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