Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Getting ready for the Myrtle Beach Half

The Myrtle Beach Half Marathon is just three days away. It's not exactly a target race for me -- my primary training goal right now is getting ready for the Boston Marathon in two months. But training for a half isn't much different from training for a full, so I feel like I'm in good enough shape that I can PR in this race.

The weather, for once, looks to be cooperating as well. Forecast overnight low on Friday is 45 degrees, and with a race start at 6:30 a.m., it won't warm up much between then and when I finish (hopefully before 8 a.m.). Wind can be a factor at this race, but the winds are currently predicted at just 8 miles per hour, so that shouldn't be much of a factor either. Three-day forecasts are usually pretty accurate around here, so I don't think this forecast will change much between now and race day.

I've been feeling much better over the past few weeks than I had in January, so I really do think I have a chance at a solid race. That said, I still think it would be a bit of a stretch for me to hit a NY marathon qualifying time in this race. That would require a 1:25 half-marathon, averaging 6:28 per mile, and PRing by 6 minutes. On the other hand, conditions look to be nearly perfect, and the course is pancake-flat, so if I have a shot at qualifying, there's nothing about this event that should slow me down.

Even better, I have a friend who's running the full marathon at a similar pace to my half, so for the first 11 miles, if everything goes well, I should have someone to run with.

The only real negative I see right now is my weight. I had hoped last year to get down to a racing weight of 175, but got sidetracked dealing with a skin cancer scare (I'm happy to say that the skin cancer looks to be completely cured). I was down to about 180 in the fall but gained some weight over the holidays and I currently weigh in at 188. That's actually not too different from when I ran my Boston qualifier, but the extra 8 pounds compared to last fall, by some rules of thumb, should add about 16 seconds per mile to my pace. That would still be a PR, but wouldn't get me that coveted guaranteed entry to New York.

But given that there is no larger stake in this race, I still think I'm going to try to keep my pace under 6:30. Even if I can't hold that pace for the whole race, I think it's worth it to try--I don't have anything to lose.

This week I'm doing a bit of a taper, cutting my Sunday long run down to just 10 miles, and running 4 miles or less for the last three days of the week. Given the lower mileage, I'm trying to reduce my caloric intake as well and so far I haven't gained any weight. I'm not planning on doing a lot of pre-race carbo-loading but I do plan on eating well the day before the race.

Other than that, all I can do is show up ready to race on Saturday morning. I'll let you know how it goes.

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