I completed half marathon #7 in my 30 before 30 quest last Sunday, and boy oh boy, it was a hard one. I went in thinking I took too much time off after the Glass Slipper Challenge, because I only started running again less than a week before this race. And honestly, it’s taken me so long to write this recap because I’m still sore. Them hills are a killer.
Up until two nights before the race, I was thinking it was a relatively flat course, with only a few bridge hills. And then a friend informed me that no, it was very hilly and would be really hard. I’ve driven the main road of the course hundreds of times before and not once did i realize that it wasn’t flat. I thought I was screwed because I loathe running up hills.
The day before the race, we found out that they had to close part of the course because the Ohio River is INSANELY flooded right now (like, the most flooded it has been in over 20 years). There wasn’t enough time for them to get a permit for us to run on any other roads, so we were going to have to run part of the course twice. The already hilly course just got hillier.
Race morning rolls around and although I slept like crap, I feel pretty good. I took my pre-race drug concoction of two pepto and two aleve which worked out really well for me during the glass slipper challenge. My friends and I drove downtown and walked to the start line. They’re a lot faster than I am, so once the race started, they sped off and I maintained my 12 minute mile pace.
No shock that the first mile was my fastest at 11:29. It included a pretty significant downhill portion, and my first mile is usually my fastest. Around the first water stop, I was trying to speed walk and take my throw-away sweatshirt off, and somehow messed up my headphones. After panicking until mile 2 that I would have to finish this with no music, I realized I just turned down the volume all the way. ha oops. (no shock that my second mile was my slowest while I tried to figure this out)
Now, the “new” race course included an out and back INSIDE the already out and back course. We basically ran miles 1-4 out the same road, turned around and ran back to mile 6, then turned BACK around and ran the same road back to the original turn around. It got really crowded once the fast people were turning around at mile 6 and trying to run with the slow people like me. Granted, this was the only way it could be done, but it was just messy. Not to mention my miles 6-8 were running straight into the sun. Not fun.
My goal time for this race was 2:45, and I crossed the finish line in 2:42:11. I was SO excited about my new PR… until I realized I would likely be in the bottom of my division, and the entire race for that matter. I ran a 2:47 at the Princess and was in the top 25% of my age group, and here I run a better time and I finish in the bottom 10 of my division. I mean, the Princess has at least 10 times more runners, and picture and character stops, etc. But, I was a little bummed that my “great” time really wasn’t that great. At least I’m getting faster.
All that being said, I will not be running this race again. The course was tough, crowd support was practically non-existent, and it was seriously disorganized. Granted, part of that is because of extenuating circumstances surrounding the flooding. But regardless. There weren’t even mile markers after mile 4. Can’t blame the flood for that . Unless they were washed away by the river, in which case, go buy some poster board and make some signs. Not to mention there were no photographers and the medal is probably my least favorite of the 7 I have so far.
I have half #8 coming up in a few weeks, and I’m training to finish in under 2:30 so I can submit a better proof of time for the Disney Wine and Dine in November (which will be half #10!!!).