This past weekend I competed in the Secret City Half marathon for the 3rd time. This marked my 4th half marathon of the year, 3rd of the month. I haven’t really trained for any of these races specifically but had my mileage up and went into the races with a specific purpose.

In February, I ran the Strawberry Plains Half Marathon. I was training for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon, and considered it a training race. I would practice starting slow in a race situation, then kicking up the speed at the end. I did this successfully.

Earlier in November – on the 1st and 2nd – I participated in the Farragut 13.1 and the Foothills Half Marathon. The goal for Farragut was to take it easy so that I would feel okay for the half the next day. The goal for Foothills was to run with friends and enjoy myself.

My goal for Secret City wasn’t so clear. I signed up thinking that I would train for this race and attempt a specific time, but that didn’t happen. October vacation, time training burn out, and serious life situations shifted my running to “for fun” and “for mental health” rather than for a goal race.

I’m glad I was signed up for the race – my brain needed these miles, but would have easily talked my body out of them otherwise. If for no other reason, posting 100 miles in November makes this race an epic win!

I set a tentative goal of 2:05, but most importantly I wanted to negative split the double loop course. 

Mile 1 – 9:29
Mile 2 – 9:44
Mile 3 – 9:30
Mile 4 – 9:28

The first miles were an exercise in restraint. The weather was perfect, I felt good and found myself going faster than the 9:30-9:40 plan.  These miles consisted of fast running, followed by my chastising myself and forcing a slower pace.

Mile 5 – 9:46
Mile 6 – 9:38
Mile 7 – 9:39

The green-way section of the race is the hilliest portion, as well as having lots of curves and turns. It was hard to maintain a good solid pace for these miles. I had worn my heart rate monitor, so I started tracking effort at this point.
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 I finished the first loop in approximately 1:04 – I knew I’d have to pick it up if I wanted to hit my sub 2:05 goal. However saving enough for the second loop was the goal all along, and I felt confident I’d be able to speed up in the last miles.

Mile 8 – 9:20
Mile 9 – 9:04
Mile 10 – 8:58

Once again, I felt good for the first part of the loop. Relying solely on heart rate at this point, I had no clue how fast my paces got through this section. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the Garmin data post-race. 

Mile 11 – 9:35
Mile 12 – 9:27
Mile 13 – 9:41

And once again my pace slowed through the green-way section and one final uphill jaunt. I kept my heart rate at the highest it had been all race. At the 12 mile marker, I wanted to slow to a more comfortable pace. Its a race, its suppose to be uncomfortable I heard Kelly say. Crazy how she says crap that haunt me in random moments.

Final 0.15 – 1:21{9:00 pace}

Chip Time – 2:04:34

  • met time goal
  • ran the loops in negative splits
  • completed 4th half of the year
  • completed 16th half of my running career

Not a bad day at the races, if I do say so myself.

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