On October 1st I participated in the Freedom's Run Half Marathon in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. It actually started on the campus of Shepherd University and headed into Maryland.
this is a running festival where they have a 5k, 10k Half Marathon and Full Marathon. They also have a kids run. All of the races start on the campus of Shepherd University except for the Marathon where they started at Harper's Ferry in the National Park.
For the Half Marathon we cross over the Potomac and run on the C&O Canal. We were told numerous times that even if you feel good to keep your pace down as there is a big hill at mile 3.
Well they were not kidding. But let me back up a bit.
I was not able to make it to packet pickup on Friday so I had to get up early to get up there for Saturday morning packet pickup. I live just under an hour away so instead of leaving at 6:30 for an 8:00 am start, I left about 5:45 as I really did not know where I was going. I wanted to make sure I got there and got myself squared away. I have a habit of not being a very good traveler especially when it comes to going somewhere that I have never been to and being alone.
Anyway, I got there with no issues as it was in the dark and raining. It was not raining very hard so that was a good thing. I had some oatmeal before leaving the house and I brought a peanut butter sandwich to eat a little later on.
I was able to find a parking spot in a lot right next to the start and portapotties. I went and picked up my packet and went back to my car to chill out and relax. I ended up going to the portapotties a couple of times before hand so it was good that I was parked close as it was still raining. It was not a heavy rain, it was more like a misting rain, one that is more of an annoyance then anything. The rain did help to keep the temperatures down. When we started it was in the high 40s to low 50s.
As it got closer to gun time, the rain let up. I got out of the car and started warming up a bit. With one last stop at the portapotties I made my way to the official start line. So there were a few announcements before the race got underway, one of particular was that when you are running on the C&O Path and are feeling good, so good that you want to up your pace....DON'T!
There is a big long hill coming up at mile 3 and 4. And just before gun time they sang the Battle hymn of the Republic.
And we are off.
I was set in my ways about just running a nice comfortable pace as I was not going for any specific time plus I knew that this was a fairly hilly course, and not that there were a lot of hills just steep ones.
So we cross over the Potomac and head down a steep hill toward the C&O Canal. There were police officers along the way that were holding up traffic. I try to make eye contact with them and say thank you for their time.
So we are running down the C&O trail and it is a narrow trail with some obstacles like branches and mud puddles that we have to deal with but nothing major.
So we exit the C&O trail and there it is. The big hill that they were telling us about.
It is a steep one and goes on for what seems like forever. I did hear a familiar voice behind me and it turns out that it was Doug from the local running group that I run with. I knew he was running in it but being that our schedules for before and after the race were different it did not make sense for us to car pool or we would have. Doug is training for the Marine Corp Marathon and was using this as a training run in preparation for the Marathon. He was looking to keep as close to a 10 min mile pace as possible and I was right there with him so we ran together for a bit.
We chatted a bit about things in general and nothing in particular.
I started to get into a zone and really started feeling good. We talked less and then all of a sudden I noticed that he was not beside me anymore. Well there was a water stop up a head and when I got up there did a quick turn around and he was no where to be seen. Well I kind of felt bad but kept on going. I figured that my orange hat would be a beacon for him to pace off of, plus we really did not discuss running together before the race anyway.
By now I was around mile 8 and still feeling good. I was not looking at my watch because I did not what to know anything. I was feeling good and therefore did not care what the time or the pace was. I figured I would analyze after the fact.
So I kept on plodding along and figured I would try to push it a little bit. I was really feeling good. My energy felt good as did my legs. I figured I would push for some negative splits and thought that it should be fairly easy to do as it was mostly down hill the second half of the race.
Well it seems that I was on pace to do just that.
We travel through the historic town of Sharpsburg and we are a mere 5k away from the finish. I start to push a little more, but not too much.
I see the bridge, I pick it up a little bit more. I start to pick people off one by one.
Here I go, coming across the bridge. I pass another person. I look ahead, there is someone else.
Coming into the home stretch, I look to the left and I can see into the stadium and the finish line.
I start to pick it up now, but not too much as there is a down hill that takes us to the stadium floor. I don't want to go too fast and fall forward. I have seen that happen and it is not a pretty sight.
There it is, the finish line.
I look at the clock and it read 2:13 and I think I AM GOING TO PR?!?!?!!? NO WAY!!!!!
I pick it up even more and cross the finish line. My garmin time was 2:13;30 but the official gun time was 2:13;58 I will take it. I was not trying for a PR but the weather was great for running in and I just felt great overall.
This goes to show that I fair better in the cooler weather then in the warmer weather races.
So at the half way point I figured I would try for negative splits, and I did that.
Here are my times:
Mile Time Avg Pace
1 10:12 10:12
2 10:19 10:19
3 10:30 10:30
4 11:09 11:10
5 10:13 10:13
6 10:39 10:39
7 10:39 10:39
8 10:31 10:31
9 10:07 10:07
10 10:03 10:03
11 9:32 9:32
12 9:30 9:30
13 9:04 9:04
14 0:56 7:48
Can not wait until Hershey. Hope I can improve on the time above. I know that Hershey is a fairly flat course so I am hoping that things go as well as they can.
That is all for now. Thanks for reading.
I don't feel that I am a very good writer so please provide any and all comments. I am hopping to improve my writting skills.