This weekend, I completed my last double digit run and my longest goal pace workout - 6.2 miles - as I look toward the Fort4Fitness half marathon. The race is on Sept. 27 and is the big to-do here in Fort Wayne. The festival of events (4-mile, 10K, half marathon and kids and seniors marathons) attracts about 10,000 participants.
As the year's big event, it is always a lot of fun. Most of the run group is there, as are the running store employees, and the atmosphere is just insane. For me, it's just such a special race because the half course is the only place I've broken 2 hours (2010 and 2013), and it was my first race after having Miles.
I'm hoping the 13.1-mile route will offer just as much magic this year, as I have been training for a PR. Given the target paces of my plan, my goal half marathon pace for the race should be between 8:35 and 8:40 - a PR by at least 30 seconds and up to 1:30.
But if I learned anything this weekend, it's that even with putting in the work during training, a PR is not a given.
The plan for the race was to jog to the start (1.5 miles), volunteer and then run the race around an 8:40 pace. The jog to the start was painful, and my legs were sore and tight from the previous day's 10-miler. I chugged along and hoped for the best.
But the best never came. From start to finish, the race was challenging. I never hit that stride where I felt like it was hard but doable. It was just hard. I walked through the water stop, which we passed three times, and took two cups every time. By mile 3, I sort of just threw pace out the window and just worked to the finish. But, my watch threw working out the window and as such, I managed to hit my goal for the weekend - 53:08, an 8:34 pace.
We'll see how good that pace feels on race day. I'm hopeful, though, that after some rest, a good taper, lots of myofascial release and a well-timed massage will make it feel less arduous.
Here's the fall schedule:
Fort4Fitness half marathon, Sept. 27 in Fort Wayne
Bourbon Chase relay, Oct. 10-11, Kentucky. I'm runner No. 12. (I had been assigned lucky No. 7 but things got switched around.) Leg mileage is 3.6 miles, 8 miles and 4.9 miles.
River City Rat Race 10K, Oct. 26 in Fort Wayne. Undecided but it's a points race for the track club.
Veterans half marathon, Nov. 8 in Columbia City. I'm not sure about this one but I could be convinced as they have a great finisher's jacket. I just need to decide if I want to keep up long runs after F4F,