This is the second Sunday in a row that I have been awake before 4:30am, and both for a particular reason. Last Sunday, I was up in preparation of the City of Oaks Half-Marathon. I ran the 10k in 2012 and earned a PR. This year, I wanted to take it up one step and add the additional (almost) seven miles.
In the last two weeks, post-engagement, my running training fell by the wayside. I believe I squeezed in just two longer runs, with the longest only reaching six miles. But, I felt strong thanks to Bootcamp and Cardio Intervals via the YMCA. So, I went into last Sunday’s race with no expectation of besting my RunRaleigh time. I also did not have my best friend and motivation at the finish line for this race: Aaron was in Missouri for the Tennessee football game, so this was my first race in some time flying absolutely solo.
It was a beautiful morning for a run: crisp and cool. There was good energy at the starting line – a lot of first time half-marathoners and marathoners. There were several more pacing groups for this race, which ended up being my saving grace since I did not befriend anyone on the course as opposed to my RunRaleigh experience.
Now, I knew this was going to be a hilly course – but it definitely took my breath away near the end (really? Another incline??) I heard through the grapevine that the last few miles of the marathon course were brutal. That definitely does not spark my interest of adding another 13.1 miles for this particular race.
I hoofed the first mile to try and break from the swarm of humanity that engulfed the front part of the race. I found it a little overwhelming at times although it did improve after about mile three or four. Keeping my eyes peeled, I sought out the 1:45 pace group after mile two and did my best to maintain that effort. Compared to RunRaleigh, I wasn’t feeling quite as on as I had, but I did bring Goo with me for this race since I had felt wimpy around mile 9.
Sticking with the pace group. we winded our way through downtown Raleigh and made the journey back to the NC State/Cameron Village area. At about the 11.5 mile, I decided to take it up a notch and pushed out in front of the pace group (also trying to escape after I blurted out “Go Heels” upon discussing of the previous days State/Carolina game. Let’s just say that I was a lone…wolf.)
I smile as I saw the last of the course was downhill, and I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 1:44:12 – beating my previous best just a few weeks before! Without the pacers, I would not have been able to keep up that effort, so a big shout out to them!
Sadly, no photos for this race, which after viewing the professionals photos taken, no one is missing anything. How do people take good race photos? I always look like I’m one step away from collapsing.
This was my last race for 2013! Looking ahead to 2014, there are a lot of options on the table. Bull City Running announced the new Merge 25k, which is a point-to-point course from Chapel Hill to Merge Records’ downtown Durham location. I think that will be a must try for me.
What races do you have on your radar for the rest of 2013/beginning 2014?