Arrived Friday night before the race on Saturday which started at 7:30am. I prepped for the race with the traditional pasta in some light marinara sauce. Luckily, we arrived early enough to pickup our race packets to avoid worrying about getting them the next morning. Returned to the hotel room to stretch out and relax to some mindless television. I turned in at about 10:30 which is pretty much my normal bed time these days( I know pretty lame).
I slept better than usual before a race and only woke up once during the night. 5:30am wakeup with a bagel & PB for breakfast. We met up with a few more people who arrived later than us from Lexington and all rode together to the starting line at the WV capital.
It was about a mile walk from the car to the start line which was a good warmup. No sense running 2-3 miles to warmup for a 15 mile race at least in my mind anyway. I lined up in the 2nd-3rd row area behind the Kenyans. This race imports around 5-10 elite racers since they give cash prizes.
The race was started by a civil war era cannon which was unpredictable when it would fire so the start time was a little off. The first 3 miles I spent trying to get into a rhythm shooting for 6:45 min miles skipping the initial water stops. The only challenging part was crossing over a bridge during this span which was a dramatic change in elevation. At mile 4 the climb began, with the infamous 1.2 mile Capitol Hill. I kept my pace steady focusing on being consistent through the climb. At the top of this monster, there wa a switch back for yet more climbing for another .25 miles. People were dropping like flies going through the climb. After the switch back, there were several more steep rolling hills all resulting in more climbing through mile 7 at which point I walked through a water station and took my first GU. From miles 7-8, we had about a 1 mile descent back to the river and bridge we had prueviously crossed. Actually, this was the most challenging part of the race to not shred my quads during the descent which I witnessed many people doing. I crossed the 8 mile marker at 56:57 which I wasn't very pleased with as I was hoping for a sub-7 min pace despite the difficult course. For hydration, I implored a walking thru the water stations to make sure I got plenty of water since I made the mistake in my first half-marathon of getting de-hydrated and dying in the last 2 miles(literally should have went to the hospital for fluids during that one). Miles 8-11 were uneventful as I picked-off several people who passed me in the hills. At mile 12, I took another GU which I probably should have took at mile 11 as I was feeling tired at this point. The course was flat with a few rollers until the end. I continued to pick people off as I went along, but I must say I got passed by one person during this span to my dismay. The finish of the race was at Laidley Field with the last 300 meters being around the track. Of course, I picked it up for the last 300m.
I ended finishing with a time of 1:46:27 which was about 2 mins slower than I had hoped for. The course was the most challenging I have ever run with about a 800-1000ft elevation change. I do feel like I could've ran a bit harder in the last 7 miles, but with my previous experience I was more worried about finishing. My walk-thru the water station tatic was something new which of course added to my time, but I was never worried about being de-hydrated at least. I ended finishing 50th overall. I must say I normally can barely walk after a race so either I'm in better shape or I held-back some during the race. Either way I'm happy about not being beatup like I normally am.