The 13th Annual BAA Half Marathon was held back on October 13, 2013. With so many thirteens in that last sentence, it seems it would be an unlucky event. Not for Katie Matthews, who pretty much nailed it on her first attempt at the distance. Katie, who ran for BU and now runs for Saucony, ran a 1:14:29. That earned her a 6th place finish amongst the ultra competitive elite women’s field and also 28th overall. Most importantly, Katie earned the “B” standard for the 2016 Olympic Trials marathon.
What did you think of your first half marathon?
My first impressions of the half marathon are that it is a lot more tiring and uses less strategy than a 10k and doesn’t really call up any speed like in a 5k…it basically felt like a tempo run that was never going to end but with really long hills in there too. It was fun though because it’s less “intense” than a shorter race and it draws on different aspects of training such as mental strength and sustained focus. I think that these longer distances are where my future in this sport will veer towards, but I still want to get in some fast 5ks, 10ks, and maybe another 3k even in the next few years. The B.A.A. Half was such a fun event and I loved being able to run my first one right here where I live and am familiar with the area…although I had no idea we ran through the dirt paths in the zoo at the end, that was a surprise!
Was a trials qualifier one of the goals? is the marathon next?
I didn’t know that runners could qualify for the marathon Olympic trials in a half marathon, nor did I know that I even had the qualifier until I read it on Twitter later that day. So it wasn’t my goal at all. My goal was just to finish the race! (Only slightly kidding!) I missed one of my best friend’s birthday parties the night before the race so I was going to be really upset if I missed going out for nothing! I don’t have any marathons planned but hopefully in the future I will try one. The majority of the advice I have been given from my coach and experienced elite marathoners is to be patient in waiting a few years to tackle that beast. I think that I have a LOT of work to do before I could run a fast marathon and recover from it healthily.
How far into the race did the leaders start making moves?
If you consider Kim Smith’s 4:45ish first mile “moving” then the leaders started making moves in the first mile! I ran with Kristen for the first 6 miles are so, and we came through about 4:58 which was still fast. The leaders were a good bit ahead of us by mile 4 or so. At the 6th mile she told me she was going after the runner ahead of us so that is when I was more or less alone from the women and ran with a few of the guys around me which helped me out.
What do you feel you need to work on most after this race?
Finishing this race was a wake up call for just how much I still have to work on. For example, I was hesitant to go with Kristen at that 6 mile mark because I didn’t know what the end of such a long race was going to feel like and how badly the hills would affect me. I am going to start introducing some longer workouts into my training and maybe some long runs. I decided to run the half marathon about 2 weeks before the race, so I did a few 13-14 mile runs/workouts in those weeks but I don’t typically run that many miles in one run. I don’t feel like I have that sustained strength yet that is so necessary in these races, I was so tired at the end! I want to be able to run the entire race at a faster pace and then still finish strongly and competitively. Also, I should run up more hills on a regular basis…those were killer.
The .US champs in Alexandria, VA (12k Champs) and then the Manchester Road Race which I run every year since it is local to my home in CT. Then I’m pretty sure I will be getting back on the indoor track come winter.
If you hadn’t seen it, this is the interview we did with Katie and Rich Peters after New England’s a couple of weeks ago, on the eve of her half debut: