Thoughts prior to the Manhattan half-marathon (and the 2010 season)

22 01 2010

It’s my first race of the year, in my third year running. And I have no idea what to expect. However, there’s a palpable difference in my running in 2010 compared to 2008 or at this point in 2009. Most obviously, that I’m running in January. Also that my first race of the year is a half-marathon, rather than a 5K. But the real difference this year is my goal.

At the start of 2008, my primary running goal was to run enough races to qualify for the 2009 NYC Marathon (via 9+1), in order to be certain to continue my one-marathon-a-decade goal (first accomplished in the 1999 NYC Marathon, after which I promptly quit running). I achieved that goal.

At the start of 2009, my primary running goal was to train to be able to complete a marathon, and possibly two. Plus, I wanted to improve on the PRs I had established in 2008. But considering that I was a casual jogger for 2008, that wouldn’t be too hard to do.

At the start of 2010, my goal is to actually become a good runner. Train consistently, achieve respectable times.

And this is where the Manhattan Half-Marathon comes in. The half-marathon has to date been my nemesis. I’ve run four, and I’ve never run a single decent one. Always starting too fast, then slowing down or completely falling apart at the end. As a result, my PR in the half-marathon (1:51:54) stinks compared to my PRs in shorter distances. Indeed, despite vast improvements in my running and consistent improvements in my speed in other races, my half-marathon times have been maddeningly consistent (2008: 1:54:06, 1:51:59; 2009: 1:57:20 (complete failure), 1:51:54 (was aiming for 1:45, bombed over last 6 miles)). Of these, the 1:51:59 was easily the most consistently run, and I really was not in great shape then. The 2009 runs were inexcusably slow given that my speed in shorter races had moved from 8-something/mile paces in 2008 races to 7-something/mile paces in 2009. Only 8 days before the 1:51:54 I had run a 6:02 mile!

Prior to the Manhattan half this year, I am not yet at the conditioning level I had for the 2009 halves. But I am in better condition than when I ran the 1:51:59, and I am way faster now than I was then. Which is all to say that, while I have no reason to expect a PR given the early phase of training, there’s no way I shouldn’t PR if I run a halfway decent race.

So I guess it’s just time to do it!




2 responses

22 01 2010

Good luck! I love this race because you need to be smart in managing the hills. You want to push hard, but need to save some, otherwise 2nd half can be ugly! And, nice downhills in miles 11-13. If managed properly, can have a strong finish.

26 01 2010
Manhattan Half-Marathon race report « Run to the beat

[…] 25 01 2010 Given the early stage of my training (only 2 runs over 8 miles so far), I didn’t know what my legs had in them for the Manhattan Half-Marathon. As much as anything, this race was to […]

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