I must say that when I heard that Montgomery was going to host a half marathon, I was a little skeptical. But then I heard that this race would have the same race directors that were in charge of the Birmingham Mercedes Marathon, I got excited. Then, when it was announced that Hyundai was going to be the major sponsor.. Well, I knew then that this was going to be a winning event for the River Region and the runners in this area!! I am sure that this event will be just as successful as other races in the state.. and I am glad to be a part of the inaugural event!
Well, since this race wasn't really on my calendar until recently I had no plan to peak on the Oct 3rd race day. I was looking to merely be a part of the event and approach it as a training run as I prepared for the Vulcan 10k in Birmingham. However, I have a weakness for being to competitive for my own good and will now consider this a race, and in such, I will give it my best. I'm not in the shape that I need to be to run at the best of my potential, but I will do my best on race day to compete against those others in my age group.. You see I quit trying to compete against anyone younger than me.. that is just to much pressure on the 49 year old body.. :-)
So, Let's talk about the race course. I thought that I needed to make a test run over the course before race day and Labor Day seemed to be a good day to plan the recon. I drove my car over the course, a did so to the best of my ability, using the mapmyrun directions on the web. I had to make some detours because of closed gates and got somewhat turned around at one point.. but I think I knew the course enough to go ahead and get my recon run completed.
As I walked to what will be the starting line area, I was asked by a fellow on a bike (Larry) if I was going to run the 1/2 course.. he also asked if he could ride along side as I ran. He was supposed to meet a couple of runners he coached and do the same for them... but they were a no-shows. So, after some introductions I agreed that if he didn't have anything else better to do, it was OK with me. :-)
As it turned out, I was VERY happy to have Coach Larry around!! He knew the course and neighborhoods very well and did a great job of navigating us through all the turns. We even had a little time to reminisce about the old days of racing in the 70's. He was great company and I don't think I would have pushed the pace like I was able if he had not been there. I appreciate his company and positive words he had while I was running.
So.. If you are planning to run the race, here is the skinny on the course!
Like you will always hear.. Take it easy "coming out of the blocks". The first couple of miles consist of an upward incline to takes you out of downtown. You WILL NOT win the race in these first two miles but you can certainly loose any ability to make the next 11 anything more than agony. Save yourself and the lactic acid buildup by taking it slow. There is plenty of miles to make it up.. trust me on this.
From Mile 3 to 11 you will be treated to parks, neighborhood streets and the campus of two of Montgomery's University's. The miles will go by fast as you travel what is mostly flat and roads that actually have mostly a declining profile.
Now the "flat land party" is over and you will then have some hills to negotiate as you head back to downtown. Hopefully you have saved some endurance in your tank to make the S. Perry hill and then Hull street. The reward.. you head down Dexter Ave for a half mile of downhill striding.. and the finish line it is almost in sight!! You can just visualize that person in front of you that you just have to pass!!
- I recommend that you either run the course before the race or at least run it in parts as you train for this event.
- Don't worry that your training is "not enough" my first half mara in 2001 was accomplished by training miles that didn't exceed 6 miles at one time. You can do it!
- Read the newspaper articles in the Montgomery Advertiser by Kym Klass for some great running tips and instructions.
Here are my mile splits from the recon run this morning:
7:50; 7:54; 7:35; 7:26; 7:49; 7:42; 7:50; 7:42; 7:45; 8:09; 7:55; 8:27; 7:25