Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Annapolis Half Marathon race report

Ok so I wanted to share with everyone my experience in running the 2nd Annual Annapolis Half Marathon on Saturday December 1st.
So I ran last year, along with some other plodders, and there were some issues that came up. Mainly the parking was a big mess and the course was short by about a quarter of a mile.
This year was a vast improvement. The only issue that I have is packet pickup, but I will cover that at the end.
I was actually able to secure a place to stay Friday night so I did not have to worry about driving to Annapolis Saturday morning. This helped out greatly.
The parking issue from last year seemed to be fixed, but then again I was coming in from the opposite way then last year.
Well I got myself parked and started to go through my routine and get ready to race. I had plenty of time. It was a beautiful day for a race. The temps were around the high 40's low 50's. it was very foggy. I was prepared either way. (last year it was a bit colder and a lot windier.) I had packed tights and a long sleeve shirt, but I opted for a short sleeve shirt, arm sleeves (love these), cotton gloves, and shorts. I brought a throw away sweat shirt that I was wearing so I was comfortable.
So I had some time before I needed to line up in the coral for the start, which was at 7:10.

I have been trying to get a grip on my hydration and fuel. I tend to drink too much water in the morning as I am trying to calm my nerves etc....Well a trick that has helped me is to chew gum, but I started to have that do I need to pee feeling. So I walked over to the line for the porta potties, and there I stood for a while.

Well after a while I decided that I really did not have to pee so I started to make my way to the starting coral.

They did not have any pacers but they did have signs in the coral that pointed out if you were going to run a certain pace to line up here. My goal was to come in under 2 hours, which is a 9:10 per min mile. Did I make it? We shall see.
They did sign the National Anthem and then we were off, early I might add. We started at 7:00 not at 7:10 like it was advertised. The course was not much different then last year. We started at the Naval Academy Stadium (outside of the field) and ran through the parking lot. We covered more ground in the parking lot this year then last. We continued around the stadium and went into a little residential area, came out and continued on the roads around the stadium.

We started to make our way down to the water front. The fog was still thick in the air. I tossed my sweatshirt and was feeling really comfortable all the way around.
When we got "downtown" we went down Dock Street, which was added on from last year as they decided to leave out the out and back on the B&O Trail. Many people complained about this last year. The B&O is similiar to the W&OD but I think the B&O is much more narrower. Having people running 2 -3 wide on an out and back course was just a little dangerous.
Anyway, we make our way next to the Naval Academy on our way to the bridge to cross over the Severn River. I was still feeling very good at this point. I would look down every now and then at my Garmin just to briefly look at my pace. I wanted to make sure that I was not going too fast but that I was going faster then a 9:10 mile.

I did not carry water with my but I did carry some Gu energy gels. I took one gel before the start. They recommend taking a gel 15 min before and then every 45 mins during. Back when I ran the Rock and Roll in March I had some side stitches and stomach cramping so I decided to note follow the instructions to the letter.

I did not take water at the first aid station I was looking at doing an every other aid station.

I was coming up on mile 7 when I decided to take my first gel since starting and I only took about half of it. After that, about mile 8.5 my side started to hurt. I am guessing that either Gu does not agree with me or I really don't need it. Or it could mean that I need to start working more on my core (which I still plan on doing).
Other then that there really is not much more to say. The fog stuck around the whole time. While there were times when I felt a little cold I feel that I made the right move in what I wore. I think I would have been too hot if I wore tights and long sleeves.
So to recap from last year, my garmin reported a distance of 12.77 and a time of 1:57:30. I put a side note on this as the course was short, and the organizers did admit to it. Anyway, my time this year? Well I will say that this was a pretty hilly course and it had a lot, and I mean a lot of turns that we did. With that my garmin, as a lot of others, came up short again but it was 12.95. the course was certified and there is an arguement to be made that GPS watches are not 100% perfect, especially when you are making a lot of turns. Anyway, my time you ask? 1:56:35. So yes I am going with I made my goal of getting under 2 hours in a half marathon. I even beat last years time. My calves were extremely sore for a couple of days after.

so will I run this again? yes. It really is a great run and they have made a lot of improvements from last year. The after party was a blast as well.

I am starting to think that I might not need the extra gels, does anyone else have any input?
thanks for reading.

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