I swear, I wasn't racing

What a great day to run - morning temperatures in the 60s, relatively low humidity. You couldn't ask for better weather in mid-August to go for a long run, or attend a race that I wasn't going to run hard.

My goal for today's Lynchburg Half Marathon was to finish around what I did last year - 1:55.19, an 8:49 pace. I've already written about this being an excellent training run - go out with ease and not push myself too much. But a lot has changed in a year and I realize that even more today. My time today was 1:46.53, an 8:10 pace. I didn't feel like I went out and ran it hard - I just did what felt comfortable. And "comfortable" has a different meaning in 2007 than in 2006. As a bonus, I hooked up about 3 miles in with a guy I went to high school with, and we talked quite a bit for about 5 miles after that. Then, without saying anything, we just sort of alternated who was in front of the other. And all this time I really didn't feel like I was pushing myself too hard. Our mile times got better as we went along and hit about a 7:30 pace the last 5K. (My actual mileage times were: 8:34, 8:45, 8:25, 8:30, 8:24, 8:22, 8:10, 8:26, 8:21, 7:53, 7:37, 7:36, and 7:46 for the last 1.1) The course was relatively flat with some hidden inclines along the way.

A year ago when I finished this race, I felt beat up and questioned why I ran so long when I was only training for a 10 miler that was more than a month away. It was the beginning of my knee problems. Today, though, I actually did a cool down jog about a quarter mile to my car so I could get into dry clothes. And, now, 4 hours later, my legs feel great.

I feel great about going out there and beating last year's time by nearly 9 minutes, and finishing less than 3 minutes from my PR at the Shamrock Half Marathon in March. But my point in running today's race was to get in a solid training run for the Richmond Marathon, and I did that. The rest of my week didn't go as planned at all, but I'll take ending the week like this.

And lastly, I must give a shout out to two of my soon-to-be former co-workers. There was also a 5K as part of today's race, which they ran. Jill finished third in her age group and a minute and a half faster than last year's race. And Sarah ran her first Lynchburg road race and didn't finish DFL. Good job to you both. I'd like to give a shout out to my wife as well. She volunteered today handing out water.