Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Race #19 - First Day of Winter Half Marathon

After injuring my knee about a month ago, I've only done a handful of miles, so I wasn't sure how this race was going to go, but my hotel was non-refundable, I needed this race to "moon up" in Half Fanatics (6 halfs in 6 months!) and I wanted to check Ohio off my list of states, so I decided I would wing it, see how things went and just not push myself too hard. It was a lot colder than I am used to (low 30’s) and the night before the race I kept laying out different options for what to wear – I didn’t want to be too hot, but I certainly didn’t want to get too cold either. I settled on an Under Armor mock turtle neck under my long sleeve Santa shirt (courtesy of the Santa Hustle half marathon last year), coupled with long running pants, gloves, my Ragnar headband and a hand warmer to keep me warm while I waited at the start line (and eventually during my final lap after having to do some walking during lap 6).

Since it was a small field of runners (111 total finishers for the 50k, marathon and half marathon combined), I stayed in my car until about 10 minutes before the race was about to start and then meandered down to the pavilion where all of the runners were meeting for a debrief before we got started. The laps were a little less than 2 miles each, so runners in the 3 distances started in different directions, with the half marathoners heading on short walk to our starting line, which was conveniently next to a mailbox which also served as the unicorn crossing area. Once the volunteer who took us to the start line radioed back to those at the pavilion that we were ready, the firecracker went off and we started our race. It didn't take too long for the speedy folks in the other 2 races to catch up with me and it was a nice experience to be able to see the runners who were running so effortlessly again and again in the race (I got lapped at least 3 times by the lead guys and at least twice by the lead women). My favorite was a guy whose shirt said "You just got geezered" - he passed me twice before I finished. He said his daughter made the shirt for him after he kept beating her in races and she said she was tired of being geezered. It definitely got a laugh out of a few of the other participants as he told that story.

I probably started off a bit too fast, but I was feeling good, so I really just ran by feel and didn't pay too much attention to my pace, but I did follow the 4:1 running / walking ratio. There were a lot of fun signs  
along the course even though there weren't really any people, but every 2 miles we got to see all the volunteers cheering, so it was enough to keep us going.
  • Mile 1 - 10:32
  • Mile 2 - 10:42
  • Mile 3 - 10:53
  • Mile 4 - 11:07
  • Mile 5 - 11:50
  • Mile 6 - 11:36
  • Mile 7 - 11:05
  • Mile 8 - 11:33
  • Mile 9 - 12:24
  • Mile 10 - 11:47
  • Mile 11 - 14:01
  • Mile 12 - 15:45
  • Mile 13 - 12:35
  • Last .44 - 12:39
Average pace: 12:02
Official time: 2:41:24

The course itself was fairly flat and technically a trail race, but the trail was very wide and in spots went through a field, basically following the property line of Riverside Park. This was my first time doing a loop course and it was actually pretty fun - it was great to see the same runners over and over again and everyone was very encouraging. I've been contemplating doing a race (let's be honest, several races) with the Mainly Marathons series and this was the perfect introduction into that world without having to commit to 5 days in a row only to realize I hated it! 

All finishers received a Asics finisher's jacket (specific to the race they ran) and a cedar stamped finisher's medal, plus those who finished top 3 in their age group got hand made bird feeders. Overall, I really liked this race and with the exception of the cold weather, it was a pretty perfect day. I was concerned about how my knee would hold up since my longest run since hyperextending it was 6 miles, but I didn't have any issues beyond my normal IT band pain (had to walk all of the short downhill portions after lap 3) and the only other issue I had was making the rookie mistake of taking some Gatorade after lap 5 which caused some stomach distress in lap 6, but after a quick pit stop, I was back to running for the final lap. After I warmed up a bit back in my hotel, iced my knee and took a quick nap, I felt good enough to go wander around the town a bit as the sun was setting. More pictures to come of the rest of my tour of Portsmouth!

Have you ever done a looped course like this? Did you get any races or running in over the holidays? Have a great New Years!

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