Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tobacco Trail Half Marathon Report

Well 2.5 months ago I decided to run my second half marathon. It was sorta last minute but it was local to me and didn't require travel plans, a plus. So the race I chose, was the Tobacco Trail Half Marathon in Cary, NC. It all went down on March 18, 2012.

My lead up to the race was not conventional. See, I figured my running had gotten good enough that I will just wing it, maybe not the best idea as you will see later. My overall training was my normal, every other day 4 mile run, with some Spinervals on my Kinetic Trainer mixed in. I have a duathlon coming up in a few weeks, so that's why I'm spinning, plus, "I like to suffer a bit." (Lance Armstrong) Additionally, I have had a couple 10 mile runs and a very hilly 7 miles in the last month. So overall, I was feeling like I could beat my time of 2:12 in my first half.

Weeks before race day I thought my co-worker was gonna do the full marathon but he got hit with bad luck. On a positive, I got his parking pass and that worked out like a dream. Always next year when bad luck hits.

Now to race weekend, first the Expo. This was a very nice expo, easy to get packets, I picked up 2. Plenty of people to answer questions, had a good open flow, and as always plenty of stuff to buy. As usual,  I bought nothing. Time to go home and get more and more nervous as Sunday approaches.

Saturday night and what to have as a pre-race dinner. I really suck at at food choices and tonight I made the worst. I had a burger and fries from Red Robin, it was good but I knew I would probably pay a price. Now off to bed, I guess this was around 11PM, I had a 4:30 wake up time. Not a lot of sleep but usually enough for me. Not so fast, big thunderstorm and I was wide awake at 2AM, this is really gonna suck. I laid there dozing in and out till 4:30. I woke up, got dressed, gave my lady a kiss, grabbed a bite, took the doggie out and headed to the USA baseball facility where parking and race starts at. By the way, this place is really nice.

Once there, it was time to chill, I had and hour or so till race time. I used the porto, I used the woods, I paced and I chatted to a real runner, a sub-7:30 minute per mile dude. Finally, It's 7AM and time to run.

Quick Banner picture when I made it to start area

The crowd as we are about ready to take off

The gun goes off, and it's time to see what I got. My goal was to go under 2:10 so I found the 2:00 pace guy and figured I'll hang with him for 8 miles. After a few hundred feet I just wanted to run to my truck and go back to bed. This was not gonna be my day, no sleep, poor food choice, and humid post thunderstorm weather was not treating me well. Nothing I can do now other than hope after a few miles I will feel okay. After about 2miles we hit the trail and I was still on pace, I began to think maybe it will all be okay. The number of water and GU tables they had were great but I skipped the first few, figured it was to early. After 5 miles I was still ahead of the 2 hour pace group but not for long. The soft trail, humidity, lack of sleep, maybe lack of being prepared all caught up to me around mile 6, which I hit at 55 minutes, just after pace group blew by me. The half way turnaround was 1:02 and change, still well within goal but I was feeling bad.

Onto the second half of the half marathon. This was a battle to just survive. There were a few of us suffering together, walking/running/praying  as we passed each other 50 times before the end of the race. Somewhere around the 10 mile marker the 2:10 group past by, I thought maybe try to keep them close and catch or pass in the last mile. Not to be, I just wanted to quit, I did not. Time to knock out these last couple of miles.

Around mile 11.5 there was this kid playing the trumpet, It made me laugh and sorta helped give me a last bit of go, a weak go but it was go. At mile 12.5 I was passed for about the last time, and I picked it back up to my earlier pace, figured I could go a tad over a half mile pretty strong. I did, and finished in 2:14:50, not exactly what I wanted but not so bad considering how poor I felt from the moment I started running.

Post race, I got my medal, skipped on the shinny wrap (what is that used for? Guess I'll google it), found some food and just chilled for a bit. I then went back to the finish to watch the fast marathoners finish. Seems like they made a wrong turn based on later reports, and the fast ones actually came is a 2:40 and change, still wicked fast in my book but probably slow to them.

An official picture of me crossing the finish line

Me after the race, you would think it was pouring down rain as wet as I am.

My time, thats my time with the highlight

Overall, despite not quite hitting my goal, this was a great, well run event that I will for sure do next year. On to my first duathlon in April!