Tryon Half Marathon #1
NC Half Marathon #3
Half Marathon #19
Unlike the past two fall marathons, I decided to wait a few weeks before racing again. My poor performance at the Croft Half Marathon illustrated that well.
I first heard about this race via a post in the Greenville Track Club Facebook page. It was three weeks after MCM, enough time to recover and perhaps start rebuilding. It was also close enough to drive up the morning of, thus avoiding a hotel stay.
Through the whole saga with my knee and recovery from the marathon, both mentally and physically, I wondered if I would make it to this start line. I was not about to jeopardize my recovery by running a half marathon just because.
Thankfully, the past two weeks of training have gone really well. I knew that I wasn’t in half marathon PR shape but I also knew that I had enough in me to run a decent race. I have to admit though that my competitive drive is hard to deny. Any of the half marathons I ran this spring would have been fast enough to win my age group according to last year’s stats. (That’s a big plus to small races.)
The morning dawned gloomy and overcast with just a hint of chill. It sounds depressing but that’s actually pretty good weather. In my opinion, the temps were just a tad on the warm side of perfect.
Mom got some pre-race pictures, of course.
After a few minutes of instructions and the national anthem, we were off.
Before I describe my performance, I want to describe the course. First, it was not a certified course so the distances were a bit off. (My Garmin logged 12.95 but we were out in the boonies… .) I knew that going into the race so it didn’t really matter to me.
It was an out and back course, with 90% on hard packed dirt and gravel road. I loved the out and back format. Not only did it help me gauge where I was in the race, but I also got to see all the leaders (and other runners in front of me) pass by.
It also didn’t hurt that this was the most gorgeous course I have ever run. The only other course I can compare it to is New River. But this one was better, probably because it was fall and the leaves were beautiful.
The volunteers were also amazing. This was probably the best run, small half marathon that I’ve run. Water stops were all well manned. Packet pick up went seamlessly. (Great shirt!) Finish line and post race buffet (yes buffet!) were awesome.
Now to my performance.
I started off ambitiously wanting to see whether I had a low 1:5x:xx half marathon in me. As I sorted it out in my head (while running of course) I realized that I didn’t. I haven’t run a half marathon since Greer in April when I banged out my 3rd half marathon in as many months at an 8 min pace. I have, however, run two marathons since then focusing more on distance than pace.
I slowed a little and also decided not to look at the time on my Garmin. I did glance down at pace and distance several times but not my overall time.
I felt pretty good through the first 5-6 miles. Then we got close to the turn around point and the only “major hills” in the course. I definitely slowed down there and started thinking that I would just run to finish. (Side note: I had counted the women that had passed me and figured out that I was the 24th woman. I’m a numbers nerd so I wanted to keep that position.)
At this point three other women eventually passed me and I sort of lost my racing mojo. Miles 7-9 or 10 felt almost like a regular long run by myself, definitely lacking motivation. On top of that, around mile 8 my left knee cap started feeling like it did at the end of MCM. I’m not sure what it is or why it showed up today and not in any of my other runs. I pushed it aside and just concentrated on running a good rest of the race.
I’m not sure what brought my racing mojo back but somewhere after mile 10 I decided to see if I could pick off the three women in front of me. As the remaining miles ticked by I slowly reeled in the two closest bringing my position to 25. (That was my rough calculation. I had passed and been passed by a couple women earlier so I wasn’t sure.) The only woman left between me and lucky #24 was the girl in the orange shirt.
I wasn’t sure I had enough distance to reel her in. After the mile 12 marker I decided to go for it. I definitely didn’t run hard enough in the middle section because I had plenty left in the tank. We made the last turn and I could see that I was getting close to her but still wondered if I had enough distance.
With just over a tenth to go I did it! I couldn’t let up though because she was right on my heels. Plus, there was another girl in front of her and I thought it would be pretty cool if I could pass her too. I was gaining on her but then she poured on a sprint of her own.
Mom got some pretty good pictures of me at the finish, as usual.
I’m very pleased with that result, especially since I’m still in the recovery phase after MCM.
I loved this race and highly recommend it!