Headed up to Great Bay for the annual half with my friend Ray. I felt like I was going to have a pretty good race. Each week up until the race I had been doing a run of almost a half-marathon and even thought the pace is slower at a training pace it does give you confidence going into the race. My projected half-marathon pace is around 7:03, but the problem with that is that it does not account for hills that are what make Great Bay the Great Bay half.
My plan, was to start around 7:30s and gradually pick up the pace as I went. Just before the race I talked to my friend Michelle and her friend Courtney. We chatted a bit and I mentioned that I was planning on trying to do 7:20s and see how it went. Ray decided he was going to just run easy and I was going to run with Pete.
Pete and I start out the race and I’m checking my watch and we are a little quick. Just over 7s. We real off the first mile in 7:11 and I think that is a little too quick. So I try to easy back a little and I do, then I hear someone say “hey, is that Zane?”, it’s Michelle’s friend Courtney. She comes jogging up and says when you said you were going to do 7:20s that was my goal too. I’m thinking cool, another person to run with. Then she promptly dropped Pete and I. She was just moving too fast for us at this point. We could see her out in front and never lost sight of her, but it would be a few miles before we caught back up with her.
Through the dirt road I felt pretty good and Pete seemed to drop back a little bit as we went up some hills and I caught up to Courtney. Pete was not to be dropped though and was not far behind. We ran together through about 11-12 miles and Courtney faded back, but we were not really sure how far back. As we were coming back from the out and back I saw my friend Ray, gave him a high five, felt pretty good.
Pete and I made the turn to the finish out of the out and back and had about a mile to go. I knew that I had him because he started to fade just a little. With about a half mile to go I started to push harder and making the final turn to come down the stretch I heard Pete say “Go get him”. He says he wasn’t referring to me, not that I care, but he was talking to Courtney at the time. She had really picked it up and pulled us both in. I ended up finishing just ahead of Courtney and Pete at 1:35:10 a PR of 2:42.
I was pretty happy with that considering the difficulty of the course. Great Bay is not an easy course and definitely not one to choose if you are looking for a PR.
That is about 7 minutes faster than when I did the race back in 2011 during my training for IMLP the first time around.