Race Recap: Charleston Half Marathon 2015 (the one that went long)

1/25/15 EDIT: 

The updated results are in! The course measured .1981 miles long, which was enough to give me a PR, coming in at 1:55:56 (8:50 pace).  The story

made headlines

over at Runner's World. 

1/19/15 EDIT:

The race directors issued a statement saying that they were planning to remeasure the course (the lead car took a wrong turn) and adjust finish times. I'll update this post when they do. I'm expecting my time to be somewhere in the 1:54/1:55 range since I probably didn't run the tangents and my Garmin still would have come in slightly longer on a regular course.

Original post:

No runner wants to run a half marathon that's long. But that's what happened at the Charleston Half this year. Apparently, the lead car took a wrong turn pretty early in the race (the first or second mile). The course ended up being somewhere in the 13.5 mile range (probably a little less). Frustrating. And those poor marathoners and people who were trying to qualify for Boston! At least I only ran the half and my time didn't really matter.

I suspected somerhing might have been off when my Garmin started beeping way before the second mile marker, but didn't really think too much of it since watches don't always match up with the race markers. But as the race went on, it continued to happened (and seemed to get worse) and I heard other runners' watches beeping right around the same time as mine.

Obviously, most runners, myself included, run races a bit longer because they don't run the tangents. However, this was my third year running this race, and neither my Garmin nor Runmeter were off by nearly that much in previous years. I didn't do any excessive weaving this year, so there was no reason for my Garmin to be beeping so much earlier than the mile markers. Obviously, I didn't want to be one of those people who whines about a long course because my Garmin said it was long, but when literally everyone else I know who ran the race said it was long for them, I suspected that was actually the case. And it was.

So my official time of 1:57:34 (8:58 pace) brought me to my goal of just running sub-two hours at this race, but not a PR. My Garmin clocked me at an 8:41 pace, which for 13.1 miles is a 1:53:50 finish time, and a PR. It probably would have gone a little over that (but still been a PR) since I wouldn't have run the tangents perfectly.

So yes, I'm disappointed. I'd love to have 1:53:50 (or 1:54:xx) listed as my official time for this race. And to know that I (officially) PR'd at 7 months post-baby, when I never expected to and didn't feel like I had the training to do so, would be pretty awesome. I need a redemption run.

However...technically, I did still PR (although I won't list it as such on my Racing page). I ran faster at that distance than I ever have before, and my splits were fairly decent, especially the first 11 miles.

The last two miles were sort of brutal and I could feel my lack of long runs kicking in. My pace dropped for the last mile (not drastically, but noticeably), I was tired, and I really wanted the race to be over. Probably because it should have been over sooner than it actually was.

But for all of my whining about the long course, everything I've said about this race from 2013 and 2014 still holds true. I really like the course overall, it's fast and flat, and when it doesn't measure long, it's a good place to PR. The race directors do a great job putting on this race every year in my city and one mistake this year won't stop me from coming back in the future.

The weather this year was as close to perfect as race day weather can be: sunny, in the high 40s/low 50s with just enough of a breeze to keep cool under the warm sun. So much better than the wild winds and frigid temps of last year. And like every race post-baby, the best thing about it was seeing my little guy at the finish line.

Now that I've got an approximate baseline of that 1:53:50 time to go on, despite the relatively little (but consistent) amount of training I put in and of course, still being so close to having a baby, I feel like I can dig in now and go for some bigger (and official) PRs this year. 1:45...I'm looking at you for fall. Let's do this, 2015.