Hallowed Half -Race Recap

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10/27-  Hallowed Half Marathon, Wake Forest, NC.  This event also has a 10K option.  This being the second year of this event, it did grow in numbers.  The Half had 273 finishers, and the 10K had 153.

This event takes place about an hour north of where I live.  With traffic being practically non-existent at an early hour, I knew I could drive there in about 45-50 minutes.  Unlike last week, when I overslept on race morning, this time my morning went off without a hitch.  Up at 4am, and out the door by 5:45.  The drive was stress free, and I just woke up feeling good.  As an aging runner, I do wake up every morning with some stiffness and aches mostly in my ankles and feet.  The joints just do not behave as well as they used to.  My daily regime of fish oil, I believe helps.  Anyway, usually within an hour of moving about, the joints loosen up, and race day it is very important that I have that time to get loose.

I arrived at The Factory parking lot right on track for packet pick up.  Sharon, with Signature Races, had a great set up.  Lots of parking, tons of vendors, and happy faces on volunteers setting up.  No line at packet pick up, which was awesome.  Quick, and easy.  Back to my car to relax a bit, and change.  The temperature was about 50 degrees, pretty much a perfect morning.  As the sun came up, the sky had a few wispy clouds, and abundant sunshine.  I got myself ready, laced up the shoes, and grabbed a Clif Bar.  I hit the restroom one last time, and moved to the race starting area.

This being a Halloween themed race, I would say about half of the runners were dressed for the occasion.  I saw plenty of costumes, face paint, etc..  I wore last years race shirt.  The starting chute was pretty relaxed.  Lots of folks milling about, and when pace leaders took their places, the runners really stepped into place.  After the National Anthem, we were off.  This is a very hilly, and challenging race.  Due to the fact that I ran this race last year, I knew more what to expect, and when.  I started fairly close to the front of the pack.  The leaders quickly disappeared after a few turns.  I settled into a great pace right from the start.  I really think that being a pace leader last weekend at the Bull City Half, helped me.  I learned a lot from that experience, plus conditions were just perfect for getting into a great rhythm quickly.

This course takes runners in and around Wake Forest.  Being a fairly small town, this means you get to see quite a bit of it!  Old downtown area, the seminary, the country roads and hills, as well as a lot of new developments.  Due to the nature of this course, there really was not a lot of spectator viewings.  Very little.  The aid stations were prepared, and gave encouragement along the way.  So many parts of the course are just really tough, and there are quite a few really long uphill sections.  Challenging all runners.  The hills really begin after about 4 miles.  Until the first big challenge, my pace was sitting nicely at about 7:30.  After a nice downhill, I got it down to 7:25.  I made it all the way to mile 8 before my Garmin ticked above 7:30 overall pace.  I really tackled all hills with a vengeance.  I was pleased.  Around mile 10, after summiting probably the toughest hill on the course, runners head into a subdivision, and then onto the “spooky greenway” portion of the race.  Filled with volunteers dressed as zombies, etc.., and plenty of spooky decorations hanging from trees and on the trail, even a fog machine, this is such a fun change of pace in the race.  There didn’t seem to be nearly the same number of costumed volunteers on the greenway this year.  A little disappointing.

Coming off the greenway portion, you head back out of the subdivision, and to a main road, which this time you get to run back down.  Passing runners doing the 10k, heading up the hill, I offered much encouragement.  My race was almost over, but they were on the toughest section of their race.  The last mile of the Half is a slow, enduring uphill.  Not a huge grade, but just enough to feel it in your calves as you come to the end of a 13.1.  The same couple of guys I was running around the entire race we fighting for position over the last half mile coming into the finish.  I got close to passing a few, but missed by just seconds.  I came in at 1:39:00.  I was amazed to see that I finished 18th overall.  I really thought that there were more runners in front of me.  Interesting though that I was within 10 seconds of finishing 4 spots higher overall, and that the runner finishing after me in 19th place was a full 2 minutes and 7 seconds behind me.  That is a huge gap.  So I was the last runner in the race to run sub 1:40:00.  My finish was a top 7%, and still 5th in my age group.  Male 40-44 is so competitive!!!  Overall I am very pleased, and beat my goal to finish better than last year.

My most prized accomplishment In this race?  Finishing a Half Marathon in under 1:40:00 for the third time!  Although this race was not a PR, it sure felt like one,  It was almost 30 seconds per mile better than my race last year, and the fastest Half I have run since setting my PR of 1:34:36, at the Goldsboro Heart n Sole Half Marathon on 2/4/12.  So excited about that!

It was a great day!  Completing this race, I was awarded the Fall Triple Crown.  The completion of three local Halves this Fall.

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The event medal was cool, as well.  A coffin that opens to reveal a skeleton.

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This was my final Half marathon of 2013.  My 9th this year.  It has been a great ride!  I feel confident going into this weekends City of Oaks Marathon.  Here’s to another week of fairly low mileage, and letting my legs recover for the long 26.2 ahead this Sunday.

Thanks Hallowed Half for another great event!  See you next year.

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