About 7 months ago I registered to run the Diva Half Marathon on Long Island.  This race has been on my radar screen for a few years but usually takes place the same day as my local half marathon (the Westchester Running Festival).  It’s hard to choose a race that requires a 45 minute drive to the start over one that starts about 3 miles from my house.  Last year I was a little disappointed in both the race shirt and the medal given for the Westchester Running Festival.  The race organizers raised the price of the race and then gave less nice shirts (cotton instead of tech from the previous year) and plastic medals (the previous year the medals were metal and had a spinning component).  I can honestly say that I don’t sign up for races *just* for nice race shirts and medals but there was such a change in quality at the same time as an increase in price.  So I decided, back in March, to try the Diva Half this year.

The Diva Half is a women’s race that takes place in various cities around the country.  The recent race in the D.C. area got poor reviews for an organizational point of view but was also an inaugural event.  The Long Island version seems to get good reviews.  The race celebrates Divas by handing out hot pink boas and tiaras on the course and then giving the finishers champagne and roses at the finish line.  Supposedly the medals are given out by attractive firemen.  It sounded like a fun race not too far from my hometown.

And then I signed up for the NYC Marathon and decided to attempt a time goal… Suddenly I find myself a few days away from running the Diva Half Marathon and exactly one month away from the NYC Marathon.  And I need to decide how to approach this Sunday’s race.

My half marathon PR is 2:25:41, or about 11:06 min/mile.  Last weekend I ran one mile repeats at 10:50 pace or faster and I did it 12 times.  I am very sure that I could PR this weekend’s race, and maybe by quite a bit. But I also know that I have another 20+ mile mega-run (my schedule actually calls for me to go beyond the marathon distance) that I will be doing in London, England.  And then 4 weeks from the Diva is my GOAL race – NYC Marathon.

Ego-wise it’s very tempting to go for a PR this weekend.  I hate the very concept of running a race at training pace instead of race pace.  Logically I understand that going for a PR might cost me my time-goal at NYC.  What to do?

Luckily I have an awesome e-coach, Jeff Galloway, who told me what to do.  His first email said to “take it easy” at this weekend’s race.  I had to email him back for clarification as to what “take it easy” meant.  He suggests 13 min/mile pace for the race (ugh, my slowest half marathon except as part of the Goofy) but then offered a different solution.  If I can stick to a run 20 sec/walk 30 sec ratio for the entire race, I can go faster than 13 min/mile.  It’s still a little frustrating for me to have to slow down but I hope I will keep my eye on the prize…