I have a 1/2 marathon this weekend and I have my eye on setting a new personal record. This is a walking only event which is amazing. I love that this event is in my backyard because it's truly a world class event. While the really fast field MIGHT be a little smaller this year due to the Olympics (yes, race walking is in the Olympics), it's still going to be amazing to watch some of these people in action. The 2011 winner averaged a 8:05 mile. WALKING!! Nearly all of the runners I know can't run that pace for a 1/2 marathon. I looked up some of the age group results as well. The slowest person in my age group last year was still walking a 13:00 minute mile!
My goal? Stay under 14:45. That's what I need in order to beat my previous best of 3:14. I'm feeling pretty confident that I can beat it. Part of me wants to smash it though. I kind of want to see how close I can get to the 3 hour mark. I'm much stronger than I was the last time I raced walked and got that PR. My paces have increased significantly at shorter distances. Of course I worry if I can maintain that for 13.1 miles and for some reason I have a fear that I'm going to bonk. That's not something I usually worry about for a 1/2 marathon. It might happen. It might not. I know I'll deal with it but I've been thinking about it.
I had an optimistic last training last night. I averaged 14:24 per my Garmin. But based on my friend's Garmin, there were 12 and 13 minute miles in the mix. I was working my tail off to keep up with my walking buddies but it was a great speed workout for me. I was able to keep a 15:30 for the first mile which is an improvement. I've been frustrated over my 16 and even 16:30 first miles. My goal on race day is to get there early and just start walking to get warmed up so I can avoid that sluggish first couple miles. I gradually increase my pace over the course of 4-5 miles but in order to really smash that PR, I need to start much faster right at the gun.
Wish me luck. And for good measure, cross your fingers and your toes!