Okay, let's just put it out there: running a Half today, exactly 3 weeks after my 100 mile Ultra, was just plain stupid. Mea Culpa. In my defense, I signed up a while back without thinking it through clearly. In Canada, most races are held on Sundays, so I have to book a holiday to run them. It seems Americans have most of their races on Saturdays. Not sure, but I think you folks respect the Lord's Day a lot more than we do up here.
Anyway, this is one of those rare Saturday races, and just a 3 1/2 hour drive from here. So, I decided to run it as slow as I could, just for the fun of it. I actually paced this race 4 years ago; I think I paced it at 1:55, which is basically what I ran it at today.
Perfect day for it: started off at 8C/47F and rose to about 11C/52F. Light wind and cloudy, although the sun came out towards the end.
My right foot still aches from the Ultra (top of foot - nerve injury), and my right shin is still tender. So, I decided to aim for about a 2 hour race, and tried to run as much of it as possible on the gravel shoulder. That worked: when I ran there, no shin pain. On the pavement, a different story.
I found it SO HARD to hold back and keep my pace slow. However, at about mile 2, a man (Will) runs up beside me and we start talking. Continued for the next 10 miles. Turns out, he ran the Dopey Challenge this year. In fact, he was wearing one of the race shirts. So, we talked about that, and kept on talking about anything and everything. I felt he was pushing me a bit faster than I would have liked, but I think the reverse may have been true. He hadn't run since January, and he was struggling to keep pace towards the end. At mile 12, I had enough of this holding back. I was not breathing hard, and had not cracked a sweat. So, I picked it up and ran the last mile hard. Well, actually just at 7:06 pace, but it felt good to move faster.
Most of my mile splits were in the 8:45 range, which felt extremely comfortable. I was worried I was going to do more damage to my foot and shin, but I don't think I did. So, I'm glad I went and am happy with the way the race unfolded.