Tomorrow morning I'll run in my fourth half marathon. As I said in the previous entry, I'm running Baltimore again. The weather forecast looks perfect for running so no complaints there. I've set what looks to be a pretty tough goal for this race. I'm trying for 1:50:00 which would be a seven minute personal best. I ran 1:53:25 a couple weeks ago on a training run but that was on a flat course and Baltimore is very hilly. Of course that was also at the end of a 30 mile week and I've been resting a lot this week so I'm feeling pretty good about at least beating 1:53:00.
The part of this race that I'm most concerned about is pace. I know what pace I need to run in order to meet my goal and I'm pretty sure I can run at that pace for 13.1 miles. I'm just not very good at knowing how fast I'm going as I'm doing it. I usually run by perceived effort and am often surprised by how fast or slow I'm actually running when I check my watch. Although I do feel like I'm getting a little better at it, I still don't really trust myself. One thing I am pretty good at is holding a pace once I've been running it for a mile or two. I can sort of lock in and hold that pace or at least know when I'm slowing down or speeding up. This race isn't offering pace groups so I don't have the option of getting in with a pacer to help me get my rhythm. I'm trying to look at this as a fun experiment. I'm going to see if I can set pace on my own, with the help of my Garmin of course.
I also plan to push this one as hard as I can. I pushed a little bit in the last HM back in May but I still had a lot left in the tank when I finished. The two races before that were great learning experiences, but I was really under trained and I just hoped to finish. This time I want to finish it as fast as I can. With that kind of mind set, there is a pretty strong chance that I'm going to go out too fast and blow up. I could end up walking a few miles at the end but I'm willing to risk it just to see what I can do. What the heck, you only live once.