Runner’s World Half Marathon
October 18, 2015
Temp: Mid to high 30s and windy
I knew that my goal for the Runner’s World Half was to run at my marathon pace for the entire half marathon. Given that I was still coughing and had hardly run since mid September, I was a bit worried that even my planned marathon pace was going to be too much for this race. It was really chilly and windy and this race started away from the nice warm buildings and flushing bathrooms. I walked over with Heather and Jen and we did stop at the bathrooms on the way, but then we had to walk to the start line. (Yes, Runner’s World did spoil us with the other starts LOL).
I moved to the sign for a 2:30 finish because I figured that was a safe bet. I happened upon the pacer just as we were about to start and decided to run with her. Best.Decision.Ever!
Michelle was an awesome pacer. At the start it was her, me, and one other woman. We started at a slightly faster pace because the first part of the course was mostly flat (and the same could not be said about the rest LOL)
We managed to build about a one minute cushion in the first 3 miles – enough to be useful without taking out too much energy. I even ran most of the way up the first real hill and the all the way up the next small hill. Then the hills really began. Thanks to Michelle’s planning, we were able to walk the awful hip at mile 5.5 (and it was just as awful as it looks!) After that, I manage to run up all of the remaining uphills without too much difficulty.
Around mile 7 or so we started picking up additional runners in our group. I loved running at this pace because I could easily chat with everyone. Two of the runners were gunning for 2:30 PRs, so we all helped keep them on the pace that would get them there. As we neared the end, a few of us started pulling away from Michelle. She’d done her job perfectly: gotten us on pace without wearing us out and now it was time to bring it home. I ended up running one of the runners into the finish and she beat her goal by more than 2 minutes.
Woot! I think I like helping others PR even more than I like PRing (probably because I don’t have to push myself LOL). All in all, the Runner’s World Half was an awesome race and I could not have run it more perfectly. And boom! Hat Trick and Grand Slam done! (And as a bonus, this was my first half marathon in Pennsylvania, so state #24 done!)
- This was only the second time I’ve ever run with a pacer and Michelle ran the course perfectly.
- This was a huge confidence builder for me for Marine Corps Marathon. I knew I could maintain this pace for at least the first half.
- I love running with runners who are relatively new to the distance. It’s so exciting to see someone finish their first race of that distance or to reach a new PR.
- The hills. Did you see that elevation? It was just as hard as it looked.
- My quads. After 3 previous races (all with hills), my legs were pretty sore going into this one.
- I forgot to carry the fuel I’d packed. Luckily, I often run half marathons without fuel, so this didn’t end up being too much of a problem.
- The wind. I was afraid my Brooks jacket would be too much and I contemplated taking it off several times, but then we’d turn into the wind and I’d zip it right back up.
- The drive home. Four + hours in the car after a weekend with four races meant I was pretty tight when I got out of the car.
That’s right – there are no uglies related to the actual race.
When Runner’s World reached out to me and invited me to the event, there was no way I wasn’t going. I mean, RUNNER’S WORLD! But I was more than a little bit nervous about the races, given the bronchitis and my hip. Turns out my body decided to cooperate. I’m so happy that it did as the races were awesome. Other than Mainly Marathons (which are super small and intimate), I’ve never had such consistently good experiences with races. If I had one complaint, it would be the hills. But, umm, pretty sure there’s nothing they can do about that.
Would I run it again? Yes. I may run it again next year even if I’m not a guest of Runner’s World. (I’d totally be lying if I didn’t admit that I hope they invite me back.) I’ve had some pretty amazing experiences as a blogger and this is definitely one of the top ones.
Disclaimer: Runner’s World invited me to the events and paid most of my expenses. All opinions are my own.