October 4, 2015. Start time: 7:00 am. Weather: 60 degrees- perfect! Shoes: New Balance Fresh Foam Zante. My time: 1:39:00, a new personal best. 35th place overall, fourth place in my age group.
I grew up in Tiburon, CA, and when I learned about the Tiburon HM I knew I had to enter. The race starts downtown and heads out the bike path, past Greenwood Cove, and around Strawberry Point. Having walked, run, biked, and skateboarded all of these roads I knew the course and felt I could run a strong race.
My Summer training went well. Coming off a 1:43 finish at the Chesebro HM in March I felt I could break 1:40:00 in Tiburon. Feeling confident and only a little nervous I headed north hoping for a great race and a new PR.
The day before the race I scouted the course. It was mostly flat as I remembered but there were two hills that I did not expect to be so steep:
I needed to change my race strategy. Originally I wanted to run a consistent 7:35 pace, but now I would need to run even faster on the flats to make up for what I anticipated to be a slower pace on the hills.
On race day, I decided to run by feel instead of constantly checking my watch. The first miles felt smooth and relaxed and I did not realize I was running 10-15 seconds below my goal pace. I adjusted and tried to hold my pace at 7:30 until the first hill.
At the six mile mark, there was a sudden steep incline. I tried to stay relaxed as I climbed but I could tell my pace was slowing. Fortunately, there was an equal descent that allowed me to catch my breath and regain my pace. This proved to be true for all of the hills and I was able to make up whatever ground I lost running downhill.
The final miles leveled out and backtracked along the bike path. I had enough energy left to record negative splits: 7:45 to 7:35 to 7:25. I sprinted the last quarter mile and held off a runner who was trying to catch me.
Somehow he me beat me by one second. He must have started after me. I didn’t mind because I had beat my 1:40:00 goal time by a full minute and set a new personal best for the half marathon.
My splits show that I was able to stick to my race plan. Except for the hills I held a solid 7:35 pace. For the Tiburon Half Marathon, I used my training to reliably predict my race performance, and that will help my future training. This was an excellent race and a confidence builder for whatever comes next.