Well the Eugene half-marathon is over and I am not able to claim a personal victory. I thought for sure I could run the whole distance since a mere two weeks ago I did 11.2 with no problem and felt like I could have kept going. Unfortunately it was not to be. I did PR but when you set the bar as low as I did in Super Jock 'n Jill half-marathon it isn't too hard to improve.
I felt fine going out, actually got into my groove at mile 4 and felt like running the whole way was in the bag and probably at a (for me) decent pace. However, I kept looking down at the Garmin and the pace was too fast for the distance I was going to be covering. I tried to slow the pace down but I couldn't hold it at the slower pace. By the time mile 9 came around I didn't have any more soup and had to start doing walk/run breaks. I kept that up until about the last .75 mile when I made myself keep running. I kept watching the average pace on the Garmin creep up and I was going to be damned if it got above 12:00 per mile. So I ran. A slow lumbering run but a run all the same.
After the finish I checked the Garmin and it read an 11:52 pace. What I didn't factor in was it also said I ran 13.25 miles. I was not super pleased with my time at that time but I figured "OK, you beat your previous half-marathon time by 38 seconds a mile and you finished under a 12:00 pace. An improvement". I could live with that and even feel sort of OK with the improvement. Then came the official results.
According to the official results my pace was. . . 12:01. Yup. 12:01. Based on the official distance of 13.1 my finish time resulted in a 12:01 pace. If I could have pushed it somewhere for 26 lousy seconds I could have been 11:59. Perhaps if I didn't stop to remove the rock in my shoe. Taken fewer walk steps at the water stops. Ate the GU sooner. Or (most importantly) got my lazy butt to train a little harder I could have spared myself the disappointment of a 12:00 pace. *sigh* I am surprised at how much this bothers me. However, I am turning it into a motivator. I have printed out 12:01 in big numbers and am taping it to my front door. Every time I feel like blowing off a workout all I have to do is look at that and remember my disappointment.
On a more positive note, my brother ROCKED! He finished the full marathon in 3 hours 53 minutes; shaving more than 17 minutes off his last year's marathon time. He worked amazingly hard for four months to succeed at this race and I am so proud of him. He looked much worse at the finish this year than last and spent awhile in the bathroom back at the hotel dry heaving but I am sure he would say it was all worth it.
As long as I am handing out props let me give a much deserved one to Kevin too. He ran his first half-marathon and finished with an 11:02 pace. He hadn't been able to train much at all the last seven weeks or so because of a foot injury and was concerned how he would perform. He shouldn't have worried because he exceeded his expectations. His finish has renewed his enthusiasm for full marathon training for the San Francisco marathon in August. I am extremely proud of him.
Eugene is a wonderful little town and they put on a really well-organized race. Plenty of Honey Buckets, organized expo and gear check, good shuttle service, plenty of water stops, lots of enthusiastic spectators and volunteers, tasty food at the finish. Even the weather was great, as it always is in Eugene when I am there. The gods must love Eugene. There are truly no complaints or ways I could think of to improve. Maybe we'll try again next year.