. Eat a small bowl of cereal with rice milk about 2 hours before the start time. (I’m bringing this to the hotel.)
2. Listen to a comedian while getting ready. Laughter before races is the best for my nerves.
3. Get to the start early for the warmup. Warmup is 10 minutes of very easy running, with a couple of short strides at goal pace. Then a few dynamic stretches.
1. Start conservatively, around 8:05-8:10 pace for the first three miles.
2. Around three miles, slowly speed up to 8:00 pace. Hold that. Don’t go faster than 7:55 pace. It should feel easy at first.
3. Fuel at 4 miles, and 8 miles: three Honey Stingers each time. Bring three extra.
4. Around 9-10 miles – this is where the race starts. Speed up to 7:50-7:55 pace or faster, but slowly. Start counting the number of people I pass. Run bravely. Smile. Kill hills (if there are any).
I can do it. I’m fitter and faster than I was last year, and I’ve got the repeat times to prove it. Last year I was running around 1:30 for a 400 meter repeat, which is about a 6:00 min/mile pace, and on Wednesday I did a 6x600m workout at almost the same pace: 2:19, 2:23, 2:20, 2:22, 2:20, 2:16. That last one I put on the speed, and I felt like the Queen of the Track! It was a good feeling and I wish I could bottle and sell it. I’d be a millionaire!