Happy to say I have completed another successful half marathon! I was really happy with my race, especially considering how little I have been able to run lately. I'm also impressed that I managed a 1:30 race without much of a warm-up. If I'm able to pull a 1:30 when I'm not in top shape, and without being adequately prepared, what will I be able to do when I get back into a normal training schedule?!
Thanks to the awesome generosity of a good friend, I did not have to do any of the driving on this trip. The trip was about 5.5 hours each way, so this was much appreciated, especially on the return trip, as I am never able to stay awake after a race. Of course, it was also nice to have a friend along just because travelling is more fun with someone to hang out with!
My hotel was right in downtown, which was really convenient. Packet pick up was also at my hotel, so I got to check in, and then turn around, walk 10 feet, and pick up my number. I loved the convenience of that. And since the hotel was in downtown, (and it was warm out!) we got to walk to dinner. We went to The Flying Pie, which was a really awesome restaurant. I highly recommend it if you ever happen to be in the area. The furniture was all old mismatched tables, chairs, and booths in a variety of colors, and there were funny art prints on the walls. They had a good selection of local beers, so I got to try a new stout by R.J. Rockers Brewery, and it was quite tasty. For dinner, I had a delicious plateful of seafood pasta. And then we went back the next day after the race and I had a delicious bacon cheeseburger with mushrooms and onions and avocado on top. After dinner, we stopped at a local bar on the way back to the hotel for a pre-race whiskey. I was disappointed to find out that smoking is still allowed inside in SC, but luckily the bar was pretty empty and it wasn't too disgustingly smoky...
The weather on Saturday could not have been more perfect for a half marathon. It wasn't too warm or too cold, and there was a light breeze that was strong enough to feel good, but not strong enough to be a nuisance. I wasn't sure how much I wanted to warm up, because I'm trying to beat up my foot as little as possible, but the problem was solved for me by the long line at the bathroom. By the time I got outta there, I had just enough time to take off my sweats and jog to the starting line. I started out in the front pack of runners, and settled into a comfortable pace that soon had the fast pack leaving me behind, but I was still in front of the next pack. I spent the rest of the race pretty much alone. There were runners in sight ahead of me, but we were pretty spread out. Occasionally someone would pass me. I didn't pass anyone until the last few miles. I was second place female for the entire race. First place was way out of my league, and I never had any idea how far behind third place was. (Turns out, third place was 6 minutes behind me)
Overall, the race was too flat for my tastes, but there were a few small hills that helped break up the monotony of the flat. There were also some very long straight stretches that I was surprised to survive without too much agony. My foot didn't bother me too much until a downhill somewhere around mile 6 that beat it up a little too much. Thankfully it never hurt enough to slow me down. The biggest hill of the course was in the last mile. It was the only "real" hill in my hill-snob opinion. It was pretty long, decently steep, and I loved it. Once I got to the top of it, I started really pushing for the finish, and gaining on the people in front of me. After the final turn to the finish, I tried to pass the person in front of me. He sped up when I got next to him, and he ended up finishing right in front of me.
There weren't any clocks on the course, and I didn't run with a watch, so I had absolutely no idea how I was doing time-wise until I came around the last corner to the finish and saw that the clock was around 1:30. I was really happy to see that I had been able to run that kind of a time without having too much trouble breathing.
final sprint to the finish
I've got a few weeks until my next race, and I'm going to try to do as much cross-training as possible so that I can keep my lungs strong without putting too much strain on my foot. My bike is getting tuned up now, and should be ready to ride this week. But...it's supposed to be cold again this week so I don't know if I will be disciplined enough to actually get on the bike. I might have to get to a gym and do some rowing instead.