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Half Marathon Peak Performance

Peak Performance Half Marathon St Pete Run Fest 2022

On November 13, 2022, at 6:59 AM, the sun rises as I stand ready to run a peak performance at the St Pete Run Fest half marathon. The ground is dry, but the Florida humidity is 100%. At 70 degrees, I feel comfortable wearing running shorts and a compression t-shirt.

Half Marathon Start

I stand near the front of the half marathon starting corral. Looking around, I see thousands of runners ready to run this 13.1-mile race. Then we start racing West on Dali Blvd in St Petersburg, FL, with the sun to our backs.

Passing the start line, I press the start button on my Garmin watch. My half marathon RacePro Plan has 13 negative split times. The race plan is to start at a slower pace of 8:28/mi. Then progress to a faster 8:10/mi pace. Finally, the goal is to finish with a time of 1:49:00.

At the start, my running pace peaks at 7:18 minutes per mile. Checking my Garmin watch, I see my pace is faster than planned. So, I slow down and let the overly excited runners pass me.

My first-mile average pace is 8:19 (9 seconds faster than planned). Also, my average heart rate is 138 bpm (the lowest in the race) and 80% of my max heart rate.

Hydration at Aid Stations

I plan to slow down or stop at aid stations for most of the half marathon. Based on my Garmin watch cadence data, I hydrated with water and Gatorade at the following distance and times:

  • 1.76 miles at 15:02 – I walked
  • 3.20 miles at 27:03 – I walked
  • 4.84 miles at 40:53 – I walked
  • 6.71 miles at 56:27 – I stopped
  • 7.83 miles at 1:05:36 – I stopped
  • 8.79 miles at 1:13:48 – I stopped

For the first five aid stations, I have the energy to speed up and regain my pace for a 1-hour and 49-minute finish. Then, around 8.6 miles, I see the lead male runner pass me in the opposite direction. He looks tall, lean, and running strong.

Energy Gels

I had taken my first Spring Energy Hill Aid gel 15-minutes before the start. My fueling plan is to consume gels during the race at 25-minutes, 50-minutes, and 1 hour and 15-minutes.

At 30-minutes, I eat my second gel. Passing mile 4, we run under a bridge, and a drum band plays music. I consume the next gel at 50-minutes. Then, past mile 6, I run to the far left side of the street to toss my empty gel in a trash can.

Consequently, I pick up my pace and run back to the right side of the street. I just increased my race distance and expended energy in the process. Next time, I’ll drop it on the ground.

At mile 9, I don’t feel like taking my last energy gel, but I eat it anyway. The caffeine in these gels will accumulate and give me the energy I need.

Through Pouring Rain

Running on North Shore Drive, looking down this long straight road, I see dark storm clouds in the sky. “Bring it on!” I say, “Cold rain will cool me down.” I feel a few cold drops.

After mile 9, I realize a sub-1:50 will not be possible today. If I push the pace, my heart rate will elevate much higher than my threshold (153 bpm). Then, I will likely hit the wall and have to slow down before 13.1 miles. Consequently, I slow my pace slightly to lower my heart rate.

At mile 10, the rain pours down. It’s cold, and it quickly cools me down. As a result, my heart rate lowers to 144 bpm, and my clothes are soaking wet.

The windy rain blows hard into my face, and I can’t see. As I reach the turn-around circle, I run through puddles of water. My water-soaked shoes and socks become heavier as I splash through puddles. The pouring rain blinds me, slowing my pace and heart rate.

Running over a bridge, I make swimming motions with my arms and swim through the rain. Passing mile 11, I only have 1.1 miles left, and on pace to finish sub-1-hour and 51 minutes.

Half Marathon Peak Performances

During this St Pete Run Fest half marathon, I achieved seven #1 peak performances.

Peak Pace by Distance

I ran my fastest 5 miles in 41:29, 10K in 51:40, 10 miles in 1:23:50, and half-marathon in 1:50:16. My peak paces by distance are as follows:

  • 5 miles at 8:18 min/mi (5:09 min/km) pace from miles 3 to 8
  • 10 km at 8:19 min/mi (5:10 min/km) pace from 1.8 miles to 8 miles
  • 15K and 10 miles at 8:23 min/mi (5:12 min/km) pace in the last ten miles
  • Half marathon at 8:25 min/mi (5:13 min/km) pace

Peak (Threshold) Heart Rates

  • 60-minute heart rate 153 bpm from 44:21 to 1:44:21
  • 90-minute heart rate 152 bpm from 20:17 to 1:51:17
Brian Kondas Running St Pete Run Fest Half Marathon

Based on my Garmin watch, my peak half marathon performance for 13.1 miles is 1:50:16. My total race distance from start to finish is 13.2 miles, and my official half marathon time is 1:51:12.

I ran an all-out effort and achieved a new half-marathon personal record (PR). 9-and-1/2 months ago, I gave birth to my last sub-2-hour half marathon PR. Now, I have officially beaten my old record by 59 seconds. 

Read about my PR victory and compare my Garmin’s planned paces with actual paces.


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