The course for this race is a loop course that is 3.275 miles long. The half marathon equals four loops and the full marathoners run eight loops. The race started at 2:30PM for the half and 1:00PM for the full. I drove up and arrived just as the marathon was starting. The race course was around the campus of Missouri State University so registration and the start/finish were near the student union. It was nice to have a warm place to go and clean restrooms too.
The race had a goofy start which was very crowded since the first 1/10 mile was on a narrow sidewalk. Several people almost ran into random barriers. Eventually everyone got spread out and then there was plenty of room. The course was mixed between the road and sidewalks around campus. That was probably my biggest complaint about the course because the sharp turns and jumps up/down off the sidewalk were tough on my feet. It was also hard to know when I was supposed to run in the street or on the sidewalk.
My goal for the race was to try to hit 33 minutes for each loop or a 2:12 finishing time. This was a conservative PR goal for me and it was something that alleviated the pressure that I felt in Tulsa. I had told myself to just go for a long run and see if something more( like a PR) could happen. I avoided looking at my watch except for the conclusion of each loop just to get a feeling on where my pace was.
Towards the end of the first lap I discovered a pace buddy. #618 was running really steady and his pace felt pretty comfortable to me. I decided to just stick with him and stay steady in that pace. Somewhere towards the end of the second loop I pulled away from 618. I stuck to the pace and tried to pick it up on the slight downhills to build some time for the slight uphills. The race was relatively flat but there were a couple inclines that by the 4th loop felt huge! About a mile into the 3rd lap, my little pace buddy #618 showed back up. I knew that I needed to stick with him as much as possible and not give back any time. Near the finish of the 3rd lap I started to feel a blister forming along the back of my left arch. No fun but #618 kept me distracted and moving forward. We never spoke and we stayed as pace buddies until the last 1 1/2 miles when he pulled slightly ahead of me. Whether he was by my side or in front of me, #618 provided me with the motivation to stay strong and keep moving.
My laps were pretty good and fairly consistent. I was listening to my iPod throughout the race and it was awesome how the random shuffle knew the right song to play for how I was feeling during the race. It was the perfect soundtrack!
|Posing post race with the school mascot!|
I almost caught #618 to the finish but he ended up beating me by six seconds. My finish time was 2:09:05 which is a 5 min 6 sec. PR for me. If only I could have kept up with #618 I would have finished at 2:08:59! When I looked up the race results I was very surprised to discover that my pace buddy was a very young, spry, and fast 70 years old! I honestly thought he was running the full marathon and still had another lap to go when we finished but nope he was doing the half too. It has taken me nearly 10 years of running half marathons to get to this pace and I can only hope to still be running (and maybe still in this time range!) by the time I'm 70!!! What an inspiration and big thanks to him for pulling me along!
Post race was back in the student union to pick up the race medal. They medal was a nice 3" medal shaped like a horseshoe. It is a really nice medal for such a small race. When you received your medal you also got a ticket for a sandwich meal from Blimpie. My only complaint on the post-race was that the temperature was way too warm inside. The difference between outside and inside that soon after a race was a little rough to handle. I started to feel sick and was worried that I might faint. I don't normally feel sick after a race so this wasn't fun...especially since I was there alone and had to drive home two hours. I got a Diet Pepsi and Water and tried to chug some down which helped a lot. I forced myself to eat the sandwich and get some food in since I was probably out of calories. I only ate one Gu during the race where normally in a training run I'll eat three. I changed into dry clothes and felt a lot better.
|Post race food...after a few bites!|