A recent move to Vegas has re-energized my running. In preparation for a half marathon next weekend at Valley of Fire State Park, I ran the 3rd Annual National Veterans Day 11k - Las Vegas this morning. With the race next weekend, I planned on using today's run as a tempo run and keeping the pace right at a 9 minute mile. Overall, I achieved the goal and finished in a 1:00:15 which worked out to an 8:49 mile. The course was pretty flat and primarily on a dirt trail with some loose gravel.
Given that this was only my second race in over a decade (ran the 5.4 mile Twilight Overlook Ascent at Red Rock back in September - great race - conquered the hill climb in under an hour), there were some lessons learned. The primary one was a reminder to not go out so fast. I am not a fast guy with my best 1.5 mile time since we switched to the run test in 2004 being an 11:16 last month. In today's race, I wasn't paying attention to my splits until I hit the 1.5 mile mark and heard an 11:50 time from my GPS. I consciously backed off the pace at that point. The second point was stick to what works. This was twofold concerning nutrition and clothing. Concerning nutrition, I have two primary things that I eat while on long runs - GU gel and Clif Shot Bloks. I tried something new and overall, wasn't happy with it. Clothing-wise, I wore something different and had the rare chaffing moment...not fun.
Today was the kick-off to a busy month of racing. Next up - Valley of Fire Half Marathon on Nov 16th.