Monday, November 4, 2013

half marathon recap 4.0: City of Oaks Half Marathon

I traveled to Raleigh this past weekend to run the City of Oaks Half Marathon with my friend Michelle.

We arrived Saturday night, picked up our packets, drove the course, and went to stay with some of her friends from graduate school.  Whoever thought to plan a race on the Sunday of Fall Daylight Savings Time was a genius!  Even though I never sleep well the night before a race, it was wonderful to have that extra hour of sleep.

We got up early Sunday morning and drove from Apex/Cary to NC State and found a parking spot at Cameron Village.  Then we walked to the starting line near the Bell Tower.  The sun was just starting to rise and it was so pretty.

We had about 35 or 40 minutes to wait until the start of the race so we walked up and down Hillsborough Street to stay warm. It was 42 degrees outside!  I'm an NC State grad so it was so much fun to be back on campus after being away for so many years and it really wasn't that crowded at the starting line.

There were pace corrals and we got in the 11:00/mile space.  You can't tell it from these pictures, but it was really spread out.  With almost 6000 people there, it was nice to not feel like people were on top of each other.

This was a hard race.  Let me just give you a small snapshot of the elevation profile of the course. It made me wonder why I'm signing up to do my first full marathon on some the same streets in Raleigh.

The first two miles were downhill and we both struggle with going out too fast so we knew we were going to have to hold back.  It was frustrating though, because there were a ton of people doing the Galloway walk/run method and they would get in front of us and then stop suddenly so we'd have to keep going around.

We finished the first half just seconds before the 1:10 mark.  Our first six miles we averaged about an 11:04 pace which we knew was a bit fast for us and I think we recognized that it was going to be difficult to negative split at this rate, but it felt OK so we kept going.

We saw/heard a drum line playing at the state capital.  We saw a group doing some Indian dancing in another area downtown.  Then before heading out of the commercial area we saw a fitness club that had moved their stationary bikes out onto the sidewalks to face the runners and they were cheering and yelling so hard for all of the racers.  It was so awesome.

Somewhere near the 9 mile mark it got harder. Michelle dropped back and we separated at about mile 9.5, from that point on in the race we kept alternating catching each other, passing each other, and catching back up to run together for a bit.  I think I first walked at about 10.5 miles which is most definitely the earliest time I have walked in a half marathon race.  In fact, I walked a good bit between mile 10.5 and 12. I think my mile 11 time was 12:39, by far my slowest mile.  I kept telling myself that I could PR if I just ran the rest of the way but I had the devil on one shoulder telling me to quit that the time didn't matter and the angel on the other telling me to just run it and get my best time.

With a little under two miles to go I could see Michelle ahead of me at the turn around point on Hillsborough Street and that kept me going since I wanted to catch her for the end.  Mile 11 was the absolute hardest, but for some reason mile 12 was better.  At mile 12 I was ready to run it on in and Michelle and I were back together.  We felt like we were sprinting at maximum effort and I think we could have made it across the finish line before 2:30 but I thought it was really important to cross the finish line together since we had traveled so far to get to this point together.

I don't know the official time yet, but I'm pretty sure we crossed the finish around the 2:31 mark, a personal record for Michelle and not far off of my Wrightsville Half time. [Edited to add: 2:31:13 official time.]

We ate Bruegger's soup, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, and Great Harvest Bread Company food at the finish. We both passed on the beer and pizza.  Michelle and I both said we hurt in places we'd never hurt before during this race. The hills caused some major pains in the butt (literally) and we both had hip pain down the front that we'd never really experienced.

I'm definitely satisfied with our effort and certainly pumped about being back on home turf for Mistletoe in four weeks.  Since Wrightsville is a flat course and Mistletoe is more hilly, I know I gained a lot of confidence in being a 2:30 pacer for Mistletoe as a result of this race and I think Michelle did too.  Michelle has become a great running buddy of mine and I was so happy to have her with me for this race.  I seriously can't wait to do it again in a few weeks!

my goofy race swag picture

1 comment:

Beth Cotell said...

Congrats on completing another half! And such a hilly one at that! I hope you have recovered.

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