Monday, November 4, 2013

City Of Oaks ½ Marathon

On Saturday, I ran the City of Oaks Half marathon in Raleigh, NC. Raleigh shares some similarities with Charlotte. Pretty much any course will have at least some hills and the longer the race the more hills that should be expected. I was reminded of this fact while running past the 10k finish line during the race. At this moment, I was climbing a rather challenging upgrade. In the back ground, the announcer could be heard talking about the race. I remember him saying that the City of Oaks race has a challenging course, but runners should remember – “What goes up, must come down”.

I am not sure that he has ever run any of the City of Oaks races. The course to me seemed to have a lot more uphills than down hills.  

I went to this race shooting for a 1:20 half marathon, and I ran 1:20:59. I would l have liked it to be closer to the 1:20 than 1:21 but still I have to consider it a win for me. This placed me 16 overall and 1st in my age group.

I started out well and felt good through about 3 miles. My breathing was under control and I felt strong. I reviewed the course profile and knew that there were two significant upgrades – one around 4 and one around 7.5 miles.

As I passed the one mile point, I took my Honey Stinger Gel. From the moment that it hit my tongue, I did not like it. I am not sure if it was the taste or the consistency, but I ate it anyway.  

Maybe this had something to do with what happen next.

Around 4 miles, I was started having a bad patch. I felt like I was running hard but not going anywhere.

I topped out at 5 miles, but I just felt like I was struggling.  

Mile 9 I ran in 6:38. Yeah, this may have been the toughest section of the race. Mentally, I really felt like my race was over at this point, and I should just nurse it home. Then, the course took me through a bunch of tall rolling hills. Then, there was a long climb up to 12 miles. I ran 6:15, 6:19, and 6:17 for these miles, but I was starting to feel better and stronger. I clicked off the 13 mile in 6:01.

After the race, I grabbed some water, got my clothes from the baggage drop, and did an easy mile and half run back to my hotel to clean up.

Leading up to the race, I spent a lot of time looking at the course video, the course directions, and the elevation profile. Like I said, I knew the course was hilly.

However, based on the maps, I thought the miles 4 through 5+ miles were going to be the most challenging because they seem to have the steepest climbing section. The miles from 7.5 to roughly 9 climbed but over a much longer grade.

Now, that I have run the course, I think just the opposite. The hills from 4 to 5 are much easier and the miles from 7.5 to 9 are much tougher.

The course is hard all around. The half is probably a couple of minutes slower than running say a Myrtle Beach marathon.

Right now, I am not sure that I will be back next year. Although, I will leave the option open. Something inside me says that I would like to get some redemption. We will just have to see how next year unfolds.


Sharing on thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner



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