Dew It! Half Marathon
I guess I'm a sucker for these inaugural races; but it was an absolutely perfect day for a distance race. Started off in the mid-60's with a nice cool breeze, and worked it's up to about 70 degrees by the time the race was complete. Can't ask for much better in August.
Course - The course was a combination of trail and road, with about 10 miles being trail and 3 or so being road. The road was the road inside Oakridge Prairie, so very little traffic and very flat out and back. The trail was in really good shape, especially considering all the rain that we received this week; a couple muddy spots, but by and large very nice. The race consisted of two loops with a huge hill about 3/4 of the way through the loop. The course was well marked and since there was a 10k going on at the same time, there were course officials out there to point out where to go (although I did hear that other runners didn't find the course help nearly as helpful).
First 3 miles - I have the tendency to get out fast and regret it horribly later on, so I decided that I was going to keep the effort level down the first 4 or 5 miles. The only mile split I got was the first one, because the course didn't have mile markers; so I cruised out at like 8:15 and just stayed there. After mile one a lot of people took off, but I had a plan and the discipline to stick to it, so I let them go. I ran a good portion of the first 3 miles by myself, doing enough to keep the mini-pack in front of me in sight.
Miles 4-6 - I closed in on the mini-pack a bit, picked off a few people that separated from the pack. Felt strong, kept my stride and pace about the same. When I hit the large hill, I sacrificed pace for maintaining effort and did well to just get to the top without expending too much energy. This section was entirely trail, so a couple ankle tweaks and things like that but nothing major.
Miles 7-10 - Early on I overtook the pack and had put a bit of distance between us; my strategy of carrying a water bottle vs using the stops had mostly paid off at this point. At about mile 9, a few of the pack runners broke off and chased me down. Mile 10 was my first water stop, it was good to stop, get some gatorade and recompose a bit. My pace in this section picked up pretty significantly.
The End - This is where my strategy of not really training for this race came back to bite a bit; I was still hanging in there ok but the legs were getting heavy and the allergies were really starting to affect me. Until about mile 12 I maintained a good pace, but slowed a bit the last mile or so. Took a few more opportunities to drink something other than water, and finished it up the best I could. Which ended up being a personal best of 1:48:24, good for 35th overall and 3rd in 25-29 age group.
Race was put on by Frank Johnson, who does the Crossroads Races as well. It was well put together, plenty of good food, gatorade and water after the finish and nice medals and shirts. As with any first time race, there are some kinks to work out, but it was a course accessible to spectators which is really cool since my wife and kids came to watch. It is nice to see that there are finally some races making their way out to Northwest Indiana that aren't as expensive as the Chicago races and don't require as much travel/planning. I'm incredibly thankful for all the sponsors, organizers, volunteers and other runners who came out and made the event great! Looking forward to doing it again next year.