Early Sunday morning, I met my running peeps from Moms Run This Town and Atlanta Southside Runners at Walmart to carpool to Brookhaven for the Allstate 13.1. We arrived a little before 6AM with our crew which gave us plenty of time to meet up with some people who were meeting us there and to hit the porta potties, take photos, check bags, and just hang out with each other for a little while. Everyone seemed overly relaxed for this race. For many, it was a training run in preparation for their upcoming full marathons, and for me, it was a training run for my upcoming half in Savannah, which would hopefully translate into a great race for everyone. Not having the pressure of a time looming over my head is often when I run my best races.
Around 6:50AM, we headed to our starting corrals. A few people with us were in the A, B, & C corrals which were the only actual corrals. The rest of us lined up by the pace team signs in one huge corral, but since it was a smaller race, this wasn’t an issue. My plan was not to PR this race since I still haven’t worked up to running over 10 miles since my injuries, so I headed towards the 2:20 finish time with Dani, Jeneen, and Keri. On the way, Jeneen was questioning whether she needed to line up at 2:20 or 2:15 because she wanted to PR, but she sometimes underestimates herself, so she was thinking 2:20 would be a PR (which it would be), but 2:20 for a PR for her was aiming pretty low considering how she’s been running lately, so I piped up and told her she had to beat my PR which was 2:17, so she had to get in the 2:15 corral. I had all the confidence in the world that she’d have no problem crushing it. A quick fist bump, and we left her at 2:15.
The corrals started to move, and Dani and I started walking forward. We were about 1/10th of a mile from the start and everyone was starting to run, but I didn’t want any added distance since I was already worried about hitting the wall at mile 10, so I walked to the start. At the end of mile 1, Dani told me we were ahead of our planned pace, and we were, so we slowed down, but that lasted until about the end of mile 2 for me. At that point, I got tired of trying to “watch” my watch, so I just decided to run a comfortable pace for me. I was still using the run:walk method that I’ve been using, and I kept it at the 2:30 run to 1:00 walk that I’ve trained with, but I ran the speed I felt like running. This might not have been the best plan for a “training” run, but I had initially thought I’d try to run 8 miles or so at tempo, so just running what was comfortable was a good gauge for me to determine where I was in my quest for a PR in Savannah. Looking back at my splits, my flat, rolling hills, and downhill miles were pretty close to the pace I need in Savannah, but I definitely struggled on the long uphills. Somewhere around mile 8 or 9, I decided to add an extra 10-15 seconds into my run portion of my interval, so I’d simply run while I continued to count to 10 or 15 after my watch beeped to start my walk. By doing this, it was also taking 10-15 seconds off of my walk break. I did this for 3-4 miles other than around 10.5 miles where I had to walk a little extra up a hill. The extra run time didn’t seem too difficult, and I have 4 weeks until Savannah, so I plan to play around a little with a 2:45 to :45 ratio between now and then. My last 2 miles ended up being my fastest which seems to be a typical pattern for me. I think when I get a certain distance from the finish adrenaline takes over, but by the time I reached the finish line after those last 2 miles, I was out of breath and felt slightly nauseated. I think I can speed up the rest of my half, but I won’t have that much left in my tank at the end. I had more reserves left for those last two miles than I’d want if I were trying for a PR. It’d definitely make me wonder if I had really given my all if my last 2 miles at Savannah are that much faster.
My Garmin data from Allstate http://connect.garmin.com/activity/386840209
I’m still liking the Galloway run:walk method, and I can honestly say that I don’t think I’d be doing as well coming back from injury if I was trying to just run the entire way. I still feel some twinges in my hip when I do long distances, but the walk breaks seem to be just enough to keep the twinge at bay. I’d probably have re-injured myself by now if I wasn’t using the run:walk method, so I plan to stick with it for a while. Part of it is curiosity too I think. I almost feel like I’m doing speed work using it, so I’m curious to see if I can continue to hold the running speeds that I’m hitting while gradually lowering my walk speed and/or time and increasing my run times. It’s not something I’m planning to do quickly, and it would obviously start with only short runs, and maybe the last couple of miles of long runs, but it’s something that has peaked my interest to try.