Dayton River Corridor Classic "Half Marathon" Race Report

Like I said in yesterday's entry, Karen and I ran a Half Marathon on Sunday to get our final long run before Columbus out of the way. And why wouldn't we want to do that racing? It seemed like a no brainer at the time, as racing is way more fun that long training runs. Plus getting a new tech shirt and a medal also has to factor into that decision heavily.

I made the decision to treat this run as a tempo run. It was going to be a race pace goal for me, so I wanted to take it quite a bit quicker than I would normally run a long run. But I felt like if I could maintain just faster than MGP, I would feel much more confident going into Columbus this coming weekend.

I arrived at the University of Dayton arena (where the start, finish, and parking was located) around quarter till 8. Karen was planning on arriving around 8, so I went ahead inside, got my bib and my shirt (this race was NOT chip timed) and used the bathroom (REAL bathrooms. I was pretty darn excited about that!) After that, I got back in my car to hang out and wait for her. She knocked on my window a few minutes later, scaring me. She said that my bright blue car (I named her Betty the Blue Beast) is pretty easy to spot even in a large parking lot with a lot of other cars!
Oh, yes, she is that obnoxiously blue.

We got her all settled, used the bathroom a few more times, and finally we were off to line up at the start. We decided that we wanted to be fairly close to the start so our finish times and garmin times would be pretty close to each other. That always makes it a lot easier, I think. It was not long then before the gun went off. Karen took off ahead of me, that was our plan. She really wanted to PR and her current PR is quite a bit faster than mine, so we chose to run our own races.

We started off running along the main drag in front of the arena, and quickly turned over a bridge. The run appeared to focus on the river. It was not long before we were going downhill to be on the river level along a bike path.

Mile 1 - 8:42
Mile 2 - 8:46

We continued along the river bike path. We went under a lot of bridges for the roads above, and I felt like my garmin might be losing satellite every now and again, especially when we got to a sign for mile 3 and my watch said 2.56. I shouted to the folks behind me (as I could hear them commenting on the same thing) "WOW! I am running even faster than my garmin!" It was at that point that we all started to notice that something was a little off. We kept on running though because at that point, it was early enough in the race that we just felt like there could have been a little bit of a mix up. Around mile 4 was the first water station. We were on the bike trail still so there were also "real" bathrooms at the stop. I was still feeling good though, so I proceeded without water and without the bathroom.

Mile 3 - 8:49
Mile 4 - 8:53
Mile 5 - 8:55

By the time we got into the 6th mile (by my garmin) they were still measuring at the next mile (so the sign for mile 7 came at 6.56) but I guess everything was really consistent with my garmin, so I at least knew where I was exactly. We left the bike bath and headed into a park. We wove around the trails in the park, past a little playground and through a small wooded area. It was at that point that we saw the leader on his way back - leading me to realize that at least this small portion through the part was an out and back. We continued through the park, over a small footbridge and somewhere after that I saw Karen on her way back. She saw me as well and we waved across the field we were separated by. She seemed to be slowing down a bit from where she started but I didn't have time to worry about her. I finished the "out" part and started my turn around, taking in a gu around mile 7. We were through 8 by the time we left the park and headed back out onto the streets.

Mile 6 - 8:55
Mile 7 - 8:39
Mile 8 - 8:59

Right around their sign for mile 9 (therefore at 8.56 by the garmin) I had my first encounter with Steve. I was wearing my t-shirt from the Glass City Marathon (my original goal race in the spring where I ran the half) and Steve asked me if I came all the way down from Toledo for the race. I told him no, I was originally from Toledo, but I live in Cincinnati now. (By the way, when I saw the guy who was leading, HE was from Toledo! I could tell from his singlet that said Dave's Running) Steve was probably in his early to mid-60s and he told me that he had run this race every single year (it was the 36th this past weekend). We didn't talk too much then as we headed back down to the bike trail to continue the race along the river, this time on the other side of it, the same side we started on. The next time we spoke was when there was a small section of bike trail out, and there was a large pile of stones/gravel under the overpass and I made the remark to Steve "wow, a little bit of trail running here!" We happened to be running alongside a guy who was sporting a t-shirt that said "Dayton Barefoot Runners" and had, you guessed it, completely bare feet. I felt a little bad for him.

Mile 9 - 9:03
Mile 10: 8:56
Mile 11: 8:58

If you were anywhere near here on Sunday, you will know that it was windy. We were getting gusts of around 30 mph and it was starting to kick in around this point. We ran up a large hill to get back to the main road which would take us back to the finish and I was really starting to feel blown around by the wind. It was starting to get to me. I stopped and walked about 10 steps when I felt a hand on my back and heard Steve say "C'mon, you can do it" and I started running again. It had become apparent that this race was going to end up short after all, as I could see the finish line at the arena. I kicked it as much as I could in that gusting wind and headed for home.

Mile 12: 9:08 (stupid wind!)
Mile 0.66: 5:49

Total 12.66 Miles in 1:52:32

As you can see, my "0.56" at the mile marks turned out to be dead on, since we should have been at 13.1 miles. I didn't worry about that at the time though, even if I had run the rest, I would have PR'd! Steve finished right behind me and I turned around and gave him a sweaty hug (we were both sweaty so it did not matter) and thanked him for the kick in the pants when I needed it most.

(I looked pretty good, all things considered, don't I?)

Thank you Steve, wherever you are, for picking me up and getting me a big PR!

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