Today I ran my first half marathon, the Surftown Half Marathon and it was GREAT!
Yesterday afternoon I picked up my race packet which came with a very nice technical shirt, a bag and a bib. I got number 676. I could have picked it up this morning before the race but I was in the area and figured it would be one less thing to worry about. Last night I got all my stuff together and ready to go. I set my alarm for 4:45 since I wanted to leave by 6:00 and get there about 6:45 and the roads were going to close at 7:00. Start time was 7:30 and it would give my time to warm up and stretch out. I didn’t get to bed until about 10:30, later than I wanted but figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. I woke up at 4:45 and before I got out of bed it all of a sudden was 5:20. Still plenty of time though. Luckily, I had everything ready to go. I got up, got ready and had some water and a breakfast bar. Walked the dog and got my daughter Melissa who is my support team. Out the door at 6:10 with plenty of time. at about 6:40 with 8 minutes to go I hit traffic. Bumper to bumper traffic. Great! I have 20 minutes until the roads close. So slow! The intersection where the street was going to close was three cars away and the light turned red. Then green and it is 7:00. Road Closed! Now what? So I go in the direction we were being redirected and my awesome daughter found a back way to the parking lot. Luckily, the roads were not closed and we made it at about 7:10 with a long line of cars behind us. I actually think we made it faster than if we would have stayed in the traffic, so it worked out. I was pretty nervous about making it at all though. I’m really glad I got my race packet the day before. There were people running to get theirs.
I jogged a bit to warm up and made it to the starting area in time for them to call the runners up. I found the 2:30 pacer and fell in behind him. My fastest half during training was 2:24. I had decided to not bring my phone since I wanted to see how I would do without it in a race. I also didn’t bring my water bottle. The race started a little late I think. It might have been because of the traffic problems, which was nice of the race officials. I say I think because I didn’t bring a watch either.
Once the race started, I started to run but being in the back of the pack, I quickly realized I needed to walk. By the time I got to the starting line, about a minute had passed. As there were race clocks along the route, I knew I could take a minute off each one. I started off just running an easy pace not wanting to get caught up in the excitement and go out too fast too early.
The crowd started thinning out pretty quickly and I fell into a comfortable pace. At the 1 mile marker the race clock said 11:07 which I knew for me was about 10:07. I passed the 2:30 pacer a little after that. There were water stations about every 2 miles or so water and Gatorade was no problem. There was one station that had GU at about mile 7 which was OK since I bought 2 with me.
At about mile 3, I was still feeling really good so I decided to pick up the pace a bit. Before I hit mile 4, I was passing the 2:15 pacer but still feeling really good. My knees were great and my feet were too. I kept that pace and realized I was slowly passing more and more people. I felt really encouraged about that but resisted just taking off. I really had no idea how fast I was going since I didn’t have my phone or a watch. I did take time to walk through every water station which is something I read about and I feel it worked out well for me. It was easy for me to catch up to where I was in the pack and I gave me time to drink a whole cup of water and Gatorade at each stop. I highly recommend this method.
At mile 5, the race clock said 50:12 which was 49:12 or so for me, a little under 10 min/mi, really good for me. I guess training exclusively on hills and then running on a basically flat course paid off. This is when I took my first GU.
At the halfway point I was still feeling great and hit it at 1:03:54.
Great pictures by my support team, Melissa! The second half was a little more hilly. But they were not bad at all. It was a beautiful neighborhood with lots of shade. Good thing since I chose to wear my long sleeves. I was afraid 48 degrees and the ocean breeze would be too cold. It was pretty chilly but it warmed up. At about mile 8 I still had a lot left so I really picked up the pace. Nice long strides and passing more and more people. It felt really good and I was in a nice rhythm. I took my second GU at mile 9.
At about mile 10 there were 2 rather steep hills in a row but they were short. I just powered up them, passing a lot of people and hearing cheers of encouragement. Once it leveled out, I caught my breath for about a quarter mile and the resumed my previous pace which I was judging by effort. The last water station was at about 11.5 miles. I walked through it, got a drink of water and Gatorade, and the took off. I picked up the pace again and really felt like I was moving. I was getting tired running this pace but knew I only had a little over a mile left.
With the finish in sight, I really started to kick it! The cheers and the applause were great and very motivating during that last 400 yards. Crossing the finish line was the best feeling! YAHOO!
The is my first PR and it was also a personal best. I actually set three PBs on the run.
I really felt great after this race. Knees, feet, legs, all good. I guess a half marathon late into your full marathon training plan works out pretty good.
The medal is really nice and it is like a sun catcher or stained glass.
This was a good race with great volunteers. It was well organized and had plenty of water stations.
Next month, the Hartford Marathon!