Sunday, May 18, 2014

Race Report: Tar Heel 10 Miler

This post is a bit belated; running this morning's NCRC Half Marathon reminded me I was delinquint. Better late than never...

Not finding any half marathons with openings in April or May, I settled on the Tar Heel 10 Miler for my first "real race" since breaking my leg and not really running for a year and a half. Being in late April, I had the tail end of March and half of April to get my mileage up.

I picked up with the Bull City Running Group, a nice group of (mainly) women who run from the South Durham area, usually from Bull City Running Company. The standard is 8 miles at 8 every Saturday. I managed that, plus 2-3 days of 3-5 miles during the week, without needing to backtrack or stop completely like this time last year.

With school and rugby, Neil wasn't able to run as much, but came out for the 8 miles most weekends. We decided not to push it too much at the race, but aim for 8:45 to 9:00 average pace. Of course, I wanted to go faster, but I mostly wanted us to run together.

We started out at the Bell Tower on UNC Chapel Hill's campus at 7:30 on April 26th, and easily settled into our goal pace. In fact, despite rolling hills through Chapel Hill, I pushed us a bit faster. Once we started doing sub-8:30 miles, I stopped telling Neil our splits, so that he wouldn't think I was having us go too fast. I knew we could do it.

The Tar Heel 10 Miler is known for the Laurel Hill Challenge, which is a section near the end of the race that is allegedly a hill a mile long. In our estimation, it is a mile and a half of uphill, with some short flatish sections. In either case, there is a chip timing mat at the start and finish of this section, so you know your pace for that section, plus your overall pace at the end of the race.

The race winds through UNC's campus, and through some very nice neighborhoods in Chapel Hill. It finished in the stadium on campus, which reminded me of the Shamrock'n Half Marathon, my very fist half marathon, in West Sacramento.

Nearing the stadium, we sped up, and finished in 1:26:34, or 8:39 average per mile. Our pace for the Laurel Hill section was 9:39, so not too bad for a few flatlanders on a long hill!

Throughout the race, I felt like I could go faster. I didn't, because I wanted to run with Neil. But I knew that I could do a bit more. Two days later, this ambition pushed me to register for the NCRC Classic Half Marathon, set to be my first half marathon since October 2012! Exciting!

My Garmin details for the race:

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