AM - Run Through Lavendar Half Marathon. I will admit that Jake and I "lavender-picked" this race because of the prize money. It turns out that many other top level athletes in the area had the same idea! At first, my plan was to just run with Rachelle for a nice workout, but my competitiveness got the best of me. I wasn't mentally or physically prepared for a true race this morning, but I did what I could :)
The race began on dirt with a short uphill. Kassi Harmon and I took the early lead. The course turns left to a nice downhill section for the rest of the first mile. We hit the road and then begins the long, boring road in the middle of nowhere. Kassi and I had a high school guy compliment on how fast we were (I don't think he's used to being chicked). We dropped him shortly after and were running a steady pace at about 10 seconds faster than what I was feeling comfortable with. At 5.5 miles, I made the conscious decision to let Kassi go and drop to marathon pace. That difference between 6:15 and 6:25 made a huge difference. I felt much more relaxed and just focused on keeping a steady effort.
The race seemed uphill from miles 6 to 11.5, just annoyingly steady and boring. I needed some music, people, something! The course went through the lavender fields on dirt for the last 3 miles with a pretty brutal hill from 10.5-11.5. Good training for TOU Half, I guess! After that slow mile, I was able to get my legs going a reasonable pace again for the last 2 miles or so. Finished in 1:24:16, right at marathon pace.
This course was not easy for me. It felt especially difficult because I haven't run much faster than 8-9 min pace for the last 4 weeks. Running in the low 6s was quite a shock to the system! It's amazing to me how quick you lose racing sharpness. It comes back quickly, but it just goes to show how important it is to incorporate a little bit of faster running even during base training.
The biggest success in the race today is that I had no problems with my hamstring! It must be healing well. I did have some awkwardness in my groin, but hopefully that's just a fluke. It's all about injury management for me! :)
Congrats to everyone that ran today - some great performances. The race was very well organized with no hiccups at all. Mile markers were right on...it was a fun morning. Cooled down with Kassi, Melody, Rachelle, Jen, and Jake for 2 miles.