Reflecting on this race, I think there is some serious truth to the idea that we perform much better than expected when we remove all expectations to begin with. As I mentioned, I signed up for this half at the last minute as an impromptu way to get a long run in for the weekend. I didn't have any concrete goals other than to finish and get to work on time. One of my goals for 2011, however, was to run a sub-2 hour half marathon at some point. I haven't been training specifically for this goal lately as my focus has been on longer, slower runs. I haven't done any speedwork and honestly I just didn't feel like I could hold a 9:09 pace for 13.1 miles.
So when I arrived in Davis Sunday morning, I had few expectations for myself. At the Urban Cow Half, where I set my previous PR, I did so by hanging on to the 2:05 pacer for dear life because I suck at pacing myself. The Davis Stampede had no pacers to speak of, so I took that as a sign that this would not be the day to hit my goal. Anyway, I made it to the start with just enough time to pick up my bib and use the bathroom before heading into the crowd of runners at the start line. A few minutes later we were off, meandering through the streets of downtown Davis. Despite living so close, I had actually never been to Davis before, so it was kind of fun to get a mini tour of it during the race. The first couple miles went by pretty fast and were just run on feel. But when I looked at my Garmin I saw that mile 1 clocked in at a 9:10 pace. The next couple miles were a bit faster, so I thought what the hell, let's see how long this can last!