Last Call Half Marathon

Welcome to Day 2 of my 31-day blogging streak! Not sure what I’m talking about? Click here!


Well, I did it again.

I signed up for another race.

Remember when I said I had a “back up” half marathon in the wings in case the MKE Run Fest doesn’t go well? And that I was waiting to see how the first race went before I committed to this one?

…yeah, I lied. It’s happening.

I’ve now got the nearby “Last Call” Half Marathon on my calendar for December 6th. That’s 5 weeks after the MKE Run Fest half and just over 9 weeks from today.

The more I think about it, the more I really want to run a half marathon PR this season. I haven’t run a good half marathon since April…well, actually, I haven’t run any half marathon since May…and I feel like it’s time.

I’ve had a lot of ups and downs and bumps in the road with my new training-but-not-really-training this summer/fall, and I’d like something positive to come out of it. Don’t get me wrong – learning to truly enjoy running, relax, and run with gratitude is definitely a positive thing that has already come out of this. But I’d like to have a little race success as a cherry on top. I think I deserve it.

I’m still behind where I’d like to be in my Milwaukee Running Festival Half Marathon (MRF) training, and it’s stressing me out a bit. The race is 4 weeks away and my highest mileage week so far has only been 21 miles. That’s not so bad, but October is looking busy for me and I don’t want to feel like running is yet anther thing I need to cram into my schedule. Having an extra 5 weeks to prepare for a better half marathon performance makes me feel much more optimistic. I can take advantage of the fact that I’m in a decent starting place right now with ~20 mile weeks, but I can also breathe a little easier knowing that I have more time to build up my mileage and strength and get in more hard workouts.

I think not putting pressure on myself to perform well at MRF will help me enjoy the experience a little bit more. After all, that’s why I signed up for it – I wanted to be part of the inaugural race that really celebrates our unique and diverse city! Also, MRF is looking to be a fairly hilly course, so I’d love the chance to have another shot at the distance on a flatter route. As long as it doesn’t snow (if it does, I will not be mad, because I feel I have no choice but to accept this as the running gods telling me that a PR is just not meant to be this year).

I’m also glad to have a benchmark race closer to the official start of my Pittsburgh Marathon training (December 28th!). I’m not sure if I’ll have a specific time goal for the marathon, but I like having an idea of what my paces for tempo, speed, and long runs should be. Granted, it’s not rocket science to figure that out on my own, but I know there is a fine line between pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and trying to train at a level you’re not at yet. I like to have some guidance.

  • My “A” goal for this race is to run it in 1:46. Yes, I know, this is a super random time goal. But ~1:45 just seems too ambitious, and I like that 1:46ish is an 8:05-8:06 pace. Somehow that seems so much easier than an 8:00 pace.
  • My “B” goal is to run in the 1:47- high 1:48 range. This would only be a PR by a minute and change, but it’s still a PR.
  • My “C” goal is to finish sub-1:50. And if all else fails, then I simply want to hang onto my streak of sub-2:00 half marathons.

Maybe these time goals are too ambitious for me, I don’t really know. But I’m going for it anyway. What’s the worst that could happen? I miss my goals and don’t run a PR, I’m disappointed for a day or two, and then I move on and start pushing full steam ahead for bigger and better things this Spring.


Now…about a training plan…


15 thoughts on “Last Call Half Marathon

  1. I am running a half the week right after yours! Today on my run I was thinking about a training plan so I will be excited to read about what you are up to. I am not sure what my goal will be. I am an all or nothing type of gal though, so right now my two options are 1. Run for fun. 2. Try to PR. If I just run for fun, I don’t really need to train other than make sure I do a long run most weekends of anywhere between 10-13 miles. If I want to PR, well then there needs to be some more thought going into the plan including the dreaded speed work. I don’t know what to do! I know I will be really stressed traveling to Florida alone for this race, so do I want to put the added pressure on to PR?

  2. I think you are more than capable of nailing ALL of those goals, Hanna. You have speed. I think next year I am going to focus more on the half marathon distance (or shorter). I am looking forward to seeing your training plan. December 6–gotta have a festive running outfit!

  3. Ah so exciting! Good luck with the training – I know you will do absolutely awesome. And no better way to start off marathon training than a few half marathons – you will have one serious base girl!

  4. Those goals don’t seem too ambitious. I do love the half distance because I feel it allows for a little more ambition since you can quickly figure out if you’re in over your head and still have time to recover the race if you are.
    Can’t believe Pittsburgh training starts 12/28, that is going to be here so quick. I thought about doing the half but I am going to do an earlier spring half this year.
    Looking forward to your blog streak, I’ll be reading every day even if I don’t comment!

  5. So exciting! I feel that itch to run another half as well, I’m glad you got to sign up for not one, but two so soon! I don’t think those goals are too ambitious – you’re definitely in good shape to achieve them, especially if you get in some good 4-6 mile tempo runs at half marathon effort (not pace so you don’t limit yourself in one way or another) and fast finish long runs. You’ve got this!

  6. I just decided to run another half this year as well – although for me, I signed up Tuesday for a local half and it is on Sunday, so REALLY spur of the moment! I haven’t run more than 7 miles since the Disneyland Half about a month ago, so it’s really just for fun and to support the local running group, but it does feel crazy to me that I’m now a person who can casually decide to run a half marathon…

  7. I think those goals are achievable for you this season, but love that you chose 1:46 instead of 1:45 just to give yourself a little wiggle room 🙂 I also think it’s smart of you to give yourself a little more time to train before your big goal race. I don’t think you need it physically, but maybe it will help you feel more confident and prepared.

  8. I think someone is loving running again…!!! I am so happy to read this and see that you are getting excited for races again. Your well rested body is going to thank you for that time where you honored what you were feeling and kicked back. I know you are going to see the benefits from that time. Can’t wait to read all about your training! Wooooohooo!

  9. I am happy you posted about this! I have been thinking about doing a late half, and the only one out here is in a forest preserve I don’t like. LOL.

    I hope you get what you want out of both halves! 🙂

  10. I love half marathons. I really just like running and seeing new places. I think it is great that you have planned another run. I am working on picking out a destination race for next year. Have a great weekend.

  11. I’m glad you signed up for this race! Maybe it will be helpful to see how you do at MRF first and then have a solid starting place to work from. If you kill it, then you can just go and enjoy the December race! If not, then you have a great place to make a goal from. Also, random sidenote – but MRF reminds me of Arrested Development. Have you seen the one with Charlize Theron?

  12. I’m hoping to PR my half in November but I don’t think I’m at where I want to be either. I’m still waiting for the humidity to go away to see what I can really do. If I don’t PR ah well. Like you said we’ll start pushing ahead for spring!

  13. I am in the exact same boat as you on these half marathon goals! I’ve actually got 2 lined up after my marathon and that 1:45 just keeps seeming so damn hard. I feel like a 1:46-47 is probably a more reasonable goal and like you, it’d still be a good PR for me! Go get it, Hanna! I love your perspective on this and heading towards your goals.

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