In a little over a week, I'll be headed down to Richmond for my fall focus race - the American Family Fitness Richmond Half Marathon.
At this point, the weather forecast looks favorable, with sun and temperatures in the low 50s predicted for race time. Combine that with some pretty decent runs over the past couple of weeks, and I'm feeling alright about that goal to hit the finish line in less than 1:55.
As cool as meeting that time goal will be, the REAL race target is a little farther up. About five minutes after breaking two hours in a half marathon last March, I decided that the next logical step would be to shoot for a sub-4 hour marathon after the spring/summer triathlon season wrapped up. However, partway through the summer, I decided that I had no interest in jumping right into marathon training right after finishing an ironman. Instead, I settled on running the half marathon in Richmond and deferring the sub 4 hour goal until the Spring.
Marathon selection proved to be difficult because of work- and coaching-related commitments in March, which seems to be the month that all marathons in this area take place. January offered some options in the southern part of the country, but I knew that wouldn't be enough time to prepare for my best race possible. After my coach kindly listened to my concerns, without laughing at the notion that me and my 4:34 marathon PR from November 2011 could break 4 hours in early 2013, we settled on Myrtle Beach on February 16.
The course if flat, fast, and not too far from DC, which made it easy for me to convince Mia and Rachel to join me. Still, there's a lot to do between now and then to make sure I'm in good shape to break the 4 hour barrier. But in the meantime, that half marathon in Richmond offers me a chance to see where my fitness stands, and then obsessively review what the McMillan running calculator says about my projected marathon time based on my finish in Richmond.
And in between review of finish time projections, I need to run. A lot.
Race day is in 15 weeks. Let's do this.