I am also enjoying soooo much my strategy of just running a half every couple of months & seeing what happens as I continue to train & build mileage (err...sort of). I was incredibly happy with where I was at Oakland in March, and in the two months since then I still feel like I've made a ton of progress. I have never been one to get the "taper itch," and I still wouldn't describe it that way, but I'm definitely more excited about this race than I am about most. This has been one of those pre-race weeks where I've felt like a cooped up, high-strung thoroughbred.
Friends, I cannot. WAIT. To run.
If I am completely, totally honest with myself, I really do think I'm capable of a 1:40 right now given favorable conditions. Just barely, but I've been stunned by too many of my recent workouts (particularly my HM pace runs) to be all modest and humble and pretend I don't know what kind of shape I'm in. However, it's not clear how favorable conditions will actually be on Sunday:
(Late spring in wine country and all that. At least they're calling it partly cloudy now; earlier today it was just a big ol' sun.)
So I'm not "calling my shot" as it were (which is fine, considering the whole point of this just-run-a-bunch-of-halfs strategy was to avoid putting that kind of pressure on myself in any one race). Since we start at 8 and I'm planning to be done by 9:45 absolute worst case, the heat shouldn't be too bad, but I know I tend to run a tad warm, and once the sun comes up you just never know. All you can really do is show up as naked as your dignity will allow and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Barring issues from the heat, I do have a plan. In Oakland, my goal was to go out at around a 7:50 pace, stay there as long as I could, and speed up after the halfway point if I felt good. I wasn't able to speed up that much, but I definitely held a 7:45-7:50 pace no problem. This time around I'd like to try to start out around 7:45ish for the first mile or two, then see if I'm able to wind it down into the high 7:30s (which has been working well in my pace runs). If I'm feeling good with that around mile 9, I might try for the sub-1:40.
I am still tentatively planning on running the Healdsburg Half in October (put on by the same group), but slightly bummed that I won't be able to run Water to Wine in August & get the extra-special three-peat bottle of wine. (Though let's be honest; the last thing we need around here is another bottle of wine.) But the reason I can't do it is because we'll be road tripping / camping up the California / Oregon coast that week & weekend, so I can really only be so bummed about it. :)
To take its place, I'm seriously considering the Santa Rosa Half on 8/26. Yes, another warmish wine country race, but it turns out there aren't a whole lot of options in that time frame. At least it's flat, and from all reports relatively well-run & -organized.
In the mean time, if you're one of those bloggers that gets all uppity about what other runners wear and have strong opinions about what is decent and proper, you may just want to sit this race report out. I think we're probably looking at Bad Bass levels of nakedness. Which is to say not full-on Bay to Breakers levels, but...y'know. There will be booty shorts.