This was in large part a fitness test to gauge my preparation for the Philadelphia Marathon, and it did not go particularly well. I had some strong workouts in recent weeks and felt like I was fit enough for a PR, but over the past couple of weeks I have been feeling fatigued, and it seems that my 6 day taper for this race failed to cure that. I still went in planning to pace for a 1:18, and I tried sticking to that plan.
My legs were not feeling good early on, and the fatigue only got worse. There was a pretty good downhill toward the end of mile 2, and I remember thinking that it would probably suck on the way back. It did, as evidenced by my mile 12 split.
I had all sorts of problems getting into a good rhythm, and spent the first half of the race trying to force myself into a pace my legs simply did not want to sustain. Toward the end of the race I was just plain too tired to hold my planned pace. The knockdown punch came during mile 8, where an uphill probably around 1/4 mile long put me into a lot of difficulty, and I never really recovered. This sucker was steeper than I am used to running in races, and it hurt.
Mile 9 had a pretty good downhill, which definitely helped postpone my collapse for a bit. I hit 10 miles in 1:01, already behind PR pace. By mile 11, I was exhausted and fading on flat terrain. At this point, I pretty much gave up on the PR and just tried to get this thing over with. After a tough 12th mile I came back a bit on a downhill final mile to finish in 1:20:33, 1:01 off my PR run at Brooklyn this Spring. I think the 2 courses are comparable, though Staten Island subjectively felt harder to me.
Here are splits, recorded at the mile markers.
1 6:02 (6:02)
2 12:01 (5:59)
3 18:00 (5:59)
4 24:04 (6:04)
5 30:20 (6:16)
6 36:11 (5:51)
7 42:20 (6:09)
8 48:53 (6:33)
9 54:53 (6:00)
10 1:01:00 (6:06)
11 1:07:18 (6:18)
12 1:13:52 (6:34)
13 1:19:56 (6:04)
Finish 1:20:33 (:37)
I am thinking about what went wrong. Perhaps my higher mileage marathon training with more tempo running and fewer intervals was not as suited for a half. Perhaps it was because I got fat, showing up for this half 5-6 lbs heavier than I was this spring. Or perhaps I underestimated the recovery I would need from the pretty tough 3 weeks of training that preceded this race.
Anyway, I will be adjusting my marathon goal by 4 minutes and probably reducing my planned workload for the final few weeks before Philly.