As you may recall, I entered this race on a whim. It wasn't planned and I wasn't even sure I wanted to run it, but I'm glad I did.
The flat course loops around and through the Notre Dame campus. The constant change of scenery is nice and you'll never be alone on the course because there will always be a half marathoner somewhere along the way.
The unfortunate part is that there will always be a half marathoner somewhere along the way. During the trail portion of the race, the paths are so narrow that you're weaving in and out of clustered runners, running around puddles and more groups of runners, and making sharp turns, sometimes around... You guessed it, more runners! The issue might have been resolved had the 10kers started out first, and as the 10k field was much smaller it might not have been as bothersome to the faster half runners.
Weather-wise, I got lucky. It has been hot all week and I was worried how that would affect my race. Then on Friday it started to rain and cooled down, and by Friday evening I was assured of cool temperatures and overcast skies on race day.
I ran a 48:51, a one minute personal record. My splits averaged 7:51.
My objective for this race was to determine where I am at in my training. For example, I felt much more fit during this race than I have during previous races. Usually, I feel like I'm hanging on the last two miles due to a lack of fitness, but today I felt strong (I was told that I looked pissed during the final .2, though).
Another example is that I didn't feel like I failed to run hard enough. Sometimes I am able to end races with a rather strong finishing sprint because I ran too timidly. Part of the problem is that I didn't have an idea for a goal pace. Running tempos has helped solve the problem (as well as input from others) and prepare me for what it feels like to run fast and strong.
Because I didn't start my watch at the beginning and because I kept hitting "lap" at the wrong mile markers, I don't have accurate mile split. I'm upset, as I really looked forward to going over my splits for this race. I'm pretty sure I ran a negative 5k the last half, though. Or maybe I didn't. Whatever.
Mentally, I don't remember much about the race. I was concentrating pretty hard on my pace, how I felt, and dodging runners that I didn't notice much else, though that wasn't a concern of mine anyway. I did keep note of a woman who had passed me around mile 3, whom I used as a rabbit. She had more of a kick the last two miles and I lost sight of her, though she was just faster than I was so I wasn't going to try and catch her.
To end on a food related note, I woke up at 6:00 AM. I ate a waffle with strawberries and syrup, followed by a cup of tea with milk and sugar. I finished that with a cup of coffee with a splash of milk. About an hour before the start of the race, I took an energy shot. Fifteen minutes before the race, and after my warm up, I ate half a packet of honey stingers. It sounds like overkill, but if there's one thing I have figured out about my racing, it's how to fuel beforehand. I know how much I need to eat so that I have enough energy to last through the race without feeling stuffed.