Event: Madison Mini Marathon, a half marathon
Weather: About 60° F at the 7:00 start, about 90% humidity. Clear skies.
Training: I'm working toward a November full marathon. I ran a very flat half marathon April 1, a 20k May 6, and a half marathon May 28 (after a 10k the night before). From the half at the end of May through mid-July, I was running 20-25 miles per week before ramping up to 30 mile weeks for the last few weeks.
My typical week is running hill intervals Monday, a flat, fast five mile run Tuesday, a 6-7 mile Thursday run, and a long Saturday run.
Nutrition: I drank a bottle of Gatorade, ate a Power Bar, and had a cup of coffee before the run. I probably ate too much last night. Just before the run I had a bag of Jelly Belly Extreme Sport Beans. I had two energy gels during the run, one at mile 5 and one at mile 9. I had Gatorade at mile 5, water at mile 9 and both Gatorade and water at mile 10.5.
Experience: The run went well start to finish. My mile splits varied from 8:16 (mile 2) to 9:05 (mile 11). Mile 8 was also over nine minutes, but the others were all under 9:00. Mile 8 is the biggest hill, but there's also a long one at the end of mile 10 and into mile 11.
My heart rate stayed in a good range until the very end when I pushed hard up the last hill and toward the finish.
Physically I feel really good. This was my sixth half marathon and second time doing this one. I trained a bunch last summer, and I don't think I trained more this summer. The difference seems to be the consistency. A year ago, I'd been doing long runs for a few months. Now I've been doing them for over a year. My muscles are used to it and able to support it without hurting my joints. I didn't have any pain during or after the run.
Finish: 1:55:45 is my official time, a full two minutes faster than my previous best. I'm very satisfied with that time. A flatter run in cool, dry weather would probably see another two minutes off that time.
Event review: Last year there were no starting line porta-potties. This year there were. Big improvement. This run coordinates with area organizations (a dance team, a swim team, a cross country team, probably some others I don't remember) to run the aid stations. It's really great because it's a whole group cheering and helping. They're really supportive.
It's a well organized race. There were almost 2500 finishers.
Will I do it again next year? Probably.