Thursday, May 4, 2017

American River Parkway Half Marathon Race Recap 4/29/17

American River Parkway Half Marathon Race Recap 4/29/17
It was my first time running the American River Parkway Half marathon and it was a beautiful course. I had run along the trail for a long run once before and didn't know there was a race on the exact trail until I had to look for a backup race when the Pony Express Half marathon was cancelled. So glad I found this race because it is one I would do again. This race was also my first goal half marathon of the year and I did my best to shoot for a PR.

PACKET PICKUP: I went with my friend Lenora the day before the race to pick up our bibs and shirt. Pickup was at Fleet Feet and it was a breeze to pick up our stuff. The race is on the smaller side so it was fast and easy. I was surprised to hear that this store in Sacramento is the very first Fleet Feet. It is a lot bigger than the store in Davis with a lot more selection of shoes, clothing, and fuel. I even tried on a pair of Altra's that I am hoping to purchase in the future. 

RACE DAY: I woke up around 5:15am. For breakfast, I ate a bagel with peanut butter. My friend Lenora picked me up around 6am. The start is about 30 minutes away but we wanted to make sure we got parking easily. We got to William Pond Park a little before 7 which was perfect since the race started at 7:45am. That gave us time to hit the porta potties. When we first got there, there was no line but I had to go again and the pic below was taken 20 minutes before the start where the lines were longer. The wait wasn't bad since we still had time to get to the start line without having to rush.
American River Parkway Half Marathon porta potties
Before the start, it was great to meet IG friend @run2bfierce. She even ran with us the first 10 miles. Running the race with these two made the run so much funner!
The race started pretty much on time. After the Star Spangled Banner was sung, we were off. My target for the race was 1:51-1:52 and if I didn't get that I would be happy with anything below 1:54:01, my personal record from the Philly Half Marathon that I ran back in November of 2014.
American River Parkway Half Marathon start line
The race was a bit crowded at the start especially on this bridge but as we kept running it thinned out fast.
American River Parkway Half Marathon
 See, not so crowded anymore.
American River Parkway Half Marathon
Mile 1 came up quickly and I was feeling good. I was even trying to not go too fast since I tend to start fast in races. I came in at 8:38 avg/pace for mile 1. Coach Dawn wanted me to go out slower at around 8:45ish for the first 3 miles but clearly I didn't listen.
American River Parkway Half Marathon mile 1
I was feeling strong and my breathing and effort was easy. Even took the time to take this mid run selfie. :) mid race selfie
Mile 2 - 8:36/mi
Mile 3 - 8:37/mi

After mile 3, Coach Dawn wanted me to hit my target pace which was 8:28-8:32 for the rest of the run and try to push it the last mile. I would say that I did a pretty good job hitting the target pace up to about mile 9.5 or so. I would like to point out that the trail isn't flat. There are some minor ups and downs but they can be huge for someone like me that runs mainly in a place with no hills. Most of the race was on pavement but there was a section that was dirt trail.
American River Parkway Half Marathon trail part
Mile 4 - 8:28/mi 
Mile 5 - 8:27/mi 
Mile 6 - 8:31/mi 
Mile 7 - 8:32/mi

Mile 8 - 8:27/mi 
Mile 9 - 8:33/mi
Mile 10 - 8:36/mi
American River Parkway Half Marathon
After mile 10, I was struggling. I am so glad that I had my friend Lenora to chase. I'm sure she could have gone ahead but was so thankful she stayed close. She helped push me those last few miles. There wasn't much shade but when we did hit some it was really nice. The cool breeze whenever it came was much appreciated too.
Mile 11 - 8:52/mi
Mile 12 - 8:44/mi

The pic below was taken by Lenora probably a half mile before the finish. I'm smiling in the pic but struggling. I tried to run the last mile hard but just couldn't muster up the energy. I also have no idea what I'm doing with my arms here. :p
 Close to the finish
Our finish! I did manage to pick up the pace once I saw the finish line.
mile 13 - 8:55/mi
last .22 - 7:34/mi
I PR'd!!!! Not my target time but still a PR. :)
I was a bit disappointed at first that I did not hit my target of 1:51-1:52 since I've been training hard for this race but I think the weather was factor and I should have hydrated better. I noticed when I finished, I had salt all over me. Anyway, there will always be other half marathons to race and I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life so I can't complain. :)
Pic with our medals
The race had some yummy strawberries and cookies at the end waiting for us. There were also turkey, veggie, or ham wraps. I had a turkey and it was pretty good.
Post run treats
 There was a mariachi band playing music at the finish.
American River Parkway Half Marathon mariachi band
We had to take a picture with the otter. :)
I love that the medal is personalized. Not shown here, but on the back, it has my name on it. A really cool touch to have it ready for you at the finish area. Overall, it was a great race. I'm very happy I PR'd. Big thanks to Coach Dawn for giving me my training plan to help me gain my fitness to get the PR and also to my friend Lenora for staying with my and helping push me those last few miles. This is another race I could see doing year after year especially since it is so close! 
American River Parkway Half Marathon medal
Happy running!!

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