What does one do following a 12 minute personal best in the half marathon distance? Attack the next race, two weeks later, of course!
This was my second year running the Saints & Sinners Half Marathon, starting at the ‘Gazebo’ in Bootleg Canyon, running down to the Six Tunnels Trail, returning through the tunnels, and ending up at Boulder Beach, inside the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Saints & Sinners’ has a unique finish line set-up, where runners get to choose which finish line they want to cross: The Angelic Saint side; or The Anti-Angelic Sinner’s side. Of course, I chose the Sinners’ side, which was maybe 15 feet farther away.
When I mentioned attacking the course, attack I did! My first two miles were 6:45 mile pace, with the third still below 7:00 minutes per mile pace, and I was loving it. Crossing the 5k mark though, I took stock of the conditions of the day’s race. Compared to 2014, where we had a tail wind, cool temperature, some very ideal conditions… 2015’s still air, higher temperatures.
That being said, I dialed it back after 5k. Cruising along at a still respectable pace, I kept my average where I wanted it to be, for my desired finish time. There were a few spots where my legs were heavy, and my “racing on an empty stomach” philosophy was coming back to bite me.
I was able to get through the dirt portion of the course, through the dusty, dusty tunnels, spotted a friend I met after the 2014 race, and shortly after seeing her, my wife and I high-fived.
Hitting the pavement again, I tried to keep my pace even, before picking it up on the last turn down toward the finish lines.
I cheered on a ton of runners, as they approached the finish, after downing some chocolate milk and banana. Met up with another runner I met on Instagram, and chatted with some other friends from the Sin City Road Runners heyday.
Once my wife finished, got some treats, the heavy medal, and was ready to go, we lined up to wait for the bus to our car. The race organizers were on the ball! They brought tents down from the finish line, had volunteers walk up and down the line to give us ice, water, chocolate milk, bananas, grapes, etc. It was an amazing finish to a tough run!
Despite the heat, and such, my time would have been a personal best, if not for just annihilating it in Cedar City at their canyon run half marathon two weeks prior. Not too shabby.