On Sunday I ran the Skinny Raven Half Marathon with a friend. This was supposed to be our marathon that we switched to a half a few weeks ago. I have to say that on Sunday morning, I was quite relieved that I only had 13 miles ahead of me, not 26.
The race started at 9:30, which was perfect. I met my running buddy at 9 and off to the start we went. The plan was to run for four minutes and walk for one minute for the whole race, as it had been a few weeks since we had done a long run, and our goal was just to have a good time and finish the race.
Somewhere around the halfway point, I mentioned that I thought we would be able to finish between 2:30 and 2:40 if we could keep our pace up. There was some skepticism related to the several large uphill stretches towards the end. I said it was possible. Leslie thought that if she could finish in 2:40 that would be a PR for her (she wasn't sure), so I decided that was how this was going down.
We kept up our run four, walk one for the whole race, with a couple of extra walk breaks for water stations. I kept talking about how I couldn't believe how good I felt. I think somewhere around mile 8 or 9 I said "I have never felt this good this far into a race before!"
We managed to keep our pace for the most part (our first half we were at 11:44/mi and by the end our average was about 12:10/mi, but we actually stopped twice, so that's pretty good), finishing in 2:40 by the official clock and 2:35 by my watch (that I stopped when we stopped). Either way Leslie got a PR!!
Although this race falls on the very slow end for me, I was very happy with the way I felt. I felt strong the entire time and never really hit a wall or felt like I was going to die (which usually happens at least once a race). I really needed that. I have been woefully under-prepared for the last few halfs that I have run which has led to me running until I can run and then run/walking. I think the run/walk for the whole race plan is a game changer.
I don't know why I am so slow to come around to this idea (it's not really new), but I am now officially a believer. I have always trained that way when working on building up mileage on my long runs, but my ratios have always been more like run 10 or 15 and walk 2-5 minutes depending on how long the run is. I have to say though that running four minutes and walking one is perfect. It is a short enough run that you don't have time to worry about the time before you get your walk break, and a short enough walk break that you don't decide you aren't going to start running again.
As for the race itself it was great. It was well organized, easy to navigate (getting to the start, parking, the course), and I had no trouble changing events a few weeks out. There was even entertainment scattered throughout the course! So great! The volunteers were awesome and all the spectators were great too! I'm looking forward to doing this race again!