This was my 7th half marathon! After the end of May, I’ll have 8 under my belt. So crazy!
Marine Corps Historic Half was held in Fredericksburg, so Brian and I left Saturday morning to hit the expo and check into our hotel and then just enjoyed relaxing the rest of the day. Because this race is so hilly (definitely the hilliest I have run yet!), it was slated to be a fun race for me and Danny, and I think it delivered…well, at least until the end when a parking nightmare occurred!
This course was hard to pace and strategize for because even though it starts off as a net downhill, there are lots of hills along that net downhill (until the middle where it flattens a little). Then, it culminates at mile 10.5 with Hospital Hill and mile 11.5 with the I-95 bridge. Check out this elevation map! For me, it’s hard to really go all out when I don’t know the course well, and that was definitely in the back of my mind during this race.
We thought we’d have to hold back more at the beginning so that we could reserve some energy for the end, but that ended up not being a challenge since the beginning had some hills and slower people that helped pace us a little bit. We also decided not to focus on pace too much except to make sure we didn’t go out too fast. Since this wasn’t a goal race for either of us, we had that flexibility.
It was a beautiful day – slightly breezy and sunny. This is Fredericksburg’s version of the Boston Marathon, I think – in fact, the detour signs named it “Marathon Sunday,” even though there wasn’t an actual marathon distance race. So many people were out on the course to cheer, and since the course winds through some residential areas, you had people sitting in lawn chairs in PJs and drinking coffee while watching you run by. We ran through Central Park, through some neighborhoods, through Old Town (is that what it’s called?) Fredericksburg, along the Rappahanock River, and past Mary Washington Hospital (Hospital Hill at mile 10.5) before winding our way back to Central Park for the finish. It went pretty seamlessly until mile 9 when we were almost hit by some sort of pole at the mile marker. It fell down after we were literally one step past it – it was so close that other runners came up to say it was definitely our lucky day to have avoided that! Ironically, we were talking before the race about how it was nice to know that barring any sort of emergency, we’d finish no later than 2:05, even if we were just running easily; however, being hit by that pole would probably have counted as an emergency!
Our final time was 2:03, and here are splits according to RunKeeper – you can definitely see where the hills are (where we took it easy!)
Mile 1 – 9:07
Mile 2 – 8:52
Mile 3 – 8:56
Mile 4 – 8:51
Mile 5 – 8:54
Mile 6 – 9:01
Mile 7 – 9:21
Mile 8 – 8:38
Mile 9 – 9:09
Mile 10 – 9:15
Mile 11 – 10:36
Mile 12 – 10:18
Mile 13 – 8:45
This was a good race and I’m looking forward to tackling Hospital Hill more aggressively next year now that I know what it’s all about! Next up is VA Wine Country Half Marathon on May 31! This one will be all sorts of fun: hills, gravel, heat…WINE. 🙂