Coach Brian had me scheduled to do 17 miles today, but the Runners Choice marathon training group was going to do the Springbank Half Marathon in preparation for the Corning Marathon in 3 weeks. John Ferguson, the legend, wanted everyone to "race" it -- not just use it as a marathon pace run. But Coach said that since I was still 8 weeks out from the marathon, running it as a pace run would be a good idea. To put an added twist, though, he wanted me to do 4 warmup miles before the race.
As usual, Coach was right. The run wasn't the easiest -- lots of little hills that ripped apart your quads -- but I managed to beat my target pace by a second or two pretty much every kilometre. And with 4 kilometres to go, I tried to step it up a bit. While keeping at a 4:52/k marathon pace would have had me cross the finish in 1:42:36, I managed to pull off a 1:41:23. And with the last kilometre basically uphill, that was no small feat. This was my 3rd fastest half marathon time, the other two being the Forest City Half (1:40:18 in 2009 -- 2 weeks after Boston) and the 2008 Canada Day run (1:39:43 -- although that route may have been 200 - 300 metres too short).
So, I would say my conditioning is definitely improving. Perhaps not quite as good as I was last year for Boston, but definitely getting close. Brian said I can put this one in the books as another successful run!