Parking lot half Marathon

Race 13.1 Richmond Half LogoThis event was part of the 13.1 running series. An extra medal for finishing 3 of the 13.1 events and this one was my third. My friend Roland accelerated his endurance portion of the training to join me during this trip. It was going to be about a 2 1/2 hours of driving to get to the event, so we decided for me to pick him up at 3:00 AM to drive to Richmond VA that morning.

With my alarm sounding about 1:45 AM, for me to be ready and do final set up of running gear before I left the house. I ate my oatmeal and prepared my coffee before I headed out. Once again reserving the banana for about 1hr before the start of the event. After picking my friend up, we drove to Richmond and found the place with no problem. (Thanks to my wife which took the time to find out the location and printed out for us the directions) The event was held at the International Racetrack in Richmond. The starting area was great just outside the racetrack with well suited bathrooms. A very nice starting area and well organized.

We waited for a little in the car. I ate my banana and proceeded to do a quick warm-up run. About a mile of jogging around the parking lot area, couple loops, good enough to start breaking a sweat. At this point, the parking area was all loose gravel, so I am trying to be very careful not to twist an ankle. A quick bathroom stop and walked to the starting corral. After a few announcements we started at 7:00 AM sharp.

The plan was to hold in the back for a little while and then we will press the pace in pursue of the 2:30 hour pacer. Since this was a to finish event for me and the 1st long event for my friend after a very long offseason there was no reason to push anything more than just an easy pace. The 1st three miles took us around the building structure, inside the complex anmd around the race track (which was cool) and along a side paved road for a quick turn around. The first sign that this event was going to be interesting came early after that, while exiting the track the runners still coming in to do the track loop crossed the one going out. Strange way to set up the route, perhaps the coordinators thought that all runners were going to be already on the track by the time the 1st round of runners were reaching the out portion of it. I thought ok, no problem, it is the 1st time for this event here, next year they just need to do minor adjustments.

As we continue the route, after a steep short hill, we got into a different section of a parking lot. Once again somewhat loose gravel, similar to the warm up mile, but with some ups and down hills. At this time I am thinking this is unfortunate, the race coordinators could not find some paved area, track, road or some compacted gravel or trail. But we continue, at this time we held a steady good pace, passing lots of people. A woman which we saw earlier waving and exchanging encouragement notes, with I believe was her husband, which was about 1/4 to 1/2 mile ahead of us, it looked like she was struggling a bit this early in the event. She was passing us and the walking some. Once we caught up with her, she mentioned that she was trying to keep up with us and started to match our pace. We hang a little bit at slower pace while she started running again. We exchange additional words of encouragement and continued jogging. My friend sped up in an upcoming hill, while I hang back for about 200 meters, but she quickly slowed down even more, so I sped up caught up with Roland and continued the event.

The few miles in  later part of the event got hot, humid but the sun stayed behind the clouds and sugars were holding fine. I kept some light conversation to keep our minds away from the distance and the length of the event. We came across another cross section in which runners were crossing paths. At this time I was getting a little bit disappointed about this race. A really bad course layout, too much loose gravel and uneven surfaces. Also running in a parking lot did not offer much of a change of views to keep it interesting.

Miles 8-13 were really hard, some walking on and off, still targetting getting to the finish line before 2:30 mark. We encounter a few runners just a bit ahead of us that we decided we were not going to let them finish before us. There was a Green, a Striped legs, Grey 1 & Grey 2 and the Challenge of Blue runners. Those were the names we were using to refer to them. The last three miles we manage to pass each other several time and with about 1/3 of a mile to go we basically caught up with another group of runners and off we went to the finish line.

I have to be honest, I could of sprint hard until the end, but watching the runners going at it toward the finish line was a lot of fun to watch. And I mean it in a good way, it was very hot, each one of them were very tired and in pain. With heavy breathing and their legs about to fail, they dug up really deep and found the energy to run faster with determination to complete the event with strong finish.

At the finish line, there was plenty of water, pizza, oranges and other goodies. I walked to the event tent and claimed my 13.1 3X medals. There were only a few names on the list and I was only able to see two people in the crowd of runners with the medal as well. Although I had a lot of fun, this will not be an event that I will problably do again. Start/Finish line area was excellent, but the course layout was one of the worst that I have run to date.

Richmond 13.1 Half Marathon

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May-15;;;13.1 Richmond;;;VA;;;Half;;;2:39:55;nn;
[/vtftable] [vtftable cols=”{0}0:c9daf8;{/}”] Event Highlight & Learning Points;nn;Highlights:

Course: One of the worst routes for a half marathon. Other than going around the speedway (which it was great) the rest was basically running around the parking lot.

Venue: Start/finish was ok. At the finish area the post event has some food, plenty to drink.

Expo: No Expo

Weather: Overcast skies, 64º with 94% humidity.

Fueling: Pre-Race: 1 serving Hot Cereal, banana and Latte.

Race: Water at the water station. Carried E-Fuel and E-Gels.

Post: Water.

Learning Points:

    • Not all marathons are going to be a great experience. Be ready for the unexpected.