Monday, May 21, 2012

Marine Corps Historic Half-Marathon Race Recap

Rockstar weekend is over (which means I'm back to doing the dishes, grrr...), but I'm still happy about my performance at the Marine Corps Historic Half-Marathon this past Sunday in Fredericksburg, VA.  I managed a 1:59:02 finish, which is a 12:58 faster PR than my previous HM finish at the Hershey Half last year (2:12:00).  I think I can run faster, though, and I look forward to training harder and trying for another HM PR in the fall.

As evidenced by previous race recaps, its really easy to blog about every. single. detail. of your race, even though it may be oh-so-tedious for your readers to read (or not read, which is probably the case).  Its also really easy to not want to blog about every. single. detail. of your race, because it is oh-so-tedious to type (or not type, as I was sorely tempted to skip this post).  For the sake of brevity, I'm going to adopt a race recap template (which I stole from Banana BuzzBomb, who stole it from RocTheRun) to highlight certain aspects of the race, so that we can all get on with our lives a good night's sleep.  (Not that detailed race reports aren't awesome.  To be honest, if I had the time and energy, I would probably write a novella about each race.  But me wants to sleep!)


This course was all road.  I thought it would be a mostly flat course, with a whopper of a hill at mile 10.  Turns out, its a fairly hilly course, with a whopper junior of a hill at mile 10.

The Weather:

The day started a bit chilly but comfortable with bright blue skies.  It obviously got hotter as the day went on, but I didn't think it was ever too hot.

Low Points:

I started WAY TOO FAST.  I passed the 5K point in 25:58, an 8:21m/m.  Thats awesome, but way too fast for me.  I knew I needed to dial it back, particularly with all the upcoming hills.  Also, I ran the early downhills strong, but a little too strong.  I was pretty winded between miles 4-6.  By the 15K point, I was running 8:50m/m, which is more my speed.  And then I hit Hospital Hill.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, but I did walk a portion of it because I knew there was another hill in mile 11.  I also walked a portion of that hill until I realized this was the last hill and I might as well give it all I got at this point!

High Points:

The spectators.  Fredericksburg really knows how to motivate its runners!  People were lined along almost all 13.1 miles, clapping, cheering, waving, handing out tequila jello shots (at mile 4.  I kid you not).  There were church choirs, school bands, real bands, and even a few quartets, plus a few groups dressed in Civil War-era garb.  But I think my favorite spectators were the kids, who eagerly held out their hands to high-five us as we ran by.  I'm a big advocate of thanking those who came out to cheer us, so I waved and clapped and high-fived back.  So fun!

But I think my greatest motivator (besides DJ Research and Nugget, of course) was the announcer at the finish line.  As I'm nearing the end, I hear the announcer yell over the (ridiculously loud) PA system: "RUNNERS!  IF YOU CAN HEAR ME, YOU HAVE THREE MINUTES TO MAKE IT UNDER 2:00 HOURS!  THREE MINUTES!!  YOU CAN DO IT!"  I had no idea I was so close.  Due to my fuzzy math skills, I thought I had an extra mile to go.  When I realized I was going to make it under 2 hours, tears sprang into my eyes and I started kicking hard.  I wanted to make sure I ABSOLUTELY finished under 2:00.  With 0:58 seconds to spare, I crossed the finish line.  I was so happy, I peed my pants.

PR happy!

The Marine Corps Historic Half-Marathon was fun and festive!  I recommend it as a first time half-marathon (just train for hills) because all the support really pumps you up.  Thank you to all the marines who helped as course marshals and who cheered us on.  And thank you to all the men and women in all branches of the armed forces for your service to our country!

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