The Three Sisters
The goal was actually 1:45, but at mile 5 when I realized the next 1.55 miles consisted of the Three Sisters, I changed my goal to setting a new pr, previously 1:49:17. For those of you not familiar with the Three Sisters, they're really steep and really long, at least they seem long. The three set of rolling hills last about 1.25 miles. They're too steep to run down, so it was basically a 2.5 mile stretch (out and back course) where running was very slow. I averaged between 9:30 and 9:50 on this stretch. I don't have the exact times because my GPS didn't start working until mile 7.
If the course would have been like I thought it was, I would have easily broke 1:45. If it had been a flat course, I could have broke 1:42. I might just do my own half marathon time trial in February, but I'm not really sure what that would prove.
|The Sisters on the way out.|
|Here's a good shot of the Middle Sister. The Last Sister's steeper.|
The first two miles were uphill, which meant the last two miles were downhill. I'm not sure what I ran the first two miles in, but the last two miles I ran in 14:15. That's pretty speedy for the last two miles of a half marathon (for me at least). I then enjoyed three miles of down hill. That was nice. By mile 4--there were some hard to spot mile markers along the course--I was well under an 8:00-mile pace. Then came the aforementioned Three Sisters. I finished the first half in 51:15, about a minute slower than I had planned.
Then came the turnaround. And the Three Sisters.
I still felt strong, but there's only so fast you can run up three gigantic hills. I stopped and walked momentarily on each of them. Following the Three Sisters came a steady 3-mile uphill slog. I was disciplined and focused. I had run this portion of the course before and knew what I could do. The 1:45 mark was out of the question with four miles to go, but I knew I could shatter my previous pr, also set on a hilly course last November, but nothing like this one. The final two miles were tough but fun.
|I was happy to be done!|
Despite sputtering a bit a couple weeks before the race, I was in the best shape of my life, having completed 51 runs of 10 miles or more during the year. There was no bonking or any such thing. Nobody passed me the last 10 miles. It was a small race. I passed seven people, five the second half and three on the last mile (ha!). I got stronger as the race progressed.
This was a Las Vegas Track Club event. The quality of runner was very high. I finished 18/41 overall, 17/26 among men (only got chicked by one runner) and 2/2 in my age group. To put this in perspective, last November I ran two minutes slower on a less difficult course and finished 89/1100. It was good for me to race with accomplished runners this year. I plan on running this again next year (only $25).
|OK, I places 2/2 in my age group, but I'm taking the medal!|
I'm gonna rest. I've found a fast downhill marathon in September. I think it's time I qualified for Boston.