Posted by: rl4man | September 16, 2011

Better Late Than Never 1/2 Marathon Race Report

OK, so it’s been just about 2 weeks since I ran the Soaring Eagle Runs Half Marathon in Bowling Green. At first I thought I got a PR, but then in looking back at my actual times, I was over the Toledo half time by 17 seconds. Oh so close! And I could have done it. My final Garmin time was 2:27:40. I’m going with that as my official time since they only used clock time at this race.

I wasn’t sure I really wanted to do this race knowing from past results that it’s a fast field. But it was a good benchmark for my upcoming fall races, so I finally bit the bullet and registered online the Monday of race week. So the week leading up to the event, I kept checking the weather forecast. It kept getting warmer and warmer. The day of the race ended up being beautiful for anything other than a 1/2 marathon. Starting in the upper 60’s, it climbed into the lower 80’s by the end.

The day before the race, I drove the course after I picked the boys up from school. Wow! Does 13.1 miles seem like a long distance! I was a little nervous to say the least. I hadn’t run more than 12 miles (and that with a break in the middle) since my last half marathon in April. I was glad I did, though since I knew where I was going the next day. We went to pick up the race packet and I was pleasantly surprised to see a nice tech shirt inside.

This race provided a lot for such a small price.

The next morning, I got there about a half hour early, parked, and then followed people into the BG fairgrounds and found the registration area. Kevin and the boys were staying home since it was so close and I know they would have been bored and hot–not a good combination for those guys, for sure! I watched the kids’ race and then just waited, trying not feel out of place until they started assembling everyone for the start out on the road. The starting horn went off and I got going at a nice, fairly easy pace. The first 6 miles were great. I was glad the beginning was on the completely unsheltered country roads. I kept most miles under 11:00, only one at 11:00, but as the sun got warmer and warmer, I started to struggle. By mile 8 I was really tiring. Miles 9-13 were so hard and my pace was slowing into the 12:00’s. I made the last turn into the fair grounds where we had to run around the track. It was so cruel to run in the blazing sun on a hot track about 3/4 of a mile around. I finally gave up and walked. Why when I was so close? I just couldn’t do it. But at the last 1/4 mile, I picked it up again and managed the sub-2:28 finish. I bet I could have PR’d if I hadn’t walked that little bit!

Micah took a picture of me when I got home.

I managed not to be last in my AG, but was still 13th out of 14. I was 136th out of 162 finishers and 29 people actually came in behind me. So it wasn’t completely embarrassing. Plus it was nice to still have lots of people hanging around for us slowpokes to cross the finish line. I suppose that’s the difference between a full marathon and a half–not as long to wait for the back of the pack.

One fun moment was when the lady was looking me up to record my finish position and time. She was glancing over a list and couldn’t find my name. I had to tell her to look in the 40-44 AG. She was looking in the 20’s! Of course I had sunglasses on, but it still made me feel good. 🙂

The medal was very nice, the Panera bagels and fruit (watermelon never tasted so good!) at the finish were good, the route was well-marked and mainly flat, and they had nice course support. Over all, a great, small, inexpensive ($28 for a week-of registration with no online processing fee!) half marathon that I may do again.

Next up: The Red, White & Blue 26.2 half marathon in two more weeks on Oct. 2. (So shouldn’t it be called the Red, White & Blue 13.1? I know, it doesn’t have the same “ring” to it!) My goal for this, if the weather cooperates, is to go for an 11:00 minute pace and finish in 2:24–and actually still have people at the finish line. I want to leave some room for possible improvement for the Columbus half marathon two weeks later. I managed to run 14 miles last week at an 11:32/mile pace average without completely wiping myself out. I guess that’s what cooler temps do for you. I’m trying not to push too hard on the long runs per studies that show long runs should be taken SLOWLY. This weekend I’m going for 15 miles. I figure these over-runs will train my body to think 13.1 miles is nothing and let me sustain a faster pace for longer. Makes sense, right? Right! (I’m starting to crave another marathon–maybe in 2013. Not sure 2012 would be a good idea.)

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