I have been contemplating how to write this all morning, theoretically it should be easy just post what I did- Bam! Done! That would be easy except there is much about this race that I want to editorialize, so I am going to try to give that it's own spot at the end.
Pre-Race: Up at an unGodly hour to shower, bath in BodyGlide, shave, and make the drive. For breakfast I had two pieces of wheat toast with peanut butter and honey. On one of them I placed banana slices. I thought I would try this for the first time on just one slice. It was great and I admit I stole it from someone else's blog. (Kovas, I think).
I am never amused to be out of bed this early
Got out of the house making perfect time to make the 35 minute drive and have 30 minutes to grab my packet (issue 2) and warm up (issue 2.5?). I came out of the house poised for the high 20's like the last time I left this early and was met by a startling discovery. It was 48 degrees outside. This run was not going to be as cold as planned. Knowing that it was going to be slightly, but not that warm, I had altered my clothing plan to include shorts, compression shirt, tech tee, calf sleeves, cut off tube sock arm warmers, and a hat. Thank you everyone for your advice and I learned I should invest in a long sleeve tech tee and a vest for the future. As I got there I found a parking spot (issue 1) and made it pick up and then the starting line.
Thank you Fleet Feet Sports
of Huntersville for the hat!!
Goal: Sub 2 hours- around 9:09 mile pace.
The Race: The turnout for the half marathon did not seem all that large, but there was variable mix of college long distance runner in school singlets to walkers. I guess I fall in the rear third of the participant scale. The race started 10 minutes late and once we started the course was two laps going through store parking lots, behind stores, through an apartment parking lot, a service road, and a mile or two of residential street. I started the first mile by running slower than my pace as a warm up. There was a port-o-potty at the first aid station as as we approached the guy in front of me ran to it. I decided to not take water and get to the next one. At aid station 2 I took my bathroom break and looked forward to taking water at the next station.
At the end of mile 4 or 5 the course made a right turn, at the same time the 5k course made a left turn and our courses became 1. This was a cluster. At my pace I ended up in the middle of the kids and stroller joggers. I pushed my pace to get past them and once I was past them the speed of the runners in front of them sucked me in and carried me a little faster than I had been moving. The last mile and a half of the loop was a decent size hill. At the end of the loop we had to enter the chute with the 5k runners and as they stopped in front of us we were supposed to keep going.
The second loop contained an out and back that the first loop did not contain and you could here many runners discussing why we didn't run this the first time. Through this loop I maintained an even pace and learned discovered that you can not use other runners to guage your pace this late. I realized that the other runners were slowing down. I picked off every runner in front of me for the rest of the race until I no longer had any in front of me I could see.
In the end I only had three miles below my target pace-my warm up mile, my potty break mile, and the end of the first lap with the 5k runner obstacle course. In fact, these were the only miles over 9:00 and I had a fastest mile of 8:40. I walked through (as planned) 5 aid stations in total (issue 3).
Note: Forgot about this from the original post- It did start raining in my ninth mile and by the time I was done and back to the car the temp had dropped 5 degrees. Also, I wrote I picked people off during the race, except for a guy who sprinted past me in the chute I was passed no other time and I even finished 2 minutes before the people who were in front of me at my bathroom break (It was three LOUD college freshman I could not forget them)
OVERALL TIME: ??????? See issue 4
Post Race: On site- I walked it off for a minute and had a granola bar and two cups of water (issue 5). When done I stretched and remembered to stop the Garmin. At this point it read 1:37 and only 11 miles. Once home- Ice bath and compression tights.
Post Post Race- Thanksgiving food and a trip to the movies to see Harry Potter.
Thoughts: I had a good time in general despite the issues. I am happy that for the most part I kept a steady pace and ran faster than my planned pace without issue. It actually felt good. I almost feel like I could have run faster, I didn't feel bad at the finish like I do when I run hard. I need to figure out what to do to break that plateau.
Issue 1: I arrived with time to spare to discover that all of the parking was taking (odd since I was in the first race), so was all the parking at the shopping center on the other side of the road, and the adjacent shopping center. I ended up parking over a half mile away at the Michael Waltrip Racing Headquarters. Luckily on the walk over I noticed a port-a-potty on the course.
Issue 2: Once there I spent 20 minutes in line to pic up my packet. It moved at a snail pace and there was no organization. Once I got it I had 7 minutes till race time.
Issue 2.5: I anticipate having to use the bathroom again (and I did have to) so I RAN to the bathroom. There were multiple lines with about 20 people a piece to get to the bathrooms. I asked the guy in front how long he had been waiting and he said 10 minutes. I decided to go back to the starting line and catch the first one I could on the course. This also didn't leave time for a warm up- good thing I was able to walk from my car for a warm up.
Issue 3: During the race their was only water on the course and they only put about half an inch in the cup. The race site said it would have on course advocare brand nutrition and there was none. Luckily, I did bring my own gel flask.
Issue 4: When I got to the finish the clock was set to the 5k finish time, I was not listed on the preliminary results, and I was not listed on the results today. I emailed the company Epic Sports Marketing and they returned an email to me with directions on where to find the results. I again emailed them that I know where to find them, I am just not on them.
Issue 5: When we got done there was only granola bars and water, I think running a race of this distance deserves something a little more substantial. Then again, for all I know they may have had it earlier and the other racers ate everything.