I ran the Downhill at Dawn half marathon this past Saturday. This was my second time running it, and I intentionally took fewer photos. I did not intentionally kill the batteries for my Garmin so I would be running without a watch.
The race begins at 6:01 a.m. and you have to be on the property (near the start) by 5:30 a.m. It’s really dark at 5:15 a.m.
This year was the seventh year for the race. They cap the runners at 500 (and sold out weeks before the race, but there were enough people who couldn’t run, they ended up allowing the entire wait list run.) I signed up for the race back in December, and I think it cost about $50. Totally reasonable. Different this year was the race shirt – it was a cotton/polyester blend shirt (very soft, very wearable when you’re NOT running.) Last year, it was a technical shirt.
(This photo is from the race’s Facebook page. Gorgeous, right?)
The race starts at 6:01 a.m. and true to it’s name, it’s mostly downhill. It starts on a downhill, you do an out and back covering 4 miles, and then head onto dirt/gravel roads that eventually turn to a paved road before you finish on an uphill. The final few miles are fairly flat and slightly uphill. After running 6 or 7 miles downhill, the flat roads were hard for me.
(Another Facebook photo from the race. I’m in the middle! Not the greatest photo, and I was also running uphill. Go figure.)
I grabbed this photo at mile 4.
Mile 1 – 9:17
Mile 2 – 9:01
Mile 3 – 9:54
Mile 4 – 11:17 (I stopped to take the sunrise photo, and put my phone in my iFitness belt.)
Mile 5 – 10:34
Mile 6 – 10:09
Mile 7 – 9:32
Mile 8 – 9:47
Mile 9 – 8:55
Mile 10 – 10:19
Mile 11 – 9:47
Mile 12 – 10:20
Mile 13 – 10:05
My official/chip time was 2:05:08. (My time last year was 2:00.) My training pace has averaged close to 10:30 to 11-minute miles. I was pretty stoked with what I ran on Saturday.
Different (for me) this year. I did not train as hard as last year. I stopped at mile 6 to make sure a fellow runner was ok. (She ended up not finishing. I felt awful for her.) I also stopped at mile 12 to make sure another runner was ok. (He was.) When I stopped at mile 6, I knew then that this was not going to be a PR for me. At mile 9, though, I was on track to beat last year’s time. I hit a wall, though, around mile 10. I just couldn’t run any faster. (Except, I did run faster in mile 11. But then I slowed down again at the 12th mile.)
It’s a small race and it’s local. These are both great things for me. It’s a beautiful course, and there are aid stations every two miles. It’s well marked and I just love this race! Of course, I’m sore three days later, but that’s to be expected. My quads hate me. And I had some pretty brutal blisters on Saturday.