Hung out before the race with my co-worker Marty after getting my packet (nice bag with the logo on one side and course map on other and another nice shirt). Saw just a few others I knew, said a quick congrats to Jason and we were about set to start. I'm not familiar with the park only having run there two other times, but it was the same course as 2010. (I did read my Race Report from last year...brought back some recollections).
I tried not to start off too fast, letting Marty and plenty of others go ahead. The "strength" my legs felt the previous weekend was gone and my cardio was still absent. (Please come back!!). The course had strung everyone out and frequent sections of mud (and a continuous carpet of beautiful leaves) made almost every step interesting, and dangerous. The first couple of miles is the toughest with some rolling terrain. I ran as long as I could before relegating myself to walking some uphills. Oh well.
I had noted my 2010 splits for the 3 aid stations, so I could at least compare myself to last year's event. Ran thru the 1st one at mile 4.75 (had my handheld water bottle) in 42...dead on last year's. I thought I felt worse than I should have, but after ramping my mileage up the last few weeks post-marathon (12, 15, 13, 24, and 30 including this half) and having an 8 day exercise hiatus in there, I shouldn't complain. It'll come back - it always does.
Marty stayed 30-40 seconds ahead of me for many miles, I just tried to keep him in my sights thru the undulating and twisty trail. Removed my long sleeve GTC shirt (what was I thinking wearing that over a t-shirt??). Took a Gu. Looked forward to the nearing of my 2010 time of 1:11 for aid station 2 at Mile 8.1. I did catch him for a few minutes at the Lake, but he was soon ahead again. Hit Aid Station 2 at 1:11 (3 seconds off last year). Marty left as I entered and I had a quick fill-up and continued out thru some sandy trail. A nice change from the single and double tracks.
Somewhere thru here I started feeling a bit better. I wasn't completely out of breath, my legs weren't exactly "weak", but I was still having a recurring groin/hip issue that goes back to my Asheville Half Marathon in Sept., must be those hills. What am I thinking still contemplating the Mount Mitchell Challenge?? Even with time off - it's still there...
Took my 2nd Gu and tried to remember to drink.
So I eventually caught Marty and I stayed within 5-10 seconds of him til the finish. Hit Aid Station 3 (Mile 11.5) in 1:43, 20 seconds faster than the 1st Camp Croft Half. Am I consistent or what? These last few miles are where I pushed hard last year (with someone right on my heels) and I chipped a bone in my right foot. I never felt strong at all this day, but was satisfied with my run with the training I had (or had not) done. I finished in 2:03:21, still 20 seconds ahead of last year. Heard the course is actually closer to 13.5 miles...either way - another one in the books!
Marty finished 5 seconds ahead of me (beat him by 1 minute last year).
Joe passed us a few miles from the finish and just beat Marty.
|Only at Mile 3 or so and already out of breath|
Seth (RD) did another fantastic job putting this race together. Plenty of volunteers, course well marked (although I almost turned the wrong way after the one stream crossing...but only because I did not look first!), nice food (Bagels, Clif bars, fruit), already mentioned the bag/shirt. A pint glass with the logo on it was a surprise (to me) finisher prize. Then there was the giveaways...last year, I got nothing. This year, a $25 gift certificate from REI (just opened this month in Greenville) and another glass! Sweet! I actually went to the store that afternoon before heading home and picked up a membership and pair of gaiters. Finally got some gaiters...now to test them out. Next weekend - back at Paris Mountain. Next year - back at Camp Croft Half Marathon!