This weekend, I ran one of my favorite races, the Towpath Half Marathon. If you've followed my training, you know that I spent the last few weeks training (after having a disappointing Seawheeze Half back in August). Just like last year, this race had perfect weather and was organized really well. I had a pretty good race and improved on my time last year (but missed a PR by a few minutes), so overall I'm satisfied with how I did.
Here's how the race went down:
Miles 1 : 2 : 3
Splits : 9:35, 9:06, 8:51
I almost missed the start of the race because I was in line for the bathroom! I left my car at 7:30 to make one last stop at the bathroom before the 8:00 start, and the line was huge. I ended up making it in right at 8:00 when the National Anthem started, and by the time I made it to the start the gun shot off. I had to start in the back of the line, so most of the first three miles were just making my way to the middle of the pack.
The race starts at the Brandywine Ski Resort, and runs down the parking lot entrance to the main road and onto the Towpath. The first mile is the only real hill of the race, and luckily it's downhill. After that, the race is pretty much pancake flat, and run on a mixture of crushed limestone and concrete.
Miles 4 : 5 : 6
Splits : 8:45, 8:56, 9:01
Around mile four I started to get settled in to my pace. I wasn't really passing people or getting passed at this point, and I stuck with a group of people that were running my same pace. There's a turn around at mile 6, so we started to get some two-way traffic around this same time. Thankfully I didn't have to pass anyone, because there's no room!
I grabbed my first water at the turn around, and started to feel a little warm. The weather was perfect- 50's and partly sunny- but I was wishing that I wore short sleeves and sun glasses.
Miles 7 : 8 : 9
Splits : 8:58, 8:45, 8:40
I finished my episode of This American Life that I turned on at the start of the race, and switched over to music. This helped me so much and kicked me into a new gear (just like I talked about in my race tips post!). I was still feeling pretty good at this point, and had plenty of room on the trail to pass people now that the crowd thinned out.
I grabbed another water during this section, and took a salt tab. I had a gel with me, but ended up not eating it. I haven't been training with gels and have done fine, so I only had it in case of emergency.
Miles 10 : 11 : 12 : 13
Splits : 9:08, 8:45, 8:46, 8:42
Right after the 11 mile mark, we cross over the main road that leads to the parking lot, and head towards the finish. This was the hardest part of the race for me, and I was starting to feel a lot of soreness and stiffness in my legs. I didn't spend enough time during training running on flat courses (particularly for my long runs) and my body was feeling it! My shoulders also started to feel achy, and overall I was ready to be finished with the race.
Luckily, the race was almost over so I could keep myself motivated to keep going and finish strong. The finish line is really exciting, with lots of people lining the trail. After I finished, there was lots of food and drinks waiting- Subway sandwiches (including veggie!), apples, bagels, bananas, water, Gatorade, and a beer tent with Great Lakes beer. Unfortunately you had to pay for the beer and I didn't bring any money, so I skipped that and headed towards the shuttle buses to go back to the start line where Dan and Selma were waiting.
Overall : 1:57:05
While I didn't hit my "A" Goal, I did get my "B" Goal of breaking 2 hours. I've only done this in a few races, so it's still a big deal to me and I'm really happy with that! I still feel like I have more left to give and I'm looking forward to the Pittsburgh 10 Miler in a few weeks. I think I'm going to have a big race!
Who else raced this weekend? Anyone do Chicago?
What's your favorite race?
Gels during races..yay or nay?