Yesterday marked the last day of my recent half marathon tour. In the last 7 days, I turned my marathon training into half marathon races. Training for a marathon can be a tad bit boring, especially when faced with so many long runs and miles all at once. Half marathons seem like the perfect solution to curb the boredom and get in those long runs, plus you get plenty of water and food at the end!
The tour started off last Sunday in Cedar Rapids with the inaugural New Bo Fest half marathon. I was excited because my hometown hasn’t had a long distance event in quite sometime and because the route was on the same road I have been running all summer long. Home field advantage with my knowledge of the turns and what to expect for inclines. My goal was just to get some miles and I even ran to the start (3 miles away) for a warm-up. Maybe it was the lack of pressure I put on myself but the race went well and I finished with a PR, 1:32:13. The event was a lot of fun too with many other local runners taking part and the whole Running Wall family (literally) signed up.
The next stop was the following morning in Dubuque for the Benefit Classic. This race has been around forever, but it was new to me. With tired legs from the day before I started off slow and managed to pick up the pace every mile during the race. I believe my first mile was around 9:00 and the last one about 6:40. Overall, the course was flat, except for some big hills right in the middle. Dubuque is known for hilly terrain and lived up to it’s name that day. My finishing time was a bit slower at 1:44:40 but I was still happy for the way I felt throughout and just getting the miles in was the most important goal.
To wrap up the tour, I signed up for the Park to Park in Cedar Falls/ Waterloo. Again, I avoided the pressure by starting out without a time goal and hoping to run smooth. I had some great pacers the first half and our little group was hitting a 7:00 pace every mile. It was about the 8 mile mark that I decided my body could keep the pace going and finish with good time. Surprisingly I did and got another PR with a 1:31:21!
Note: The Park to Park was also my first half marathon back with 2004. Distance running was a whole new world to me then. I even had college friends show up during the race and “tailgate” at various spots along the course. I have yet to see another spectator drink Busch Lite at 8:00am during a race. Thanks Mike and Chase!
With a couple good races and the mileage building up, I’m slowing gaining more confidence with my hopes to qualify for Boston. Yet, the Twin Cities Marathon is still approaching too fast and 26.2 miles is still a long ways!