I ran the Frederick Running Festival Half Marathon on Sunday May 8th. I finished in 1:42:17 which is a PR by 1:07.
This race is practically right in my back yard and was the first race longer than a 5K that I ever ran. That was in 2010 and I have run it four times since then. I missed 2011 and 2015 due to injury.
I didn't register early because I ran The Boston Marathon in April and I have a history of getting injured while running marathons. After recovering from Boston I felt pretty good so I decided to sign up. I got in touch with a couple of friends, Linda and Jesse that I did a lot of training runs with over the winter to see if they wanted to run it together. Both of them had other goal races either the week before or the week after but Linda said she was signed up. We agreed to run it together at "fun run" pace.
The night before the race Linda and I made plans to meet up near the 1:45:00 pacers. I have to mention that Linda ran a HM the weekend before in 1:36:xx AND had a bike race the day before this race. I love running with Linda because she is faster than I am and easy to talk to. It's good to run with people that push you, even when they aren't trying to.
On race day my legs felt like spaghetti in my warm up run and I thought 1:45:00 might be too fast for me. Linda and I found each other near the pace group as planned and agreed to stay with them for a while and then drop back if necessary.
The race started and we were off. Linda and I chatted about races, kids, Mother's Day plans and anything else that came to mind for the first few miles. As we reached the 3 mile marker I noticed we we had passed the 1:45 pacers. The pacers sounded like they were a lot of fun and I could hear them behind us cheering on their group but I never saw them again.
As we progressed through the course I mentioned once or twice that we were moving a bit faster than planned. I tried to slow down a few times but eventually I gave up and just went with it.
I'm not very good at remembering details about races. The course winds through Frederick and is mostly flat. There is nice crowd support in some places but it isn't like a big city race. We went through the main drag (Market Street), around Baker Park and through Hood College. The only notable hill comes shortly after passing the 11 mile mark. It's long but not overly steep. Once you climb that you've got it made.
I finished feeling good and was surprised later to see that I beat my PR. I haven't trained for a goal half marathon in a couple years because I have focused on running the marathon distance. I know that this PR is "soft" for me because I ran a 1:41 first half split in a marathon. I think I could probably get down to a 1:37 or 1:36 if I train for it.
Since this wasn't a goal race, I decided to experiment with recording my splits manually instead of using auto-lap. I did pretty well, only forgetting to press the button twice.