In planning my training schedule for the fall, the Murfreesboro Middle Half Marathon fit nicely into the plan. With ten weeks behind me, I felt it would be a good check point for the last eight week of training.
The race starts and ends on campus of Middle Tennessee State University. Fall break for the students was scheduled to start at the end of classes on Friday. Sara had talked about not coming home until Saturday morning to watch the race. Because there was some threats on campus, officials ended classes at noon on Thursday and sent students home started bread early.
Despite that, Sara got up early Saturday morning and to be my support crew.
We headed out at 5 am. It was still dark when we got to the MTSU Track just before 6.
Picked up my race packet and returned to the car to wait for the start. I had printed a map of the course and Sara wanted to know when I would be at a couple of points where the course ran by the campus.
With our plan in place, we headed toward the starting line.
This is the second year for the race and there were more 1,700 registered on a flat course.
From the McMillan Running Calculator, I had been training with a projected 8:11 half marathon pace. I knew that was faster than my current PR but it was based on my 5k PR this past Spring. I hoped to just be in that range.
The race was about 10 minutes late in starting but that was the only hitch.
When the gun went off, I moved over to the edge of the crowd so I could holler at Sara as I went by.
Surprisingly, the crowd began to space out nicely by the first mile marker and I was settling in the a good rhythm.
About the one and a half marker, I was matching sides with a lady who asked what pace I wanted to run. I told her 8 to 8:10. She asked if she could tag along.
My new friend’s name was Wendy. She has a one year old son and her husband is in the military and is about to be posted again over seas. (One of the best parts of racing is the people I have met along the way.)
The miles seemed to go quickly.
Sara was waiting at mile 6. This is where the course turns and there are several long sections.
Around mile 8, Wendy started fading a little. She said she would catch up.
About a half mile later, I got to talking with a guy who again asked what pace I was running. I told him what I was aiming for. He said he hoped to hold an 8 minute pace to the end.
I ran with him until the next water stop. He kept going while I stopped to drink.
Sara was waiting at mile 9 and a half. It was good to see her and inspired me to keep pushing.
I spent the rest of the race playing chase with the 8 minute guy. I would catch him just before a water stop and then he would pull a head. With about a mile to go, I passed him for the last time.
I was beginning to feel the pace in my legs but I could see the stadium, so I kept up the pace. When I turned onto the padded track surface for the last 200m, it felt like I was running on springs.
As I crossed the finish line, I was very pleased with my time, 1:47:11. Exactly what the calculator had as my predicted time!
It was a new PR. Beating my previous best by 3:15.
Sara was waiting at the finish line. I had a pouch of Gatorade mix, that she helped pour in the bottle of water that they handed out at the finish. (Accelerade was the sports drink on the course. After my experience with it at the Country Music Marathon in 2006. I vowed to never again drink it during a race.)
I grabbed some food. The best part was the chocolate milk!
Didn’t hang around long at the finish line. After showering in the field house, Sara and I headed IHOP for a breakfast of champions! She had a chocolate chip pancake and I had an omelet.
Here are my splits…
|Mile||Pace (min/mile)||Speed (mph)||Heart
|actual||+/- avg||actual||+/- avg|
|1||8′ 29||+0′ 20||7.1||-0.3||139||-10 ft|
|2||8′ 11||+0′ 02||7.3||-0.0||150||-3 ft|
|3||8′ 10||+0′ 01||7.3||-0.0||153||+6 ft|
|4||8′ 11||+0′ 02||7.3||-0.0||154||0 ft|
|5||8′ 15||+0′ 06||7.3||-0.1||155||-10 ft|
|6||8′ 12||+0′ 03||7.3||-0.1||157||+16 ft|
|7||8′ 14||+0′ 05||7.3||-0.1||157||-3 ft|
|8||8′ 16||+0′ 07||7.2||-0.1||156||+6 ft|
|9||8′ 01||-0′ 08||7.5||+0.1||159||0 ft|
|10||7′ 55||-0′ 14||7.6||+0.2||159||-3 ft|
|11||7′ 58||-0′ 11||7.5||+0.2||158||-29 ft|
|12||7′ 59||-0′ 10||7.5||+0.1||161||+10 ft|
|13||7′ 57||-0′ 12||7.5||+0.2||162||+19 ft|
|end||7′ 42||-0′ 27||7.8||+0.4||166||+3 ft|
|Versus average of 8′ 09 min/mile|