I signed up for this race just before the Nike half marathon, with very little expectations. It looked like it could be a fast course, so I told Brooke about it because I thought it would be perfect for her to get a personal record on.
The expo was small. Literally we just got our bib numbers, timing chip, technical shirt and a water bottle (if we wanted one.) And then we left. It took longer to get on the property. The start was about 25 minutes from my house and the race instructions said that we needed to be at Ridgecrest no later than 5 a.m. (for a 6:01 a.m. start.) We left my house at 4:35 a.m. and made it just before 5. (By the way, I did not sleep more than 2 solid hours the night before. I had such a difficult night. Nerves, man.)
The restrooms were at the ARC which wasn’t far from the start. We were able to use the restrooms twice. I like smaller races that have these kind of arrangements. Real bathrooms? Running water? Soap? Towels? Yes, please.
The temperatures were in the low 60s. There was a nice breeze early on. If it had just been a tad cooler, it would have been perfect, but I couldn’t really complain about the weather this time.
The start of the race was a fast downhill – and everything started on time. I don’t know why, but we were about three deep from the front of the start (so only two people in front of me.) When I realized how close to the front I was, it was too late to start moving back.
Mile one was mostly downhill, mile two was relatively flat and three was slightly uphill. The fourth mile was definitely more challenging and I stopped at mile 3.75 to take a photo of the sun rising over the mountains.
We then headed into a more wooded area and we ran a few miles on a dirt and gravel road. It was a slight downhill. I turned my ankles a couple of times (the gravel consisted of larger rocks), but nothing serious and the downhill running didn’t actually hurt at the time.
When the gravel finally ended, we were on pavement. It was a really pretty course and I loved that it wasn’t a lot of out-and-back running.
I remember my 10k time was under an hour – like around 55 or 56 minutes. It was at that point that I knew I was going to beat my PR if I kept running so well. I also thought that I could beat my personal goal (that I had told noone about) of 2:10.
I briefly stopped once to take a picture of the water and turned around to shoot a picture of the runners ahead of me. I didn’t want to stop too much because I knew it would be hard to get going again.
At around mile 10 (I think?) I saw someone I knew who had passed me early in the race. I caught up with him and knew that he wanted to chat, but I wasn’t up for chatting. I moved slightly ahead of him just so I could be by myself and keep my pace (and not feel guilty for not talking.) This was also the point that I thought I might be able to hit 2:05 if I kept running the way I was going.
Around mile 11, someone in front of me tripped. It looked painful and I asked him several times if he was okay before he finally told me he was good and gave me the thumbs up. (I later saw him on the shuttle back to the start, and he not only thanked me for checking on him, but he told me he was ok and just a little sore from that.) Oh and at mile 11 I knew that if I ran 12-minute miles, I’d still PR. I don’t know why I kept thinking weird things like the slow (for me) miles, but it was somewhat encouraging.
I noticed a couple of times that my Garmin had stopped tracking because of where we were. It was hard to keep a satellite signal and while it kept up more most of the first half of the race, it was hard to keep it when we were in the wooded area. I did have my app going on my phone, so I have split times which were insanely fast.
Mile 12: I realized that not only could I PR with a time of 2:05, but I could run even slower and PR. I also knew that if I kept my pace, I could be really close to 2:00.
Mile 13 was mostly sidewalks in Old Fort, and there was very little shade. When we hit the mile marker for 13, we had an UPHILL to the finish. When I rounded the corner and saw the timing clock, I realized that if I just kicked it and gave it everything I had, I’d finish in under 2:01.
I finished in 2:01:39. That’s a 14-minute personal record, for those who don’t have my previous times memorized!
This is what 2 PRs looks like!
Post race and with my work-friend Bo. This was his first official half marathon and he finished a few seconds ahead of me!
My mile splits (according to my running app):
Mile 1 – 8:10
Mile 2 – 8:49
Mile 3 – 9:30
Mile 4 – 10:25
Mile 5 – 9:40
Mile 6 – 8:33
Mile 7 – 9:19
Mile 8 – 7:28
Mile 9 – 7:56
Mile 10 – 7:47
Mile 11 – 9:24
Mile 12 – 8:56
Mile 13 – 9:57
.1 pace – 9:49
This race was so great and challenging in its own ways. The volunteers were excellent and there were water stops at every mile. They didn’t have Gatorade until halfway through the course, but I carried my own Gatorade (and they filled it up for me when I asked at mile 12.) There was plenty of food at the finish and I like the medal. The technical shirts we received are black and long-sleeved, but at least it fits. I don’t recall aid stations, but I didn’t need one. I’m sure the volunteers could have gotten aid if someone had needed it.
I recommend this race to any and all of my friends (as long as I can get in the race too – they’re limited because it is a small race.) It’s definitely on my list of repeat races!