This morning I ran the Palos Heights "Running for Kicks" Half Marathon. Despite being a simple out-and-back course it was very scenic with nature preserves for 90%+ of its length, was relatively flat but with gentle rolling hills. With my time of 1:39:14 I achieved a fantastic (+5 minute) P.R. - despite losing nearly 2-minutes with a critically needed restroom break in the 11th mile! All those extra training miles paid-off!
The weather this morning for the race was absolutely perfect - low 50s with minimal wind, clear skies and low humidity. The runners enthusiasm was evident as we cheered loudly for the beautifully sung national anthem, then quickly led-off westwards past the start line.
My first half of the run was at a blazing - and in retrospect too fast a pace at ~7:15. After partially fatiguing near the half-way point I slowed in the second half to ~7:35.
I attribute my unscheduled - and extremely urgently needed(!) - bathroom visit to my inappropriately experimenting prior to the run. I had drunk two 12-Oz. Starbucks coffees within 30-minutes of the race, where-as the most coffee I'd previously drunk so close to a race was half that amount. Additionally, 10-minutes prior to the run I foolishly consumed half a Cliff Shot Block packet of a flavor (Cola) which I'd never previously tried. I'm not sure which of these items were the cause of my intestinal travails, but this marks an important lesson (re-)learned - don't experiment before a race! Fortunately this happened in a race where the two-lost minutes were not critical to the outcome.
Finally, I happily noted afterwords that even without attempting to adjust for the bathroom break, per Dr. Jack Daniels' highly respected running formula for race predictions, this half-marathon result translates equivalently to a potential full marathon of ~3:26. Both Daniels' half-marathon and 10K formula predicts that with proper conditioning (which evidently I'd been lacking in my prior eleven marathon efforts!) I should be able to achieve a further 6-minute full marathon improvement. This will be great motivation for the Chicago then Houston marathon training (but in the next three weeks I'm first going to minimize my running miles so-as to allow my chronic right Achilles tendinitis an opportunity to fully heal.)