Race Report: Fall City Half Marathon

Fall City Half Marathon

We had a great day yesterday at the inaugural Fall City Half Marathon, so I thought I’d throw the race a little love and write a quick race report.

The day started off a bit odd ,and I was feeling significantly under prepared. I came down with a head cold 5 or 6 days before the race and let it throw me off my game, thinking that I wouldn’t be able to race well given the circumstances. So, instead of making the most of the situation, I “gave up” on my performance well before the gun ever went off. And as a result, I woke up at 6am and didn’t have any of my usual pre-race rituals lined up. No whole wheat bagels. No bananas. No Gatorade+, etc. It was a poor effort on my part, but I prepped the best I could and made my way out to Fall City for the 8am start.

It was absolutely pouring when I left the house, but the weather ended up being perfect for a half marathon. It was in the low 50s with no rain/wind. I arrived at the event at about 7:30, just enough time to quickly grab my packet and get a warm up in. Although I must say, I got one of the last legal parking spots so next year I think I’ll get there a little earlier!

The crowd began to funnel from inside the gym a few minutes before the start, but everyone ended up having to wait a few extra minutes as the start was delayed until 8:05. Not a big deal, as I’ve certainly had worse, but I overheard a few people who were upset with the delay.

Here’s how the race went down:

Miles 1-3: Nothing significant happened here. This was a pretty small race, with only about 400 people running and per usual in a race this size the front was spread out pretty quickly. I ended up running with a group of 3 for most of this (very slightly downhill) section, but toward the end of the 3rd mile I was doing most of the pacing. We clicked off miles at 6:08, 6:11, and 6:10 – but I could tell that I was going to quickly be in “no man’s land” if I didn’t make some sort of small move.

Mile 3.5: Ran by a field where a group of men were duck hunting. Literally shooting guns a few hundred feet away as we ran by. They must’ve taken out an entire flock, or gaggle, or whatever. That’s a first!

Mile 4: A super flat mile (like most of them). I made a small surge to catch up to a few other runners, and ended up passing a few to catch up to someone who was running consistently in the 6:10 range. Mile 4 was a 6:04 (assist goes to duck hunters)

Mile 5-7: I lost my “running buddy” at mile 5 because his shoe came untied and he had to stop, and all of the sudden I was in no man’s land again. The next closest runner was a good 20 seconds ahead of me, and there was a similar distance to the next closest behind. I was on my own – the exact thing I wanted to avoid! There is a small uphill in mile 6, (so my split was a little off ) but the important thing to note about this section is that the turn around isn’t half way into the race. It’s at almost exactly 6 miles, leaving you another .55 before you officially hit the half way mark. A little deceiving, so be carful with your pacing! Splits: 6:11, 6:17, 6:11

Mile 8-9: Plugging along all by my lonesome. Splits: 6:12, 6:10.

Mile 10-11: At this point, I could feel myself starting to fade, so I turned to some positive mental energy. Something to the tune of “You’re better, faster, stronger” than the guy in front of me, who I was beginning to real in. It was a concerted effort to not let the pace fall off, and it was getting harder and harder to hold. But it ended up working. By mile 10.5 I had reeled in the next runner and was in 6th place overall. Splits: 6:05, 6:03.

Mile 11.25: Just after passing someone, I was passed. I tried to get on his hip and run with him, but couldn’t hang. Clearly not better, faster, or stronger than him! Back to 7th overall.

Mile 12-13.1: The end of this race is pretty interesting. It’s not a pure out and back course, so the last two miles are different than the first two. What that really means is that they threw in a .5 mile hill at the end of the 12th mile. Not exactly fun at that point in the race, but it isn’t anything to be nervous about. The only downside is that all the elevation you gained running up is lost quickly on the backside – to the point where I was breaking on the way down because it was too steep to glide. I was hoping to make up some time on the way in, but didn’t. Final Splits: 6:20, 6:06, 5:38 pace (kick!)

Overall, a great race. I really liked the scenery, the course was great along with the volunteers. I was hoping to run 1:20:xx, but given the cold earlier in the week I am happy with 1:21:24 for an average pace of 6:13. (I had the course measured at 13.20 miles, and 6:10 average pace for that duration). It ended up being a 12ish second PR and a 4 second negative split!

So make note – keep the faith. You never know how the race will turn out until you run it!

You can check out the Strava details in all their glory here: http://www.strava.com/activities/88616517/overview 

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