Saturday, October 28, 2006

Silver Comet Half Marathon: Race Report

This morning I ran the Silver Comet Half Marathon for the first time. This is a great half marathon. I highly recommend it for any first timers. It is very flat and very fast. There is not a lot in the way of spectators but the trail is beautiful. I am also biased because I got a PR.

This past week has been difficult for me running wise. The kids were home from school Monday and Tuesday with colds and my legs have been hurting me. Nothing specific just general achiness and stiffness. I think I have strained my calves and my hamstrings are very tight and as a result everything else is hurting. I was not feeling very optimistic about the race today as a result.

The race start was a 7:45 am. I have a friend who lives over near the start--or at least where I thought the start was. It usually takes me about a half hour to get to her house. So I left my house at 6:45 thinking I would have plenty of time to mill around, pee, chat whatever. And it did take me 30 minutes to get over by my friend's house. So I was right on that count. But the Mablehouse, where the race started, was further than I thought. I had to park over at the middle school and run about a half mile to the start.

I didn't have pins to pin my number on at home so I am very thankful for the guy in the parking lot who had extras. I made it to the starting area with about 5 minutes to spare. Unfortunately the lines for the portalets were quite long. I absolutely cannot run if I have to pee. And since I have never been on the Silver Comet I wasn't too sure of the bathroom situation. A really nice guy let me go ahead of him and I am a fast pee-er but even still I missed the start. I came out of the portalet and saw the wave of people starting to move.

When I joined the crowd it was way in the back with those who pretty much planned to run slow or walk. My usual race MO is to position myself pretty close to the start--especially in races where there is no champion chip used so that I can get the most accurate time. I had to do a lot of crowd weaving and this really isn't all that huge of a race and had I been where I needed to be I wouldn't have had to weave.

I really didn't think I started all that late or was that far back but in retrospect it was probably a 1/4 mile back. I pressed start on Garmin as soon as I hit the pavement--instead of when I crossed the start line-- which since I started after the gun and in the back I am not exactly sure where it was. I was so focused on making my time I really wasn't paying attention to anything but getting through the crowd. Being so far back I had to change my race plan and I figured I would run a bit faster than originally planned until I got with my appropriate pace group. Around the 2 mile mark when they called the time I realized my watch was over a minute and half behind the called split of 16:30something. This proved very confusing for me the whole race in regards to figuring out my pace. Not to help matters-- because of the weather and the thick trees-- I kept losing my GPS signal.

On my way to the race I had set up the virtual training partner on Garmin. I set it for us to race at an 8:15 pace. I did plan to beat him. I wanted to run 15-30 seconds faster than what I plan to do for the marathon.

After the first mile I was not quite a 1/4 mile ahead of Garmin. I maintained that pace--whatever it was-- until I lost the signal. After that Garmin was really of no use to me since the pace and mileage were off from losing the signal and the time was off from starting late.

Since I started so far back I spent the whole race passing people. This was a totally new experience for me. The people I finished with were all "new" people to me. It very much made me feel triumphant.

My time? Well, I am not exactly sure. It was 1:41 something. And my watch was 1:39 something-- I didn't remember to stop it until I had already moved out of the finishing area and by that point it was reading 1:40. And you know what? I don't totally care what my exact time was since I--get this-- beat my personal record by more than 10 minutes. Granted my personal record is one from a much more challenging course, but still 10 minutes is huge. I have, since I started running 8 years ago, shaved 20 minutes off my first half marathon time.

My overall pace was somewhere between 7:35 and 7:45. Totally awesome for me. The only thing that sucks is starting late may have cost me winning my age group. I got second. The woman's time who won was 1:39 something. But I can't say I would have pushed myself so hard had I not felt I was behind. I probably would have gone out way more conservatively. So it is what it is. Today's race really felt like a race for me.

And yep, I wore skirt. Skirt kicked ass. Will be wearing skirt for marathon most definitely. I am looking into getting some of those compression knee socks. I think it will make me look extra kicky.

Race Run down:
Silver Comet Half Marathon
Time: 1:41
Pace: 7:45
Weather: Cloudy, temps in the low 50's at start, high 40's at finish. Wind advisory--though was not a huge factor because of tree shelter.
Awards: T-Shirt, Finisher's Medal ( a spinner!) and 2nd place age group plaque.

End Training Week 3:
As of tomorrow 2 weeks until OBX
Sunday: Rest
Monday: 6 miles at an 8 minute pace
Tuesday: Forced rest
Wednesday: 10 miles at an 8 min pace in the am. 30 minutes cross train and 35 minutes weights in the evening.
Thursday: Bad day. Was a planned 14 miler. Did only 5 at about 9:15 pace--ran 3 in 24 minutes but then walked ran the rest.
Friday: 30 minute cross train and 20 minutes weights.
Saturday: Half marathon
Total miles: 34--MPW totally sucks but I think the extra rest paid off today.

On to the taper . . .


  1. PR by 10 minutes? You even kick your own ass.

  2. Howdy! GOSH a 10 minute PR is definitely HUGE!! Starting a little late was a little extra motivation. You didn't get discouraged like I had last year with the weaving and you stayed mentally strong. You're even faster than I expected, any new prediction for your upcoming marathon time??? If you can get a good rest during your taper and heal those tired legs you'll get that BQ for sure! Needless to say, be sure to test those running socks...with the shorts and long white socks you'll look like a uniformed Catholic school girl:) Happy trails, Bruce

  3. I have been mulling if I should have a new pace plan but I don't want to get overconfident because of just one race. The McMillian race predictor says a 3:33 marathon with a pace of 8:08 based on my new half time. I will say the other distance times do look about right for my recent training. I really don't think I can maintain an 8 minute pace for 26 miles though. But then again I somewhat surprised myself today. An 8:15 pace might be more realistic, maybe--if the weather cooperates and it is just one of those I feel incredible days.

    I always wanted to go to Catholic school just so I could wear the uniforms. I will try out the socks on a few runs. Funny thing is that I only saw men wearing those socks today. I think they are sort of girly.

    Thanks for the kudos guys!

  4. Holy shit. You kicked ass. Maybe you should start back in the future!

    BTW, I LOVE the knee socks. You should totally rock those. Get pics.

  5. The good thing about this race is its nice and flat...the bad thing is their idea of customer service. When I finished the race and went to pick up my t-shirt I was told they did not have any XXLs left (I'm a clydesdale for sure - big and relatively slow). I thought that odd since I had paid for an XXL in my registration. My racing bibb said "Medium". Also there were no instructions on how to get my correct size shirt. Just "thats all thats left". I decided to contact the race director. This was her response to me on Oct 28th:

    "i have the xxl - i always keep them so they don't disappear. I am back in class - I have to catch up - may be nov 15 until I can arrange , but hang tight & yes."

    Dana Greene
    404-422- (Work/Voicemail)
    404-884- (Personal/Text Only)

    So I hang tight from Oct 28th until Nov 20th and I write again. No response. I text the race director about a week or so later and still no response.

    I then go to their facebook page and make my request public. I was not offensive, used no inappropriate language, but resolved. I posted a copy of my registration to prove I wasn't a loon (mostly lol) and simply requested my correct T-shirt. Each of my posts were deleted and still no response from THE race director.

    So after one of my last post the THE race director decides to finally address my complaint publicly on their Facebook page. Again this is still after never having written to me to explain. She apologizes in her posts to everyone (hey what about an apology for me? - lol) for the delay in T-shirts but her order is being delayed due to a large order from the Atlanta Hawks to the same company she uses. But wait......her email to me said that she kept the XXL's "so they don't disappear". There was never a mention to me about a delay because she never had the shirts. She also paints a very sympathetic portrait due to her "life issues" (going back to school...blah blah blah). I am certainly sympathetic to anyone having a tough time but to ignore my multiple requests for information regarding something I paid for just seems to be totally unrelated.

    So now I am blocked from their Facebook site because I simply asked for what I paid for. Very classy and customer-centric. And now if I want my correct T shirt I have to attend their "some date in the future" Open House. Pass. They can have my t-shirt and certainly I will find another second half of the year half marathon to run.

    I'm sure the people of this race are fine folks. I see they have plenty of supporters so my complaint will fall on deaf ears for sure. But if I were in charge of their race I would consider treating 1 racer as I do all racers. Friend or not. My two cents.