Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Race Report: Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon 2013

On April 6, 2013 I ran the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon in Springfield, IL.  This was a race that I signed up for in 2012 so I would have a race under my belt for the marathon at the end of April.

The goal of this marathon was to enjoy it and run at my marathon pace.  Since I have been training for a marathon my speed is a little slower than in the past so I knew there would be no personal record today.  My goal was to run it under 1:45 and I came in at 1:44.

Overall - 159/1475
Age Group - 25/101
All Men - 131/1639

This is a really well ran race and a unique one too.  The route takes you back in history by running by the Old State Capitol, Abe Lincoln's home, Lincoln's tomb, other historical sites.

The race started by the Lincoln Presidential Museum with Abe Lincoln greeting all of the runners and wishing us well then the race was officially started with a musket volley from the 114th Volunteer Regiment.

The conditions were pretty good, except for the wind, with  temperatures in the low 50's.

The first half of the course was pretty flat.  My goal was to do the first 2 miles at an 8 minute pace then settle into a 7:40-7:45 mile pace until we got the hilliest part of the course.  Well, I started a little quicker doing the first 2 miles at a 7:40 pace but I did not feel I was pushing too hard.

A mental defeat was realized about mile 2 when I noticed that my bottle holding my Hammer gel popped out of its holster.  The race had Gu gel but my stomach cannot tolerate that brand which is why I use Hammer products.  I usually take a gel about every 5 miles.  Time would tell if this would affect my effort level.

There were a few small hills in the first part of the race nothing too steep or too long.  The first big hill was just after mile 7.  You could see this hill as you were running down the preceding hill that led up to it.  I powered up the hill at a pretty good pace but was a little gassed at the top but kept on with my pace.

The first 8 miles I was feeling pretty good averaging a 7:40 pace then came mile 9.  Mile 9 took runners into Oak Creek Cemetery where Lincoln's tomb is.  You go  down a pretty good hill to then run up a good long hill by the tomb.  Although I struggled to get up hill somewhat I did take a moment to relish in the American history I was in.  I have never been there, and even though I was running through it, it was still pretty neat.

At this point, the two previous hills were starting to catch up to me because my pace slowed down.  Then around mile 10 the route took you through Lincoln Park where it was up and down with at least three good hills if I remember right.  This is where my pace fell apart.  I just could not power up the hills like I had hoped.  I kept thinking to myself it would have been nice if  I had my gels to consume and give me a little energy boost.  Wasn't the case today.  There is one last steep hill coming out of Lincoln Park and at the top, on the pavement, read, "Last Hill".  Thank God.  But by this point I was literally out of gas.  I ran mile 12 at a 8:49 pace which is slow for me.  As we got closer to the finish I didn't even have enough for the final kick.

My marathon pace is between 7:45 and 8:00.  I always kept an eye on my pace knowing at a 8:00 pace in today's race would get me my 1:45 goal time. At mile 12 I realized that the only way I could not get my goal time was if I stopped and walked.  Since this was not my "A" race and there was no chance at a PR I just backed off and coasted the last mile or so.

Overall, I was happy with my race and had a great time running this event.  The volunteers do a great job.  All of the intersections were closely manned with volunteers and there were plenty of water stations.  The volunteers were also very encouraging.  My legs were definitely sore from the hills.  The next day my previously injured hamstring was bothering me but thankfully it started to feel better by Monday.

If running through history isn't enough for you, you can also get your picture taken with Abe Lincoln, and you get one of the best medals I have ever seen....a giant penny!

I recommend this race to anyone.

Now, I got a few more weeks to go before my first "A" race in 2013.  The Illinois Marathon.

Train.   Race.  Repeat.

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