Race Report: Clemson Half Marathon
Short version: 3 hours, zero minutes, 11 seconds--I'm very happy. Placed 90 out of 93. Temperature was holding at 38 degrees F with a steady mist, about 1/10 of an inch of rain in the 4 hours around the race.
I ate an early breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheese and then had an apple with sunflower seed butter on my way to the start. I decided to wear warmer fleece running tights and a jacket over a long sleeved shirt, though below about 50 degrees I almost always run in a vest and adjust for different temperatures by which long sleeved shirt I pick. I thought about double socks, but I decided on thin socks because I didn't want my feet to get too heavy when they got waterlogged. I wore a cap with a bill in the vain hope of keeping the rain off my glasses. The start was less than 5 minutes from my house and I only got there about 5 minutes ahead of time, which turned out to be a good thing--people looked awfully chilled.
mile 1 11:03
The start was on time. I'm surprised to see in the official results there were 93 racing--it seemed like fewer. I forgot to start my GPS until a couple of minutes after the start, and it still measured 13.34 miles for the race, so it seems to have read a bit long. The course was certified, so I tend to believe it more than a GPS in the rain, with a wooded section. Even with a hat my glasses had a lot of rain on them so I realized I wasn't going to be able to read the GPS, I would just run by feel. The first mile was a smooth downhill and I could see the back of the pack ahead of me.
mile 2 12:45
There were two women behind the back of the pack I began slowly gaining on. They stopped longer than I did at the aid station at 2 miles, and they dropped behind me. I think they must have cut the course, because I passed them again about mile 11.
mile 3 12:05
mile 4 12:56
I got frustrated about not being able to see very well through wet glasses when I stepped in a puddle and my shoes got soaked. I started dreaming of asking my husband, who was supposed to meet me about mile 4, to get me dry wool socks. My daughter was going to take pictures, but I also wanted my husband to check in with me during the race because I had decided not to carry my fuel belt but wanted to be able to change my mind if the aid stations started running out of supplies or packing up. I looked at my watch at the mile 4 rest stop and was very happy with my time, but there was no sign of my husband and daughter.
mile 5 13:19
mile 6 13:50
There were a couple of short hills I walked in these sections. I came up with the plan that I would look at my watch at 9 miles, and if I was under two hours then I had a chance of making my dream goal of 3 hours and I would push hard.
mile 7 14.29
mile 8 14:12
mile 9 13:53
Most of this section was in the botanical garden, with much worse hills (which I walked parts of) than in the first part of the course. It was an out and back, and I saw maybe 10 people ahead of me, all by at least a mile, and one man, powerwalking, behind me. My husband and daughter didn't meet me until I was getting close to mile 9, and they didn't have with them the vest I wanted to change into (as I felt too steamy in a jacket with sleeves). I had asked them to bring in their car a whole lot of stuff that I might want, and then they couldn't figure out how to park close to the course. I felt angry that they didn't have what I wanted, but in fact my clothing choices had worked out well and the aid stations were still well-supplied. When I got to mile 9 I looked at my GPS to check the time and it said 1:59. So I made the commitment to go hard, though my legs were definitely hurting by that point.
mile 10 13:20
mile 11 13:15
These were on a stretch of road and dike where I usually run. I knew that I was going to have to walk some hills the last two miles, so I tried to speed up in this flat section. I passed the two women I had passed earlier and gave them some help with the course. One was injured but the other decided to keep up with me.
mile 12 14:29
mile 13 14:06
.34 mile 4:27
The steep downhill coming off the dike really hurt, even at a walk, and the woman who was keeping up with me passed me. My husband and daughter met me there and I did change into my vest. The last mile was mostly uphill and I kept pushing. The woman who had passed me was having more trouble with uphill than I was so I passed her again. I didn't want her to beat me when I thought she had cut the course. As I was coming up the field to the finish the carillon clock started striking 11, and then I saw that the finish line clock said not quite 3 hours. So I ran really hard, and the time I saw on the finish line clock as I finished was 3:00:10. There was a muddy section just after I got my chip off; a man said several people had fallen in the mud. I thought a face plant sounded appropriate, but I avoided it. I was really really thrilled to have done three hours, that was my dream goal but I had expected to be a lot slower than that.
The award ceremony was starting and my daughter and I stayed. Most of my masters swim team did the race and I think we all placed first, second, or third in our age groups. One is in my age group (50-55) and met her goal, which was to beat two hours in her first stand-alone half marathon. I was third in my age group, as there were only three, and I got a beanie saying Clemson Half Marathon on one side and Award Winner on the other.
Nutrition was a cup of water (maybe 6 oz.) every two miles, three Fig Newmans in the first three miles, and then a Hammer Gel at 4, 6, 8, and 10. I took two Succeed electrolyte caps, one at 4 and one at 8. That seems to have worked fine; I didn't feel hungry or thirsty at the end. My GPS says I burned 1535 calories.