Race Recap: Rivertown Races Half Marathon
When I registered for the Rivertown Races Half Marathon, the plan was to treat it as a training run rather than a race. Only six days after the Lansing Half Marathon, where I was gunning for (and got!) a PR, I knew my legs would be in no condition to race again that soon. But, since I had 12 miles on my training plan, part of the course would overlap the 25k route for the Riverbank Run and the registration was only $35 – dirt cheap for a half marathon – it was a no brainer to register.
Watching the pre-race ceremonial events – they had some children singing the national anthem which would have been cuter if they had been miked so we could hear them.
The first half of the race felt absolutely awesome. My legs felt fresh, the sun was shining, I was having a great time! I stuck with Bari and we maintained a good pace, even with some pretty serious hills. It was an out and back course, so I knew that we’d have to face them not once, but twice. I was determined to not let them defeat me, although the second time around was definitely more of a challenge – mentally and physically.
Within the first five miles, I knew I had overdressed for the weather. The temperatures were around 40 degrees at the start, but 60 degrees by the time we crossed the finish line. With the sun beating down, it felt even hotter. In my capris and 3/4 length sleeve shirt, I was a mess pretty early on. I was able to push the sleeves up a bit, but that only provided some relief. There were definitely moments in that first half that I kept thinking at this rate, I’ll have another PR on my hands – which was exactly how I knew I needed to slow it down.
After we reached the turnaround point and headed back to the finish line, the wind started to pick up, which made for harder running conditions, but helped with the temperature. A mixed blessing, I think. Around mile 10, my knee started to hurt a bit more than it has in awhile and while I tried to push through for a bit, I had to remind myself that this was supposed to be a training run, not a race. With the 25k two weeks out, taking care of myself was more important than my time. Bari and I ran together up to this point, but I knew I was going to slow down, so I told her to go ahead without me. I knew at that point, finishing was going to be more about the mental challenge than the physical because the mind games were really getting to me.
Mile 1: 10:16
Mile 2: 10:37
Mile 3: 10:15
Mile 4: 10:16
Mile 5: 9:57
Mile 6: 10:18
Mile 7: 10:44
Mile 8: 10:46
Mile 9: 11:42
Mile 10: 11:58
Mile 11: 11:49
Mile 12: 11:58
Mile 13: 12:33
Mile 0.19: 3:36 (forgot to stop my Garmin at the finish)
My chip time was 2:24:29 and I placed 253/295. It was my second fastest half marathon! A very pleasant surprise given the hills and the heat, especially for my second half in less than a week – and that I went into it thinking training run, not race day.
I had to laugh when I was coming up to the finish line, the announcer kept saying it was my 21st birthday! Thank you, sir, but quite accurate. It did help me cross the finish line with a smile on my face – I was not feeling the joy by that point. BOOM. Half marathon #4 in the books and more bling to add to the collection.
Do I look as tired as I felt? I made a beeline for the first shaded spot I could find after I crossed the finish line!
All in all, it was a well-organized race, especially for their first year. With all of the flooding in Grand Rapids, they had to re-route the course pretty last minute, but I appreciate how well they maintained communication, both via email and their Facebook page. The new course was not ideal, largely given that it was an open course and cars were passing on a fairly consistent basis, but I understand that given the last minute changes, the race directors did the best they could. There were water/Gatorade stations every 1.5-2 miles, with Gu at miles 5 and 8, and lots of volunteer manning every station. Beyond the aid stations, there were very few spectators which was somewhat of a letdown after the great crowd support in Lansing the week before! All in all, a good race – especially for their first year!
I refueled later in the afternoon with some well-earned Chipotle. Give me all the guac, please.
A burrito bowl has never tasted so good. This has officially become my favorite post-race meal. In fairness, it’s one of my favorite meals any day of the week, so I guess that’s not saying much, now is it?