I’m writing this already because I’m at the airport in Houston 4 hours before my flight, so I have plenty of time to kill. Today was the 2011 USA Half-Marathon Championships in Houston, Texas on the same course that will host the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. This race was perfectly organized, a very friendly staff of volunteers and race officials, and really just a first class event through-and-through! It was very fun to say the least!
Besides the race, I was privledged enough to have dinner with all the other Mizuno athletes on Thursday night. It was a great night hanging out with my Mizuno teammates and enjoying some delicious food at Mia Bella in downtown Houston! A lot of Mizuno athletes ran extremely well in the half-marathon, especially on the women’s side! Also on Thursday I got to meet more of the Honey Milk staff and hang out in their booth at the Houston Marathon expo. Besides the perfect recovery drink, the staff at Honey Milk is so friendly and positive! If you want to support a great company that loves distance running, Honey Milk is it! And, the new Strawberry Banana flavor is very good – definitely worth a try.
If you read my last post, you would have known that “I’m fit.” I’ve been putting in some good mileage and didn’t “taper” going into the race. With about half a dozen solid workouts and good quality mileage since the California International Marathon, I knew I was ready for a good performance…and that’s exactly what happened! The course had a lot of tight turns and three specific U-turns. I swear the wind was always in my face, which other runners seemed to agree – maybe it had something to do with the buildings downtown? I got out conservatively but yet still too aggressively. I passed significantly more people during the race than passed me – which I think only one or maybe two guys did. As you can tell by my splits at the bottom of the post, I slowed nearly every mile after about mile 4/5. I was definitely not ready for quite that fast of a start and should have tried to negative split and be a little more patient for my first race back, but if you never take a risk you’ll never know how far you can go! Had I kept the pace I had for the first five miles I would have finished in the top ten. I also was not ready for the heat and humidity. Even though 55-60F does not seem warm, when you train in a very dry climate at altitude you need some acclimation. I thought in a perfect day I would be able to break 1:05. A little more patience, a little cooler temperature, and a course without that many turns and I feel I could have run sub 1:05! In addition, the first real longer road race shakes off the rust of racing. I’ll be tougher next time as well! This was nearly a perfect start to the racing season as I finished inside the top 20 for the first time at a USA championships (17th) in a very very talented field. A positive and solid start to 2011 has me excited for a great 2011 year – my first full year as a professional road racer! Next weekend I’m going to travel to Pensacola Florida for the Double Bridge Run 15k. It’s a great race that good friend and Penn State Track Alumni James Carney has won a couple years in a row! It’s also good marathon training running road races on back-to-back races to “callus” the legs. Hope everyone had a great weekend and another big THANK YOU to all of the race organizers that put on such a fantastic event!
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