A non-race race that I want to race

I apologize for the headline that seems like a bunch of mumbled, jumbled words ... as well as for the rest of this post. I've had a hard time writing this week -- if it weren't for my Twitter Q&A and my monthly 11 things posts, I probably wouldn't have written anything else.

I thought it was writer's block, but truth be told, it's me avoiding setting a goal for this weekend's Lynchburg Half Marathon -- a race that I'm not approaching as a "big" race, but instead focus on it being a training race.

In the past I've called it a "non-race race," but those aren't the right words anymore. "Training race" has a better ring to it.

This race fits in perfectly with my training schedule for the Baltimore Marathon. It's exactly at the halfway point of my training -- it's a big test of where I am fitness-wise for a speedier long run. It's about putting enough on the line to "race" it without being sore for 3 days after and messing up next week that should be even higher mileage. There is a fine line here with how hard to run this race.

Ideally, I'd like to run this slightly faster than my marathon goal of 3:45. An 8:36 pace -- a time of about 1:52 -- for a half marathon seems too slow of a goal. I think -- and I say think because I may change my mind as soon as I wake up -- that a goal of 1:49 is realistic for this race.

Last year the one major hill in this race -- probably about 3/4 of a mile long -- zapped me coming down. Yes, down, but knowing the course better will help this year. The weather is also supposed to much nicer than a year ago and considerably cooler than the past few weeks.

One thing about this race is that I'm realizing how important it is for me to do this. Otherwise I feel like I could fall into this cycle of "just another long run." I have to push myself to set the tone for the second half of training. I've had an unbelievable first 8 weeks of training and I want the next 8 to be even better.

I'm probably no more clear about this than I was went I first started this post. Honestly I'm eager to get out there and see what happens. And, more importantly, to have fun.

Image: Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net