It’s hard to believe, but it’s the beginning of race season again. Next weekend while everyone else is drinking green beer, I’ll be on a coach bus bound for New Bedford, MA and the New Bedford Half Marathon. I had a blast at this race last year and I’m excited to return to the course and attempt a new PR.
New Bedford is a deceptive course. Although it is mostly flat, there are a few places where you can get yourself into trouble. For one, there’s a 5 mile downhill between miles 5 and 9 that can thrash your quads. There’s a not-insignificant hill at mile 4 and another at the end of mile 12. And then there’s the wind. I’ve been “lucky” this winter to have plenty of wind to contend with during runs and I’m learning to relax and not fight the gusts. As for the hills, we did an enormous quality hill workout last Tuesday and although it hobbled me for much of the week, I’m hopeful that it will pay dividends both climbing up and hammering down.
Kasie thinks the way to run the course is to run conservative opening miles, use the downhill section to really gain time and hang on through the twists, turns and wind of the last few miles. In reviewing my race report from last year, it seems like I had the most trouble at mile 9 with both GI upset and some lack of focus. With that in mind, I’m using mile 9 as my “mental” transition mile where I go from comfortable to grinding in the last few miles. I hope that with something for my mind to latch onto, I’ll stay focused instead of staring over the sea wall.
I have a quiet week this week in terms of workouts, with a short quality workout on Tuesday to test out how I feel at my target race pace, which is between 6:30 and 6:35. I also get to try out my new racing flats and make sure they don’t rub, chafe or blister. Besides some easy running, I’m laying low, hydrating and trying to get enough sleep at the beginning of the week to accommodate poor quality, pre-race sleep.
Has your 2012 racing season already kicked off? How did it go?