I like goals when I run. Even if I don't make any them, trying to do them helps me run a more intelligent race. Occasionally I overdo it and have a half a dozen different hopes floating around of how the day will go, but for the most part things have gone well with this philosophy. Guess that's why I stick with it.
Anyway, this is the third Crim I've run, and the first since '06. '07 was a huge year for me, when my running ability improved by leaps and bounds. I was curious to see how I could do even coming off an injury and six weeks of recovery and gaining 10 pounds.
Trust me, by the end of the race I think I could feel every ounce of that extra weight dragging on me like dozens of tiny anchors. But I digress.
the day was as perfect as the Crim gives- middle 60s at the start, windy and not overly humid. I've had runs in the mid 60s feel like hell because of high humidity conditions, but luckily the race managed to dodge that bullet this year. I got in early, got my race stuff and put it all together- number pinned, D-tag attached, the usual.
My goals were as follows: a PR (<1:37:08), sub 9 min/pace (1:30) sub 8:30 (1:25). Secondary goal is to run the last three miles faster than the first three. I also had in the back of my head the idea of negative splitting, but I wasn't certain I was up for that.
I started off the race feeling pretty good, enjoying the relative cool and the flatness of the roads. I knew it wasn't going to keep up- temps were scheduled to go up to 75 or so by 10AM, and the hills aren't anything to sneeze at. I was a little bit worried when I noted my mile splits were right around 8 minutes, though. I told myself I could take it easier during the middle third of the race and run hard for the final third and it would be fine. It would give me an easier time doing the hilly part of the course.
Right around mile three, I linked up with a couple of friends from the running group; both of them were doing their long run for their training program as part of the race. They'd met early to do five miles, run the Crim, and then do another five after the race. Personally, since they're trying to run a 3:30, I figure they did a good marathon pace run in the middle of their 20, although I have no idea how much they rested between runs.
It was really helpful having them to talk to, though. Kept me from taking the hills too seriously, and I did let my pace fall off like I wanted to. I passed the half in 41:01. I think mile five was my slowest, but also with my highest heart rate average (171) until I hit my last mile. I also think the hills at mile five were also the hardest.
One word about pacing- at least, according to my garmin, I'm pretty good at it in the beginning of a race. My first three mile splits were 7:56, 7:57 and 7:57. Not too shabby! heart rate was in the 160's, too. I'm pretty happy about that.
Anyway, final time was 1:20:33, five minutes faster than my stretch goal of 1:25, and 16:35 faster than '06. My first three miles were at an average of pace of 7:56; my final three miles were done at an average pace of 7:45, so i got that goal too. And since I passed the midpoint in 41:01, I managed to drop about a minute thirty from the first half to the second.
All in all, I call it a win. :)