This weekend, I ventured south down I-75 to visit some friends in Lebanon and run a half marathon with a friend and former college teammate. On Saturday, we walked around downtown Lebanon and loaded up on some pre-race calories at Whit’s Frozen Custard. Sunday, the half-marathon and marathon races were to start at 8:30 am, so we made the half hour trip and picked up our race packets inside the YMCA. After a mile warm up, we changed clothes and headed to the start line. It was still a little chilly at start time, but was perfect racing weather. After standing behind the start line for a few minutes, a canon went off behind us. No one had spoken to us or indicated that the race was about to begin or even that a canon would signal the start of the race. A few guys ran out, but most of us just stood there, wondering if that was really supposed to be the start. The race was chip timed, so it didn’t necessarily matter, as long as the timing system was running when we crossed the start line. A minute or so later, shouts from behind us, indicated that we should just go, but without having heard anything from anyone who claimed to be officially involved with the race organization, it was hard to tell what the origin of that information might have been. We finally got started when a man, seemingly a bystander until this point, walked over to the starting line and gave us a “Ready, Set, Go!”, which was official enough for us, and we were off.
The course started through some residential streets and eventually looped back past the start and cut through some alleys before a stretch on some country roads. The course rolled up and down some hills on the road, but then continued onto the bike path that we would follow to the turn around and back into town. We were cruising at a pretty good pace and passed the 6 mile mark just under our goal pace. We had a few guys to run with, but as we worked towards the front, there were fewer guys to work with.
I fell off the pace the last 4-5 miles just a bit, not enough to give up 10th place, but I lost about 44 seconds over those miles on the slight downhill back into town.
My friend and I finished 9th and 10th and got 1st and 2nd in our age group, respectively. We were both pleased with our races and walked away having run faster than we were expecting to. It was a beautiful day, and despite some starting line quirks, the race was very well staffed with a lot of friendly volunteers and was well marked and directed.
Post-race amenities included an assortment of, oddly enough, 16+ different canned beverages ranging from Dr. Pepper to Fanta but also included a buffet of food inside the YMCA, with a variety of soup, fruit and snacks.
I received this fancy plaque in the mail today.