Saturday November 14th was the 2nd McDonald's Half Marathon (as part of the Richmond Marathon). Drove up Thursday and spent some time with my brother and his family while planning on pacing him for the run. Coming off my PR 2 weeks ago and him getting back into running this year (last time he ran more than 11 miles was his last marathon in 1995). Went to the Expo on Friday...was very nice. Well organized, good long sleeve technical shirts & goody bags. Not terribly interested in clothing for just running the half. Bought my brother some Balega socks as I have enjoyed running in them (turned out - that's what he was already running in, he just didn't know it!). Spoke to and purchased an autographed book from Dane Rauschenberg ("See Dane Run") about him running 52 marathons in 52 weeks. Started it already and it looks pretty interesting. Seemed like a nice guy; remembered the Spinx Race Director's name and that he is considering coming down to talk to our local Greenville Track Club. He's looking to set his PR Nov 21st in Mississippi. Guess it makes sense he would go to the big races even when he is not running in order to sell his book. Worked on me. Looked around some more, saw a booth for the Bourbon Chase (relay). Spoke to the guy there and said maybe one year and registered for a free entry (~$900 value!). Got some other flyers, checked out disposable timing chips and left.
Race day: Left at 6am for the 7:30am start. No bagel for my usual pre-run meal, so just had toast and one of my granola/Kashi bars. Worked out just fine. Had my single Gu and hand held water bottle as we parked in my sister-in-law's work garage, about 2 blocks from the start line area. Was a little cool out as expected, so we donned out $1.02 Salvation Army bought sweatshirts from Saturday after the Expo. Excellent purchase. Had on my GTC long sleeve Tech shirt and my RaceReady shorts. No need for gloves as it was only about 54° with very light rain (wonderful running weather) that turned to just clouds. Wind died down before the race actually started. The remnants of Ida had passed thankfully (we drove up in it and it was horrible).
So the race: Planned on breaking 2 hrs (9:10/mi pace), which gave us starting positions in the 1st corral, but we chose to start in the middle of Corral 2. Started off slower than expected due to the crowds (9:38), but came back with an 8:38 and stayed around there for most of the race. I didn't feel particularly good, nothing in particular, just comes down to not being "fresh" I guess. I brought along a disposable camera and got some shots. Few minor hills ,Very vocal, large crowds along the course, especially Bryant Park with its rolling hills and tree-lined paths. Lost a little time there on some hills (8:55 pace for Mile 8), but picked it up and got progressively faster the last 3 miles (and our fastest 3 miles, with Mile 13 at 7:47). just when I started feeling better. Maybe it was just having to control my pace and run slower than I am used to in races? Nah...
I frequently said we were going a little fast, but it all worked out as we finished together in 1:53:39. The end was interesting, slight uphill, then a Steep (I mean Steep!) downhill before becoming a steady downhill, with both sides full of cheering people for a good hundred+ yards. Very nice! No issues afterwards, later on - didn't even feel like I had run and I went out for an easy 4 miler the next morning. One last 20 miler coming up the next weekend before the taper begins.