I haven't written much about running this year. After last year's first full marathon, which I finished (yay) but failed in my goals on (by 1/2 hour), I've of course kept running. I figured this year I'd just shoot for a half-marathon. Full marathons basically eat your life up during the long months of training. Halves are much more manageable.
My first 1/2, 2 years ago in Asheville, was also my first organized race. I did it in 1:55:18 (8:48/mi.), which was great since I was just happy to have accomplished it. The 1/2 marathon split during my full marathon
last year was basically the same, 1:55:something. That time I was just focused on the increased mileage, so didn't think at all about speed.
This year, I just wanted to run a 1/2 and beat 1:55:18. I didn't much care by how much. About 6 weeks ago, a friend called and mentioned he was running a half marathon in San Jose. As it turned out, I had planned to be in CA on vacation during that time and hadn't registered for any races yet. So I signed up. Running in my home town, right by my old neighborhood and old haunts, would be great. The problem--he has always run faster than me and was shooting for 1:45. Aggressively, he was hoping for 1:40 to beat his personal record. 1:45 would be a record for me, as it's almost a minute faster per mile than I was used to running!
I immediately changed my training and focused on timing myself (I never did) and getting my speed up.
So yesterday we ran the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll marathon. Great weather, running through parts of San Jose I knew well but never ran through, lots of live music, supportive family and friends, and a solid runner and friend at my side helped. It was a great run. We pushed each other and I finished at 1:39:27 (7:36/mi.), faster than we'd even hoped.
My chip time was almost 30 secs faster, as I didn't start with the elite runners.
I still maintain that just about anyone can train to a half-marathon in a year or two. My first run was 3.5 years ago, all of one measly huffing-and-puffing mile. If I can do it, so can you.