This goes back to September 25th. The first running of the River Bound Half Marathon on the campus of the US National Whitewater Training Center. I'd previously run the 15k (back on July 17th) where I struggled - but for good reason. This time, I had no excuse.
Weather was a good bit more humane than before, just reaching "warm" during the run. I was very glad the entire course was tree covered. I was looking forward to running some of the same trails as before, plus some new trails. Not that I know any names except the "Green" trail was to be a part of this one and the "Figure 8" trail was having some work done.
Started off at a comfortable pace with a nice group. We stayed together for a few miles once the initial spreading out occurred. I didn't seem to recall the hills being as bad as they were (not that they were really that bad), but I started taking walk breaks after only a few miles and thought it could be a long day (few hours) ahead. Was glad I had my (small) camelbak as I cruised thru the water stops, just grabbing a cup and dumping it over my head after a small sip.
This time - I actually saw mile markers. Did I just completely miss them last time?? (Anyone?). It helped mentally as I saw my pace was consistent, staying around 9:30 with a few fliers. For awhile - it was just me out there and I was quickly reminded how enjoyable it is out on the trails.
The 2nd half is definitely easier and I felt better as I went along. I knew breaking 2 hours was Not going to happen, but I wasn't really running for a goal time. I did make sure I broke 2:10 though.
With the Figure 8 trail closed, they re-routed us at mile ~12 near the starting line before a 0.5 mile (or so?) out and back on the trail we started on before finishing. You could hear the finish line as we took the turn away from it. And of course there was a nice hill just before you got out into the open. Luckily - there was no one watching the group I was with walking at that point. A guy who had been right behind me at that point came up beside me in the open and we chatted as we headed to the finish. I did pick it up to get in front of him, if only to make it easier on the girl having to decide who finished first out of us two!
My finishing time: 2:08:12
9:47/mi pace assuming the course was 13.1 miles; a full 38secs/mi faster pace than the 15k race on the same course. No complaints about that!
Next Race: Marine Corps Marathon on Halloween.