|Fort Ben, Monumental, and Indython medals|
Race day weather was just about perfect: overcast, light breeze, and high 40s. With my knee injury just 9 days earlier, I wasn't sure I'd even start the race, much less finish. But every day brought improvement to my knee and I woke up feeling good and ready to run. I knew this race would not bring a new personal record, but it could be a solid effort. I planned to run around a 8:00 pace and finish in 1:45. Just 4 weeks earlier, at the Fort Ben Half, I ran a personal worst of 1:51. This would be better, with a bum knee or not!
Even though I started in starting coral #1, I was dodging runners for the first 2-3 miles. Lots of slow people in coral 1. What's up with that? I started at the back of this group figuring a 1:45 finish was "slow" for this coral. I was wrong. Lots of much slower runners. Finally, around mile 3, I settled into a good pace and didn't need to worry too much about fellow runners. I was cruising at what felt pretty easy--around a 7:35-7:40 pace. Heart rate was good too--about 152-154. No heavy breathing. I kept at this effort (pace varied a bit) all the way to around mile 10, then intentionally tried to pick up the effort and pace--mile 13 was a fantastic 7:11. It was wonderful having a fast finish. I guess holding back does pay off in the end. I felt strong from start to finish and ended up with a time of 1:41:09 (7:44 pace). Pretty good for a 51 year old ultra guy. I'm really enjoying these shorter race distances.
This 1:41 time is not even close to my PR (1:32:35), but it was 10 minutes faster than just 4 weeks ago. I'll take it. Pretty darn good. My knee is fine and I feel good the day after the race. When you don't push to your limit, you recover quickly. I'm already planning another half-marathon next month. With a month of good training, I feel a 1:35 is possible.
UPDATE on November 7: First run since the race and my right knee hurts. A lot. Barely made it one mile. No more races this year unless a miracle happens.