Despite my lack of training - only two long-ish runs - one 8 miler and one 10 miler - for this race and several weeks where I hit the elliptical at home instead of going outside in the nasty, cold weather for a run, I still managed to eek out a PR by 30 seconds for a finish time of 1:56:22. And this course was much hillier than the course where I previously PR'd back in January (Charleston), so I'm pretty happy with the results and it was a nice way to close out the long race season for me.
But speaking of hills and this course: it's a deceptive little sneak. The first 7 miles or so are relatively flat and/or downhill, but when you round the corner from Old Providence Road onto Sharon View Lane, you're staring right into a steep, steady hill that lasts for about a half a mile. The hills continue to roll after that, with a pretty nasty one in mile nine on Valencia (shout out to the dude using his leaf blower to blow dirt off his driveway right in the middle of this hill - my lungs appreciated it!) and another in mile 11 on Ferncliff. Fortunately, I had at least driven the course (and run several of the roads on regular runs), so I knew what to expect.
The start of this race was also pretty frustrating because it's pretty crowded with fairly narrow roads or limited lanes on two lane roads. It took me until at least mile three to get out from the crowd and start to reach a good pace. My first couple miles hovered around a 10 minute per mile pace, which is much slower than I run on a regular run, let alone in a race!
Once I managed to break away from the pack, I found myself settling into an 8 minute per mile pace, I stayed there for a a mile or two, but then decided to pull back a bit in mile six and hover around 8:30-8:50, which is what I ran for most of the rest of the race (except for mile 11, which got me a bit and I dipped to 9:00). But I figured since I wasn't going for a PR, and knew the hills were coming, it was best to conserve some energy, and I knew that pace would at least get me to my sub-two hour goal.
And while those few miles in the beginning cost me several minutes on my total time, I didn't really mind since I was with some friends at the starting line and we were chatting and having fun. So for me, on this particular day, it wasn't a big deal and if I had really been out for a PR, I would have started up much closer to the starting line instead of in the back of the pack.
This race (and my splits) weren't as perfect or pretty as the half in Charleston, but despite that and the slow start, I still ended up PR'ing and seeing progress in my running, so really couldn't ask for much more out of this race!
So that's it, friends. The end of my winter/spring long race season for 2013, and I'm super excited for this summer and setting some PRs for the shorter races!