Today I used the Four Bridges Half Marathon as part of a marathon-pace training run. I ran about 6.5 miles at an easy pace before the race started, went to the starting line and then ran the race at marathon pace. I started my warm-up run in the dark, and it was beautiful running down by Lake Natoma as the sun rose. When I turned around and headed back to the start, I ran through the still quiet streets of Old Town Folsom. The only people around were the yellow-vested volunteers getting ready to direct traffic -- cars and runners. With about 15 minutes to go before the race began, I found a porta-potty outside a Sutter Street house that was being remodeled and was able to use it without having to wait in line. Always an added bonus.
My race effort wasn't perfect, but it went much better than last week. I am still not convinced I can run at that pace for 26 miles. But I guess that's what training runs are for.
My splits are below. I was pretty much able to maintain my pace except for mile 7, which took us up the sloping Hazel Avenue bridge, and the final mile, which is a pretty steep climb to the finish. I had wondered whether it would be worth it to pay my $60 bucks for a training run, but once the race started I realized it was. It was great to have other people to run with, and I was able to run with a small group for several miles after the start, then stay motivated by trying to reel people in during the second half of the race.
My heart rate ended up higher than I would like. But one reason is that it took a big jump on the climb up Hazel and never settled back down. I was happy that I was able to string together three sub-6:30 miles on the north side of the lake even as my heart rate was elevated.
This is a tougher course than the flats I am used to running on in Sacramento, and tougher, I think, than the CIM course. So I am pretty pleased with this effort. I might do something similar next weekend on my own or with a partner. I will probably try to stretch the total running time out closer to 3 hours. And in two weeks I will run the Clarksburg 30K at marathon pace. By then I should know exactly the pace I will be comfortable with on Dec. 6.