Race Recap: NCR Half Marathon

AKA the half marathon that I almost didn’t run.

The NCR half was one of the final races in my run club’s Grand Prix Series and, well, I really didn’t NEED to run it. I have already logged the 4 required races for the series and topped my AG in all of them so anything beyond that was just a bonus. But I have the Baltimore Half next Saturday and I did want to get in one 13.1 trainer beforehand. This would be a great way to do it. Unfortunately my foot was not in agreement.

I was hurting. In the week before the race I was one click away from emailing the RD and signing up to volunteer instead. As part of the series we have to volunteer for one race this season and I figured if my toes wouldn’t cooperate I might as well help out.

After a couple days rest things started feeling a little better though, so I decided to go for it.

Race time was 8am on the NCR trail. The course would take us a little more than 3 miles north, turn around, run past the start and then south for a little more than 3 miles, turn around yet again and back to the start again. I’d be lying if I said I was wild about this idea, but the weather was downright chilly, and a bunch of friendly people were out to run. And $2 entry. I can’t say no to $2 entry.

As has become my always-routine, I ran a warm up and my foot felt like hell at first, but loosened up a bit as I went. This would only be the second organized half marathon I had ever run and my longest run since May so I wasn’t sure how to tackle it. My club has a bunch of very fast folks and at the start of the race I had to remind myself over and over again to not get too overzealous; let people pass me and conserve my energy even if it meant I fell all the way to the back of the pack. I would be running for a long time.

Honestly I think I took a nap for the first several miles and really did feel like I was dead last until the leaders started passing me, the turnaround was right there, and I realized I wasn’t doing nearly as badly as I thought. At that point I started concentrating more on who was in front of me and pacing them. There was this guy in purple shorts that I followed for awhile. His gait was very relaxed which kept me relaxed. And then an older man who I followed for several miles and I think he got really tired of me. Next I started gaining on a girl in pink compression socks. I was feeling great. My playlist was really fun and I was singing along and having a blast. I sailed past the starting line again knowing that I only had half a race to go, a fact that put a huge smile on my face.

Nearing the second turnaround, I noticed I had made up some time on the leaders…well the women anyway. (The guy who won finished in 1:17:57 and no one else was really even close.) I could feel that I was pacing everything just right. The last 3 miles were a blur and before I knew it I was passing the finish clock with a new half marathon race PR. Not bad considering that I almost didn’t show up.

Why do I always do well in races where I almost don’t show up? I should almost not show up more often.


And my happy little splits:

1    8:32    1.00    
2    8:21    1.00    
3    8:11    1.00    
4    7:48    1.00
5    7:50    1.00    
6    7:59    1.00    
7    7:56    1.00    
8    7:52    1.00
9    8:03    1.00    
10   8:03    1.00    
11   7:51    1.00    
12   7:56    1.00
13   7:47    1.00    
14    1:18    .18  

SO HAPPY with the splits. One thing I have been working on during my blog break is running by feel and it has really shown in my times lately.

I ended up 6th female overall and 1st in my AG, which doesn’t make a difference in the final standings, but it sure is nice to see all the little 1’s after my name! The final race of the series is a cross-country 5 miler and after the cross country debacle in June that kicked off NotBeingAbletoWalkapalooza 2014 I think I’ll get my volunteer credit at that one instead.

Run club events are always fun so beyond the PR I’m so glad I went out that day. Great weather, happy people, plenty of refreshments, and although I thought the logistics of the course would be awful, it was actually quite pleasant. The icing on the cake came as I was walking up to my car and who should I see, but my sweet little B and Mr. Salt! He had gotten confused about where the finish line was so they didn’t see me run, but it was so awesome getting a big hug from my girl after a great race. Followed up by a giant Starbucks because some things never change.

Baltimore Half…I’m coming for you! I want that crab medal! I hear it doubles as a bottle opener. I wonder if I can use it to get a cork out.




54 thoughts on “Race Recap: NCR Half Marathon

  1. Hailey says:

    Wow! That is amazing considering how this post started out! Nothing like a happy ending!! Huge congratulations to you!! I cannot wait to read about your next one!:)

  2. Annie at TheLittleGSP.com says:

    Congratulations! It sounds like you had a wonderful, relaxing race – the best kind of PR! Relaxed or not though, I can’t believe that you are able to sing along with your playlist as you run a half marathon at 8:00 pace. You are crazy!! (In a good, happy, runner way.)

  3. Tina Muir (@tinamuir) says:

    I honestly think you would not have run as fast if you did not take your nap the first few miles, that is the best way to run. Doesn’t it feel so much better to pass than be passed? Keep it up! Good things are coming your way! and CONGRATS on your finish 🙂

  4. SuzLyfe says:

    HOT DAMN. I’ve often found that the races and such that we aren’t expecting anything from are the ones that we blow out of the water, largely because we relax and just let them happen. You are going to make those crab medals your BITCH.

  5. Sun says:

    Congrats on a great race – 6th place female and 1st AG is not too shabby 😉

    Sounds like this was the perfect tune-up for the Baltimore Half – that crab medal is yours!

  6. FLRunnerBoy says:

    The moral of this story whenever you don’t want to race do it!!! lol 🙂 congrats on the suprise PR Salt!!! And a 2$ registration!!! How can I get in on that action. Very nice and consistent split times too. Seems like you are more than ready for the Baltimore half mary 🙂

  7. Rebecca Jo says:

    Isn’t that the way it works. The races you feel like you’re strong for, you conk out… but the ones you prepare yourself for a bad time & AWESOME! Lesson to learn – never set expectations high – you wont be disappointed 🙂
    Great job!

  8. Desiree @ RunSmiling says:

    Welcome back!! And awesome job on the half! Very nice splits! It’s funny my half marathon PR happened kinda similar too. I didn’t have a lot of expectations going into it because I really hadn’t been running that much (but it was shortly after my marathon PR so I guess the base was there). But I truly ran it for fun and barely looked at my watch. It’s so fun when you surprise yourself isn’t it?

  9. rundoodlerun says:

    Nice work!! It’s always such a treat to have a great race when you’re expecting the worst – and bonus points for a PR *and* AG placement!

    I ran this race as well and really enjoyed it. It was the flattest, smallest half I’ve done but I was pacing a training partner through her first half and used it as a last long training run before Army and Baltimore. Good luck next week!

  10. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes says:

    Good luck this weekend and congrats on another great race! I may have to do some races in Baltimore just so I can come see you! BTW, we need to arrange a meetup with you and Helly!

  11. Tina Muir says:

    NICE JOB! Isn’t it funny how that happens? The races you put no pressure, no expectation on, are the races you run the best. I definitely had that problem recently! This weekend was not what i wanted, yet the half I did a month ago….6 minute pace felt easy on a hilly course, how does that work?! Good things are coming your way, those splits are proof of it…..and congrats on that PR!

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