Half at the Hamptons preview, AKA the amount of thought I put into races is kind of absurd

Posted: February 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

On Sunday, I’m slated to run the Half at the Hamptons in Hampton, New Hampshire. It will be my third time racing the half marathon.

I ran this race last year, so I know it’s a fun, fast course with new oceans views in the final miles. I also feel that I have something to live up to.

Here’s the thing: I consider last year’s race the most effectively-executed, most tactically-pure race I’ve ever run. I took over eight minutes over my half marathon PR, lowering it from 1:26:36 to 1:17:56. I ran nearly the entire race solo – I held fifth place from mile two to mile 13.1. Splits were even; effort was appreciable and deliberative without ever feeling forced and unsustainable. The race report I linked to above reads very matter-of-fact, showcasing cool satisfaction and knowledge of a job well-done (if that sounds annoyingly arrogant, I have multiple race reports reflecting my innate tendency to go out too fast and spent the majority of the latter half of a race in intense suffering).

I ran a good race last year, which means to improve I need to run a better one. I have previously espoused on my desire to PR at this race, which means beating last year’s 5:56/mile pace. Now, 48 hours before the starting gun goes off, my mind is assessing the current state of things.

I’ll be the first to admit that mileage has been lacking these last couple weeks. Last year, I went into the race 50 days into a commitment to run every day from Jan. 1 to my first marathon on March 20. This year, I didn’t necessarily want to make that commitment, so made other ones instead. To some degree, those commitments have been successful, but I miss the confidence boost of the streak. That’s why next week this blog will take on more of a daily training log feel, as apparently I need some sort of digital accountability.

That said, I’m not going into Sunday’s race with failure in mind. In the 363 days since I last ran this race, my “mental toolbox” (to use a phrase that my high school cross country coach used) has been supplemented with the running of my first marathon, 50 miler, and 100k. I am not inclined to underestimate the benefits – both physical and mental – that could be reaped from having these under my belt.

I did effectively two runs so far this week, on Monday and Thursday. Both were on unseasonably warm days and, as such, developed in a variation of a tempo run as the legs reaped the psychological advantage of the sun and the ice-free open road. Thus, I have some recent indications stemming from running at near half-marathon PR pace, although not for nearly the half-marathon distance (the tempo portions of the two runs were about six and eight miles, respectively). Following those efforts, particularly the second one, I will say my attitude toward this race brightened significantly. But that may be foolishness on my part.

As previously mentioned, last year I ran the race pretty much on my own, far enough back from the front-runners but ahead of anything that could be considered a group; we will see what the competition creates this year. Of the four people that beat me last year, two are returning. This year we’re being joined by the winner of last fall’s Philadephia Marathon (in a crazy 2:21), who is looking to break the course record of 1:07.

I’ll be gunning for sub-1:17:56. We’ll see how it goes. You could make an argument either way. In fact, I believe I already have.

  1. […] Half at the Hamptons preview, AKA the amount of thought I put into races is kind of absurd […]

  2. […] Half at the Hamptons preview, AKA the amount of thought I put into races is kind of absurd […]

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