All the training this winter with George should help support a solid race. My game plan is set. I'll try to PR. I want to negative split the race with a 51:25 split and a 1:40:50 finish. My half marathon personal record is 1:42:08 at the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon in Freeport, Pa. in 2010, and I came very close to beating that in 2011 at the the UPMC Urgent Care Montour Trail Half Marathon in Robinson Township, Pa. with 1:42:38.
A new half marathon PR on Sunday would encourage me to continue the training path that we've been on to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but whatever happens in this race is progress. Our Boston qualifier, the Wineglass Marathon, still sits five months out leaving us with a lot of time to practice and improve.
So far, I've rested well this week in preparation for the race. My miles are way down from last week's season high 39.1 miles.
This morning George and I practiced his pre-race "stride" routine in the open grassy field behind Lauri Ann West Community Center. Strides are not tiring at all, but short, relaxed, up-tempo runs.
"All form," George said, "strive for perfection, effortless stride...practice proper breathing." We practiced two lengths, up, and then back, about 120 yards per length running at race pace, and then we walked fast back to the other side to complete a third length and the round. We completed a number of rounds this morning but didn't overdo it.
Felt good. Put me in the mindset of how I want to start the race on Sunday -- striding into my race pace with as little effort as possible, all form, proper breathing - careful not to start out too fast or get out of breath at the beginning of the race.
I'm ready to run. Now I just have to get to the race on time.