After dropping out of the Derby Marathon last month, I was in need of a confidence boost. And while I didn’t think I could hit the marathon time I had trained for, I felt like I had a decent half marathon waiting to be run. (Especially since I ran close to 1:30 pace for the first 12 miles of the marathon.)
A few weeks prior, I had sent a link to my mom about a half marathon in Owensboro — more for her interest than mine. At the time I was focused on the Derby Marathon, but had been scouting for an early fall half. This Memorial Day half didn’t fit the bill, but my mom lives about 20 minutes outside Owensboro and I thought it would be a good race for her next year.
After my DNF, it was an obvious choice: cheap entry, small field, not too far, see family and friends, extra weekend day because of the holiday. It was an easy sell, especially after I reviewed the results for the past few years.
This was the sixth year for the race, which had 193 finishers this year. We stayed in a brand-new hotel on the waterfront — literally, it had been open for less than a month and the room still smelled new. There was no pre-race packet pickup, so we made the two hour drive, had dinner with my family, met up with friends for a beer at a local brewpub called CYO, toured the new waterfront park, and called it a night.
The race started at 7 a.m., which is really as late as I think they should. Sunrise in Owensboro that time of year is 5:30 — most years it is going to be hot and humid by 7. Plus, since we came in from the Eastern time zone, it was like racing at the normal time of 8 a.m. for me.
Honestly, for a race in Kentucky over Memorial Day, the weather was as near perfect as you can get. Started off around 60, got into the 70s by the time the 3-hour cutoff ended. Pretty humid, but all told, it was way better than the 5k I ran the weekend before.
We grabbed my packet in no time and I ran into another Louisville runner — a bit of a serial long-distrance racer who had already run a great time at Boston this spring and followed that up with the Derby miniMarathon a few days later. I knew April was in great shape — we’d raced eachother through the Triple Crown — and thus my previously decent chances of winning were out the window.
I knew it wouldn’t be a PR day, but if I did the old A goal, B goal, C goal deal … A would’ve been 1:30, B 1:32, C 1:34. I haven’t really done much speedwork, or even focused training, since the marathon. I did run a 5k the weekend before — in abysmal weather — and put up a 19:50. Not a terrible time but not necessarily in line with my half marathon goals.
Briefly, April made it sound like she just wanted to get her long run in with some company, I thought she might be running easy. But then she went through the first mile in 6:30 and I got my butt out of the way. (Although I still went through in 6:44 — the downside of small races is your relative location to the front of the pack!)
Another woman caught up to me around mile 1 and continued forward; I kept her in my sights the whole race but she never faltered and I never had the wheels to catch her.
Some definite, strong pros of the race: water at every mile marker, numerous sprinklers set out by residents, great police support, mostly neighborhood streets.
The cons: lots and lots of turns on the course (mostly lefts) and quite a bit of concrete. I’m not sure why Owensboro has so many concrete streets, but apparently they do.
The course was essentially two loops, one to the west of the start and one to the east. It was easy for my husband to make it from point-to-point on foot — I saw him at least four times and he got in about 11 miles.
I was really solid through 7 miles then slowed a little, averaging 6:57 for the first 7 miles and 7:08 for the last 6. The course was mostly flat, just a few little rolling hills. My Garmin had the elevation gain at 85′, for what that’s worth. I also had the course a little short, but others had it closer to accurate, so I think I must’ve done a good job hitting the tangents!
The finish line was well-stocked, and there was even a buffet breakfast available soon after. They did wait until after the race cutoff to do awards, but with the breakfast option it appeared many people stuck around.
The awards ceremony included a ton of door prizes and really big trophies. Add in a finishers medal and a tech-tee and you’ve got yourself some decent swag for a $50 race.
I’d say mission accomplished: I was able to turn my marathon training into something decent, and ffeel encouraged that I can put some work in this summer and be where I want to be in the fall.