Friday, May 2, 2014

Upcoming race: Dam to Dam half marathon

As I mentioned in earlier posts about second-quarter and overall 2014 goals, I've signed up for this year's Dam to Dam race.

I'd been interested in doing it in the past, but its transition this year from a 20K to a half marathon sealed the deal. (OK, and so did the reports of how flat the route is.)

The race is May 31, which also lined up quite well with my two-week hiatus in early April as I prepared for, went on and recovered from vacation.

If the past two years are any indication, the heat and humidity might hold off a few more weeks; if not, the early start time (7 a.m.) could be my savior.

So of course, my goal is to break 2:00:00. I probably should set alternative goals, especially if the weather isn't looking auspicious for me, but I'll do that later.

Right now, hitting or breaking 2:00:00 looks feasible. It's not a slam-dunk, but I'm cautiously optimistic that the polar vortex and my time off won't be insurmountable obstacles.

I'll have to average a 9:09-per-mile pace to do it. Not a guarantee, yet also barely faster than what I averaged at the Des Moines Half (9:11). So how close am I?

During my first long run, an eight-miler, I was only concerned about getting the miles in without suffering. I ended up actually enjoying the whole run, except the buggy parts, so I achieved my only real goal.

I treated my second long run, a nine-miler, as a more important test, which I passed, with a 9:12 pace.

The splits are all over the board, from an 8:30 (flat path, calm weather) to 9:54 (half-mile-long hill into nearly 20 mph winds), but the majority are as fast or faster than goal pace. 

Overall, the run took 1:22:55, leaving 37:04 for the remaining 4.1 miles. Though that's not outside the realm of possibility, I'd like more of a margin -- and, fortunately, I have faith that I can get it.

Race-day adrenaline will likely speed me up and keep me going earlier in the race. It's also safe to say the Dam to Dam route will be flatter and spend less time going west, which seems to be where Iowa winds come from.

So keep your fingers crossed for pleasant weather, and I'll handle the rest. 

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