Result: 1:10.08 (5:20avg)
Place: 12th Place
Splits: 5:22-5:17-5:15-5:20-5:20-5:11(32:56 @ 10K)-5:25-5:22-5:11-5:26(53:13 @10miles)-5:27-5:26-5:19-40's (Garmin Auto Mile Splits so my splits aren't accurate to the true mile markers but fairly close)
Recap: This race has quickly become the best race in our region and it's still growing. After capping the race at 15,000 runners last year, they raised the cap to 17,000 this year and it still sold out early to make it the biggest race in Ohio. Next year they plan for 2012 to have a one year cap of 20,012 runners so that should make for even more race excitement.
As for the race, this made the third straight trip to Columbus for us. We have had pretty good success the previous years. I was 6th in the marathon with my PR of 2:29 and change back in 2009, that same year Marian ran the half in 1:21 to finish 2nd overall ($750) which was a great result for her.
Race morning came and first thing I noticed was the wind was pretty low for what it could have been, so one obstacle out of the way. After warming up it was time to go. The start line at Columbus is pretty sweet and rivals any race I have ran all around the country. It's still dark, their blaring music, and the crowds of people is huge. The gun goes off to a entire set of fireworks that go off for another 60seconds into the race.
I quickly settled into a controlled effort that I had hoped would lead me to straights 5:20's and sub 1:10. I had said I would be happy with anything faster then marathon goal pace but really I knew going in I wanted to get back under 1:10. I was pretty much ahead of schedule on pace throughout the first 6 miles. Mile 7 and 8 were gradually up a incline with some wind that was picking back up slowly so I lost some time there but then came mile 9 and the lead marathon runner coming past me. I looked over and said to him I'll pull you threw as long as I can at 5:15. I ran that mile in 5:11 and then stepped off leading and watched him ease past. I was slowing but not drastically at this point. I still hit mile 10 a little ahead of pace. Mile 11 and 12 were solid miles but my slowest and I was now behind on goal time. I needed a 5:15 last mile and a really hard finish the last .1 which is downhill so I figured it was possible. I battled that last mile to a 5:19 and knew I was going to come up short. I enjoyed the last .1 one knowing I was coming up short but still happy with the result.
All and all a really positive result since it felt controlled. 5:20's felt pretty much like I could go longer at that effort just not much faster right now. I think that is exactly what you want to feel like during a tuneup half during a marathon build. Who knows what might happen in 3 weeks at the marathon, it is such toss up race. But one thing is for sure, I have the confidence that if I run smart and if I' feeling good on that day that I have a shot at getting close to taking a step forward in the marathon.
I want to give another huge THANK YOU to the Columbus Marathon/Half staff for the third straight year of support which has included free entry, hotel, and travel support! We both look forward to being back for a 4th straight year in 2012!