A week ago last Sunday I ran the Tortoise & Hare 12K race put on by FCRC. These handicap start races are fun as they give us all, but especially those improving in speed, a chance at a top finish. I've finished in the points (top 10, but remember the handicap start) the last 2 races and hoped to do so again as I felt confident I could significantly beat Nick's predicted time of nearly 1:08. Nick's predictions are at a disadvantage by having to include my slow 5K (including a missed turn) last November. I felt a 1:03-ish time was in reach. I ran 1:03:56 last year. Of course when I made that 1:03ish prediction I wasn't factoring in having ran the Trudge the day before.
I was a tad late getting to the park due to a road closure and detour so I didn't have a long time to warm up, but did manage to get in about 8 minutes of strides and such to loosen the legs a bit. I would have preferred more, but you take what you can get. For race strategy I took a page from Pete and I went out with the dash and crash mentality, knowing, and ignoring, that the out was net downhill and the back was thus net uphill. I felt good from the gun and ran 7:57, 8:11, 8:15, and 8:20 pace (.75 miles) for a total of 30:38 on the way out. The uphill back portion I ran in 8:24, 8:30, 8:41, and 8:38 pace (.75 miles) for 32:37 back, 1:03:15 overall. Most of what kept me going on the back was knowing that Ean wasn't far behind me. I passed her on the out and feared that a too fast early pace would bite me in the end of the race. Though I slowed nearly every mile along the way I think overall I'm happy with that performance. I was tiring but never blew up. I was surprised to find I finished 5th overall, netting some points and putting myself solidly in the middle of a tight group vying for 2nd through about 7th place in the T&H series. Top 5 win money. Knowing this I'm getting excited for the 5K next month. Nick should have me predicted at about 25:45, I know I can beat that.
This 12K and the 8K from last month have me right on the edge of what would predict a sub-4 marathon, which side of the edge depends on which prediction formulas you use. I've also had some encouraging track workouts, doing 3x1600 the week before the 12K all around 7:30 pace and did 7x800 (Yasso lite) in times that ranged from 3:42 to 3:57 last week. Those times put me in the realm of the 4 hour marathon. It seems I have more confidence when running the short stuff, running out on the roads for longer runs that 9:07 pace seems awful fast. I think I'm going to do some marathon pace work down the canyon with Marie and hope that it will build confidence. If I can do that, bang out a 7:20 PDM in a couple weeks and shave a couple minutes off my current Towers time I think I'll be ready.