Monday, December 03, 2007

West Palm Half Marathon December 2007

Running buddy John and I were set to do the half. I had decided to support a running buddy, Jen Jones by pacing her at 8 minute miles to give her a shot at a 3:30 in the full. Jen had followed the Pfitzinger 70/18 program and was well prepared for her effort having run six 20 milers (more than I've ever done). She had run good races recently from 5K to the half marathon distance. The question was, with temps expected to hit 75 by 10 AM, what pace could Jen reasonably expect to run and what would be her fall-back goals?

Race morning as I got in my car to drive up to West Palm Beach, my car thermometer read 75. This was at 4 AM, prior to the sun raising above the horizon. Oh, well. We'd make the best of it. Jen & I lined up near our pace leader, Eric, who seemed like a level headed runner. John was supposed to pace another buddy, Victor, in the half, but they never hooked up. Jen's husband Matt was to try to pace long the course on a bike in support.

Jen & I paced off Eric the first mile and found he went out a little fast. We decided to adjust our pace to true 8 minute miles regardless of what Eric did. We found some early miles he got a little ahead of us, but from about mile 4 to mile 10 he lagged behind. We just stuck to our pace. Between mile 10 and 11, I started to fall slightly off pace. Fortunately, Eric, our surging pacer, came by and I handed Jen off.

I finished the half in just under 1:46. John came in at 1:51; a stunning time given he was coming off a calf stress and probably shouldn't have been running. Buddy Victor came in at a PR of 2:05 and his friend Julie did a 2:10 for her first half. Jen's finish time for the full was 3:32:42, barely off of her ideal goal pace.