At the time I signed up for this race I hadn't planned to race the St. Lukes half the weekend before, I was just going to pace it. I needed to get a long run in to prepare for pacing the Run for the Red Pocono Marathon on 5/20 and I didn't know anyone coming up to race so I contemplated skipping out on the race. I decided to take the opportunity and see if I could maybe get a long run out of the day...a 3 mi warm up, race the half, 2-4 mi cool down. Sounded like a good idea at the time, but man the "cool down" is always tough after a half marathon!
I woke up bright and early at 04:45, in the car by 05:00. It was a foggy morning, humid with temps in the low 50's. By 06:00 I was pulling into the speedway. I had expected to see some cars, some signage, etc but there wasn't a bunch of activity that early. I had eaten a Powerbar on the way up so I was fueled up and ready to race. Packet pickup was easy (only a couple of cars in the lot), headed back to the car, hit the bathroom and headed out onto the raceway for a a warmup. Now this was cool, I warmed up on the freshly pave speedway, yes ON THE SPEEDWAY! An easy 3 miles at 7:30 or so and I was ready.
|The entrance, headed toward the "tunnel". This was mile 12 of the race.|
We lined up and we were off. It became evident rather quickly that I would be running this race alone. How far alone I had no idea, I wasn't about to look back! It was nice the I had the police officer on the bicycle to keep me company (although he didn't say a word until 12.5 miles in!). The race directors did a great job with traffic control and marking the course. Everything was easy to follow. There were also a few bands along the course. The course wasn't "hilly" per se, but it seemed as though you were either running downhill or uphill, there was no "flatland.
I took it out at about 5:45 - 5:50 pace which felt comfortable. The sun was now starting to hide behind the clouds and the humidity was building. "Here's your shot at a potentially solo 13.1 time trial" I thought to myself, and true to form it was.
|Just hitting the 4 mile mark, going strong.|
|The last 08. miles took a LLLOOONNGGG time....|
I got changed and headed back to grab some food. There was a great spread, some people hanging out and a live band playing. They had the awards out for you to claim, so I grabbed mine. I watched some more running finishing and saw Keith, the guy that had parked next to me and I chatted with before the race. It was his first half marathon and he was nervous as anything, but he finished and did very well. I congratulated him and took a look at the results. I was amazed to see that the second place finisher finished in 1:38, TWENTY ONE minutes behind me. As it turned out only 150 runners finished, so it was a small race. I hope it comes back next year though, with better timing it could become a big success! Plus, I have to defend my course record.