Virginia Beach… Demolished.
What a race! BB and I ran the Virginia Beach Shamrock Half-marathon side by side, and we destroyed our previous personal record. We went from 2:14:44 to 2:05:03. A reduction of 9 minutes and 41 seconds. Or, essentially, more than a mile faster. Meaning, compared to our last half-marathon, we were finishing this one while we still had more than a mile to go in the last one. We’ve now taken more than 33 minutes off of our time since our first race, last May.
So, in less than a year, we’ve sped up by about 20%. And, for the first time, I finished in the top half of the field. I was beaten by only about 35% of the people running this race! I was still in the bottom half of men, and of men my age. I find it interesting that the half-marathon was run by almost 3000 more women than men. I don’t know if that’s a trend, or if it’s peculiar to this race, this time.
The first four miles of the race were hard. It was crowded, slow, and we hadn’t had anything like an appropriate amount of coffee. After the first 45 minutes though, it spread out and we loosened up. At the 10K mark, we realized we were making pretty good time, and had conserved a fair bit of energy. We picked up speed without really meaning to, and continued to accelerate through the end of the race. Our final mile was our fastest, turning in an 8:40.
I feel confident that if we’d started a few corrals closer to the front, we’d have taken a minute or two off our time just by not being blocked up with the slower runners. Something to fix next time perhaps. Though our next race is going to be slow on purpose; hillier and with a friend who’s running for the first time.
But overall, I could not be happier with this race. We had great company, a great run, managed the course reasonably well, and shattered our personal record. My new Hoka One One shoes felt great, and my neuroma didn’t bug me. A completely stellar day, all around. The kind of day you run for. The culmination of a lot of work, and a lot of tough days. Bad days. Hard days. Well, this time, it all built up to a great day. That’s a great reward.