I ran a hilly half marathon today in Lake George, NY. The race’s website even called the course “challenging”, with two long climbs and then some rolling hills throughout. I drove it yesterday after bib pickup and was having some second thoughts about running it. But my plan was to do this as a training run, not race, and save my next PR attempt for a more forgiving course in two weeks.
The weather was awesome, mid-40s and overcast with little wind. I wore throw away arm warmers and a tank top. I really wanted the arm warmers to cover up my watch so I wouldn’t be tempted to peek at it.
I used the first few miles as a warm up and let people pass. I knew the first big hill started in mile 2. I think only one person passed me for good from that point on. For the next bunch of miles, I just tucked in behind a couple gals running at a pace I felt comfortable with and we traded positions a couple times. One was rather hilariously singing along to her music. Badly. She entertained me for about 8+ miles.
This was a smaller race (it was a victim of previous years mismanagement by the now defunct Reinke Sports Group, which is now subject to lawsuits nationwide from what I can tell via Google), with an out and back along Lake George. The route was really pretty. I was surprised when it was around mile six before I saw the leaders pass the other direction. The turnaround was just past mile seven. While the course was challenging, I think the field was slower than previous years due to the bad races by Reinke. Still, I was excited to see that not that many women were ahead of me.
We had a couple good climbs on the return, and I think those may have worn out the people I was shadowing. By mile 11, I passed about 5 people. I felt really strong and knew it was mostly downhill to the finish, so I hit the gas a little. Some guy, one I hadn’t noticed so he came from behind, flew by me (awesome kick, dude!). But basically I was alone the last two miles.
The course ran through town, then we had to take a hard right then hard left up a crushed stone path that was at an incline. Not terrible, but it’s always one of those things that’s tough mentally at the end of a race. I couldn’t see the timing clock until I had maybe 100 meters to go and was shocked to see it was at 1:49:4x. My previous PR was an even 1:53 on a flatflatflat course in New Orleans in January this year, but my goal had been sub-1:50. When I noticed the time, I exclaimed aloud, “Holy shit, are you kidding?” And then I floored it and crossed the finish at 1:49:55.
Splits: 8:27, 8:24, 8:42 (hill), 8:51 (hill), 8:29, 8:40 (small hill), 8:35, 8:32, 8:25, 8:43 (hill), 8:20 (hill) 8:03, 7:49 (these are slightly off because my garmin went a little haywire during the second half so some of these paces were actually a bit faster but who knows how much in each mile. Can’t quite count on the Garmin 100%, so it’s good I’m relying less on it during runs).
Shout out to 3C Race Productions for putting on a great event. I’d been worried about the shoulder being a little narrow, especially around blind curves, but they had the entire route marked with cones and gave us reasonable space (although if it had been a larger race, passing would’ve been tough) and I felt safe. I ran without music/audiobook, and I was really glad I did because we ran with rather than against traffic.
I knew it was my head that’s been holding me back, but I still have to say I’m stunned I PR’d by so much on that course. My goals going into this were to get in hill practice (both up and down), not hurt myself and not walk. The back-of-my-mind goal was to sub-2 hour it, but I really didn’t expect to. It’s a good thing I didn’t look at my watch and psyche myself out because I know I would’ve freaked if I’d known my pace.
I was 5th female and took second in the 40-49 age group and got a cool pint glass.
Not a bad training run. I got out of my own way. 😎