Sunday, September 14, 2014

Halfway to Hell Maryland

Last week I took a vacation to Virginia to see presidents' homes and Civil War battlefields. Obviously I packed my running stuff, but I know how hard it can be to make a long run happen at home, so doing it on vacay would be even worse, not knowing routes or available water, etc. It made the most sense to run a half marathon and let the organizers worry about the details.

The best choice in Virginia was a super hilly 20k just outside of Washington DC on Sunday, when I planned to be further west. Besides, VA hosts a rock and roll half so there are ample opportunities to run in Virginia.

It was geographically more desirable to run a half in Maryland. The only one in the state that weekend was in Hancock. It was pretty expensive for a half - I've done full marathons for less. I stayed at a small bed and breakfast that was 0.25 miles from the start, so I picked up my packet, returned it to my car at the b&b then went back to the start. The shirt is an orange t-shirt. I wore it to sleep in the hotels on my vacay, but doubt it'll be worn again.

That little distance was a nice warm up walk. What was a lot worse was the weather. We've had a super mild summer in Michigan so I haven't gotten acclimated to the heat and humidity this year. It was 79 degrees and massively humid at the start, which wasn't until 8:30. Whew! Satan called - wants his weather back! With the weather, I would have preferred they move the start to 7:00 or 7:30. Or keep the official start at 8:30, but give runners the option to individually start earlier.

The course was nice. It was an out and back along a paved trail. About half of it was in shade and after the first half mile, there was absolutely no elevation change. I treated it as a training run and with the weather became even less concerned with trying to PR.

I blurred my bare midriff in the interest of modesty :)
Even aside from the weather, it wasn't a good race. There were supposed to be 4 water stops, but the third one just disappeared, so we had to run from mile 6-11 without any water. It was the same heat as DX-A2, but even more humid. At that race I took water every single mile. This one should have offered fluid every mile, perhaps every half mile.

The timing chip was an actual chip I had to attach to my shoe. Not a huge deal, just a little archaic. I haven't had a detachable chip since 2010 and even that was a disposable one.

I dragged through a lousy half - and passed a woman in the last 0.2 miles - then they gave me..... a magnet??? wth????? It was not a cheap race, but the goodies were beyond cheap and almost an insult. I remind myself that it was a training run, and it was a fund-raiser, but what a half-ass experience.

Even with my less than desirable time, I finished 4/7 in my age group. The 3rd place finisher was only 2 minutes faster and had I known that, I could have made up 2 minutes, yet I really doubt there were prizes for the top 3, probably only the first in each group. Besides I don't need a second magnet :P

I still haven't decided if I'm going to run a marathon in every state. Maybe a marathon or half! in every state. If so, this was #6.

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