(this will be a fairly brief race report, as I'm still spending most of my free time unpacking and dealing with new house stuff, while trying to also balance work and marathon training)
I'm pretty happy with this race. After the blow to my confidence from the Navy Half last month, what I really wanted was a race that went smoothly - fast but controlled. And that's what I got.
I did try a different taper for this race. For the Navy-Air Force half, I cut my running mileage some, and cut my evening pool-running completely, basically reducing the number of workouts I did. This time, I decided to keep to my same schedule, including evening "doubles" in the pool, but instead cut the volume of each workout.
I think this worked well - I showed up to the race with my legs reasonably fresh. I wasn't totally sharp, but I've learned that I really don't race my best at any thing shorter than a marathon when I'm marathon training. I think it's a combination of legs that need a lot of time to shake off the residual fatigue of high mileage and also the fact that I seem to need to "train my gears" - it's hard for me to run at a specific pace if I haven't doing much training at that pace. And looking back at my training log, I've really done very little work at or near 10 mile pace - my focus has been on marathon pace running, interspersed with tune-up races.
More specifically here, I had the distinct sensation that the pace was relatively easy, both from a breathing and muscular perspective, I just didn't have any higher gears. This would have been upsetting if Army was my goal race, but as a tune-up race for a late fall marathon, it was actually a really good sign.
After the mental downer that was the Navy-Air Force half, it was great to finish a race feeling strong, in control, and like I could have gone further. And getting an age group award (3rd in women's 40-44) was a nice bonus. I believe I was also 4th master female overall (I write believe because there's a few women ahead of me, but I suspect they were men running with women's bibs - this is why bib-swapping sucks, folks).
Mile 1: 6:51
Mile 2: 6:41
Mile 3: 6:52
Mile 4: 6:27
Mile 5: 6:38
Miles 6-7: 13:20
Mile 8: 6:38
Mile 9: 6:36
Mile 10: 6:25
My splits were a bit uneven, but I think that reflects even effort on a rolling course. Army can be a very fast course, but it's NOT a flat course, and you have to be able to work the moderate up and downhills on the course.
- Left at about 6:05 to get to the start, just to allow plenty of time for traffic, other delays, etc.
- Took a Maple Bacon Gu (very slightly caffeinated) during the race - 1/2 at mile 3, and 1/2 at mile 7. In retrospect, I wish I'd taken it earlier in the race, since the peak of the caffeine buzz hit me post-race.
- Didn't carry a water bottle this time since it was so cool and dry. Just hydrated very well beforehand, and resolved to use a water stop if I needed one.
- It was a very bright, sun-shiny morning. I was massively grateful I wore sunglasses. Temperature and dew point were perfect, though - low 50s.
- Because of my struggles with allergies and related asthma, I swapped back to using Dulera as my long lasting inhaler. Helped a lot - despite the pollen being present, my breathing felt pretty good. But hopefully first frost will come soon.