During a long group run in December a conversation emerged about the different opportunities to run two half-marathons in one weekend. I never have attempted that feat, but it has been an item on my runner's bucket list. I thought the best local opportunity would be GMAA's Rollin Irish Half Marathon & Plattsburgh Half Marathon (Saturday-Sunday) in late April, but in the course of conversation my friend Greg said, "You could do both halves of the Half Marathon Unplugged." And that struck a spark in my mind.
I am not a strong marathoner. I've run only two marathons and didn't enjoy the finish of either. However, I've been open to trying another if the venue or the concept is especially interesting. The logistics of a "Double Unplugged" intrigued me, and I spent a couple weeks debating the idea internally before making my decision and double-registering on January 13.
The novelty - and the difficulty - in a Double Unplugged lies in having to race the first wave in order to return in time for the 11:00am 2nd-wave start. It's the classic rookie mistake, but on purpose: Run the first half too fast and suffer the consequences later.
Currently I can run a half-marathon in 1:29:xx, which puts me in good range for the first wave. I'll have to run a sub-1:35:00 in order to allow for the 15-20 minute ride back to Airport Park. And rather than drive myself, I'll be arranging a ride. From the passenger seat it will be easier to eat a sandwich, change into a dry shirt, and try to keep limber.
I have no illusions about maintaining a 7-minute pace in the 2nd wave, nor do I think that would be a wise strategy. My 2nd-wave goal simply is to maintain a reasonable pace (8:30ish) and enjoy socializing with other runners.
I've drafted a training plan that includes a long (13-20) mile Sunday run, a medium-paced 8-10 miler, and a couple 4-6 mile speed workouts each week. In March I'll be at the New Bedford, MA Half Marathon. I may try to run a few miles after that race's finish to gauge my readiness.
I look forward to seeing a lot of friends & acquaintances at The Half Marathon Unplugged. Each year the race has that air of awakening from winter hibernation. People you haven't seen in months arrive, and every local running group shows its colors.
'Til April 11, happy training!