Half Marathon #37
SC Half Marathon #28
2017 Race #4
2017 Half Marathon #2
GHS Half Marathon #4
I have a slightly less than sane habit of running half marathons (or comparable distances) two to three weeks after marathons. (15k a week after my first marathon and then the Tryon half a week after that, Camp Croft after Savannah, Spinx after Twin Cities, TR after Tobacco Road and now this one.) If I were to rank those performances, today’s would be the best by far.
When I first realized that this race would take place two weeks exactly after the marathon, I rued my urge to register for all the half marathons. Good thing I had already paid for it though or I might have been tempted to skip and run closer to home.
I persevered and headed out, with my only goal being to finish under two hours. I was on my own for this one. I didn’t mention it to mom after I noticed the timing, figuring it would take her a little longer to recover from the marathon. Plus, she is not nearly as crazy as I am.
My runs have gone phenomenally well this week so I knew that a sub 1:55 was likely in the bag.
We arrived with plenty of time to locate the bib pick up table – more on this later, pin the bib on and wait for the start.
Singlet and shorts in February? Just wrong.
Right on time we were off. I spent much of the first minute or two trying to get my music to play. No matter how hard I pressed the, the music would not start playing. I had to take the armband off, the phone out of the case, and close and reopen the app – all while also holding my handheld – before it would start. That’s one way to start a race, not one I would recommend.
Just before the start I bumped into Cindy Lucking, a local speedy masters’ runner. (She also ran the HHI 8k. I want to be her when I grow up.) Once I got my music started she commented on it and mentioned that she might stick near me so she could hear the music. I figured that we may run a few hundred yards at the same pace but she would pull away. That’s exactly what happened, although I ended up catching her near the end.
I settled into what felt like a comfortable but slightly faster than normal pace and started to really enjoy the run. I remember grinning like a fool after the one and only turn around . I loved seeing the swarms of runners still to come after us.
When I got close to where Mom had parked, I could see her thanks to her distinctive purple jacket. I gave her a little wave and thought she saw me. Nope. I waved again and then called out “hey Mom!” before she recognized that it was me and took a few pictures.
Mile 1: 8:18
Mile 2: 8:16
Mile 3: 8:12
Mile 4: 8:21
Shortly before the fourth mile marker, the course heads back onto the Swamp Rabbit Trail. I knew that it was going to be a warm day and I had just my handheld with water not my OrangeMud quiver with Gu Roctane drink. I decided to take the Gatorade offered (more on that later) starting with the second water stop.
I have no idea why this particular stop gave off a feeling of clutter and disorganization. It was placed just near the Travers Rest sign with plenty of space and volunteers. Perhaps the volunteers weren’t ready? Whatever the reason, runners were having to come to a complete stop and wait for drinks. I skipped it and decided to start taking Gatorade at the next one.
Before starting the race I had planned to walk when I ate my fuel like Mom and I have done all throughout marathon training. On a whim, I decided to try running through the refueling “pit stops” this time, walking only when I took Gatorade to avoid sloshing it all over myself. While it took some adjustment to be able to breathe while I chewed, I managed to do it. My brain did manage to forget to get the fuel a couple times so I took in a little less than I had planned.
I still felt good and purposefully avoided looking at my Garmin. I have found that I perform better with less data filling my head. )I decided this even before heading towards a minimalist lifestyle.) It was a little discouraging to see runners pass me far more frequently than I expected but I kept telling myself two things: one, I am running my own race. Two, I will catch them in a few miles.
Mile 5: 8:20
Mile 6: 8:14
Mile 7: 8:09
Mile 8: 8:15
Mile 9: 8:07
Mile 10: 8:14
Only a 5k left. I knew my pace was faster; my legs were telling me loud and clear. I knew I had a sub 2 hour half marathon in the bag and wondered if I could snag a sub 1:50. (The 1:45 pacer had passed me fairly early on in the race so I knew that was just a pipe dream.)
Just like I told myself earlier, I started to pass people, mainly guys. I love it when I get to “chick” someone.
Normally the last few miles of a half marathon pass tortuously slowly. Not this time. I kept asking myself “how far can I get, how much closer to the finish before this song ends?”
I also thoroughly enjoyed saying “thank you” to each cop manning a street crossing. This is a recently acquired habit but one that I want to keep permanently. Life is a lot more enjoyable when you practice gratefulness.
Then came the last mile. Even though this one didn’t feel any longer than the ones before, it definitely felt harder. We also had a few tight turns right before the finish as we got off the trail and onto the road that led to the finish line on the TD Stage behind the Peace Center. I passed a guy at the 13 mile mark right as I started to speed up and wondered if I could hold him off. When he sped by me two seconds later I had my answer.
I pushed as hard as I could to the finish crossing just after the clock ticked over 1:48. I had done it! I did struggle to press the button to pause my Garmin feeling a bit rushed by the volunteer handing me the medal. Two extra seconds crept into my overall time.
Mile 11: 8:06
Mile 12: 8:17
Mile 13: 8:12
Overall Finish: 1:48:11
I am absolutely thrilled that I was able to pull off a performance like this two weeks after a full marathon with minimal speed work. This time is only 9 minutes off my PR. Now I have to decide whether HHI or GHS will be my goal half next year.
Registration and Packet Pick Up
I had no issues with registration.
However, I still do not like how they handle race day bib pick up. The website states that it will be at TR High School, which it is. However, the parking lot is quite large and the actual table is not immediately visible. Thankfully, we had plenty of time to search unlike last year. Perhaps organizers could add a caveat as to its specific location?
I laughed at the description of “butter soft” that the website gave the shirt. Then I put it on. That is an apt description. I love the shirt.
There were plenty of portapotties provided. The race also offers a shuttle ($10 cost) for those who park at either end of the point to point race. Both ends also offer plenty of parking.
This is a point to point course with one out and back portion at the beginning. Very little has changed since I first ran the inaugural edition in 2012. The only things that have changed were byproducts of updates to the Swamp Rabbit Trail of which GHS is also a title sponsor. I absolutely love the Swamp Rabbit Trail and this race uses it well. It is a net downhill course. (Nothing in Greenville is downhill for longer than perhaps a mile.) The finish at the TD Stage is phenomenal. Mom commented, “No wonder so many people run this race. It is such a cool finish line.” (GTC, take note.)
There were plenty of water stops. Each had Gatorade and water. Several also had Hammer Gels. I was very thankful that the electrolyte drink provided by the race turned out to be Gatorade which I prefer. The website stated that the drink would be Hammer Heed-which I have never used-and Gu Gels for the fuel. In reality that turned out to be Gatorade and Hammer Gels. This may seem trite but runners practice with specific nutrition and often do not like or cannot tolerate a wide variety of products.
Finish line and Post Race Amenities
It is no wonder that this race continues to grow while Spinx withers. Take note GTC. This race offered water, juice, soda, two different kinds of snack bars, fruit snacks, fruit and pizza. There may have also been other things that I did not see. It is well organized and creates an atmosphere that draws people to stay and join the party.
I saw at least two photographers on the course but have not seen the photos yet.
Unlike racemine, the setup events full results were not available until a few hours later. However, you could text your bib number to a number printed on the back of the bib to get results that included your time, age group place and overall place.
This race is quickly becoming one of my all-time favorites