Lexington Race Against Hunger 10k – Lexington, SC – 2/25/12

The Lexington Race Against Hunger 10k (http://www.lexrah.org/d/)  is one of the bigger races of the year and usually brings out a pretty competitive crowd. This was my 3rd time running the race, and it was one of my first 10ks ever back in 2010. I’ve usually shied away from the 10k distance. For some reason I have trouble with the pacing. My 5ks are easy – I basically just blast off like a scalded chicken and hope not to die in the ensuing 20 (or hopefully less) minutes. Half marathons are long enough to make you respect the distance and run a pace way under anything painful. Running a fast1ok, though, seems to require a period of prolonged suffering that I’m just not too keen on. It could also be my Dam Run 10k in 2010, where I had a brief psychotic episode in which I thought I was as fast as Amy or Megan, chased them for about a mile at 6:18, and then suffered one of the most epic death marches ever for the remaining 5 miles.  Just ask Tigs, who passed me in the last half mile and thought I might need medical attention. Total PTSD from that race, almost on par with that unmentionable race in Virginia’s capital.  This race  played out in a similar fashion in 2011, but not because I went out too fast. For whatever reason, my legs turned into cinder blocks during the hilly section (i.e. the entire miles 2-5), I got passed by about 50 people and was briefly Schmitzed, then recovered in time to blast out a decent last mile en route to a 43:32.

I had fairly high hopes of running a significantly faster race this year. Since ramping up my weekly miles to 40+ in the past 2-3 months, along with regular “Dr Pain’s  miles of smiles” speedwork sessions with Mobile Bar owner Jeff Burgess, I’ve set PRs in every distance from the 5k to the marathon. In any case, I hoped to definitely lower my course record (43:18) and maybe take out my fairly soft 10k PR (42:05 from this year’s Red Nose Run). I note a course record here because this little jaunt through Lexington is anything but flat. Sure, the first mile is a nice fairly level trip down highway 378, but it then turns left into about three quarters of a mile of rolling hills. Just before the mile 2 mark you will have your spirit crushed by a mountain that, while not the steepest, kills you slowly for the next half mile. After the sweet release of death seems like a viable option at the summit,  you get the distinct pleasure of slogging up a few more quad destroying inclines before a right turn on Roberts St, which finally starts bringing you back home. The worst of the hills are over by then, though there’s definitely still a slight incline going on. It wouldnt be that noticable, save for the fact your lower body is begging for mercy by then. After the mile 4 marker, the course finally levels out and mercifully gives you  a few declines. Last mile is that same stretch of 378, except more downhill, which gives a chance for a nice kick if you have any life left.

I got to the race about an hour early. Did a couple of slow miles with the Code. Trophy was nowhere to be seen, and the Howells were still in recovery mode, which apparently involves a steady intake of margaritas. Spencer was in Florida but still doing a 5k this morning. Anton was home devising more ways to torture Greg and making the Bodourov method even more evil. Diesel decided he would take this opportunity to shred his IT band a little more after Myrtle Beach. Schmitzes were there to do the 10k in the middle of a 20 miler, as was Rick. Geary, Amy, the two Drew W’s,  Flicker, J-Reeves and J-Cov (both doing the 5k with Jenn’s daughter)  and both Brandenburgs were all in attendance. Justin, the newest member of the Cola running scene, was one of the few people to show up who could win the race. Strictly Running had lot of their sponsored guys last year do this race, including Tim Jeffrey’s crazy fast sub 34, but none of them were there this time. It was a little sad as one of my memories from last years race was EK Tolley-Beeson finishing during my cooldown, with a big smile on her face. She passed away this week at age 75.

The start was at 8:20 and pretty cold, made worse by a nasty headwind. With the gun I quickly latched on to whoever I could find to get out of the wind. Unfortunately, save for Schmitz,  no one’s going to block all the wind for my sasquatch-sized self.  I was able to trail Flicker for a while but the dude was out on a mission and I couldnt hang. I figured I’d get him later – the age group was pretty wide open with all the top dogs sitting this one out. The Code said this was going to be a tempo run for him in prep for the Columbia Half, and he was going to try for 6:40 pace. He pulled up beside me and we hit the mile mark pretty close at 6:44. I was very glad at this point to get out of the wind, because, if youve ever seen me in person, you know I’m less than sleekly aerodynamic. We got to trade in the wind for hills at this point, and maintained a pretty good pace on the rollercoaster-eque next .75.  Stayed pretty constant with the field. Thomas Tapp and Geary were just behind us at this point. Brandenburg was in another zip code, and from what I could see from 378, Justin was going to make this race a walk in the park for him.

Then came the mountain. You know its bad when there’s cute motivational phrases written on the pavement by the organizers to try and get you through it. Code separated from me even though I was trying my best to keep up.  This hill is so freaking long, makes you want to cry. I could feel myself starting to unconsciously start to take on my 75 year old man posture, and a fair amount of head bobbing and wind sucking ensued. I did hit mile 2 at 6:32, which was encouraging, if I wasnt actually pulling about 7:32 or worse pace at that time. Finally made it to the top, and still had the Code fairly close. Flicker was still crushing it though. Although I always remember the mountain, I seem to block out the next section of more hills, perhaps because its more than my fragile psyche can take. These suck anyway, but once your quads are already taking a lactic acid bath from Mt Lexington, it really hurts. I swear I made the turn at Roberts St at like 10 minute pace, because my lower body was trying to dissociate from the quad burn that had been going on for the past mile and a half. Hit the 3 mile at 20:26 by the caller. I didnt want to look at my pace but the Garmin beeped and I instinctively saw the 6:52, which was mildly encouraging. Mile 4 was just rough. Its still slightly uphill, plus you run by the finish line of the Jailbreak 5k. This is typically where I have trouble in 10ks – I just lose focus and have a hard time maintaining pace. As I started to slack though, Geary comes up right beside me and starts to pass. My fragile ego cant take it, so I decide to latch on. I think this was probably key for both of us, since we both run almost the exact same times. He was definitely pushing it, but I was surprisingly able to match it. I think I finally processed some of the lactic acid bath. Unfortunately my let down led to a much slower 7:09 split for mile 4, but with the pickup I hit a 6:30 for the next mile with Geary just a step behind me. Like last year, I had a burst of energy at this point, knowing the rest of the course to be flat to downhill. Plus, there was Code for the taking, maybe 50 meters ahead. I started blasting it as hard as I could, passing by some suspiciously 35-39 looking gentlemen in the first quarter mile after the mile 5 marker. And there was Code. No way I could let him beat me when he was out for a freaking tempo, right?  I prepared for him to start racing once he heard my cattle stampede footfalls, but he just let me pass. Flicker was ahead and finally seemed to be slowing maybe, but I think it was just me basically sprinting. I hit mile 6 at 6:09 and I was sucking some serious wind. I ramped up the pace another notch but Flicker must of been crushing some pace of his own – I just wasnt making much headway even with some 5:30ish action going on.  I finally made out the clock turning over to 41 and was able to sprint out to a 41:24 finish. Ten seconds behind Flicker and eight behind the 3rd place female, who again was Theresa Penney (see Red Nose Run).  Ended up 17th overall and 3rd in age group, so pretty happy with that given this competitive field.  Chopped a whole 41 seconds off the 10k PR too, which was nice. Still have some work to do to get the 10k in the ballpark of what my 5k would predict, but I’ll take it on this tough course.

Justin, as I could see less than a mile in, crushed the field with a 34:47.  Amy won the female overall with a 39:55, beating out Theresa and the girl who chicked me at Race for the Cure, Claudia Nunez-Lopez. Brandenburg won masters in an impressive 39:09 – would have taken down Anton’s time from last year? Uh oh. Aubrey ran a 38:55 and only won his age group by 5 minutes. Slacker. He did get the shame of being named first female at the awards ceremony though. Doh!  Drew Williams took down JB en route to a sub 39 as well. Phil Midden won my age group finishing just under 40. Geary easily won his age group at 42:00, with Mike Ufford finishing 3rd.  Kristin won 2nd in age group on the tempo part of her 20 miler. Wish I could do that. Then again, maybe that’s why she’ll be in Boston in April.

My garmin: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/152428635

2012 results: http://www.strictlyrunning.com/results/12LRAH.txt

Strictly’s 2012 pics: http://www.photoreflect.com/store/thumbpage.aspx?e=8422495

2011: http://sc.milesplit.com/meets/87612/results/149420

2010: http://sc.milesplit.com/meets/66846/results/113311

Race Judicata 5k – Shandon – Columbia,SC – 2/18/12


Race Judicata, flawed as it may be, has a special place in my heart for being the site of my first sub 20 5k. This was the maiden voyage of the original blue shoes, the 7 oz adizero adioses that cut 23 seconds off my PR and got the sub 20 monkey off my back. You could tell it wasnt that important to me by the pic below from that race (2010):

I say flawed, because this race always seems to be teetering on the edge of disaster. Its put together by Women in Law, a group of female law students at USC., This means the race always has different organizers/volunteers some of whom, shall we say, have limited road race experience. This was most evident in 2009, when a volunteer managed to direct the first 10 runners one way and most of the rest the other. A group of us ran all the way to Rosewood drive and finally realized we were way the hell off course. I doubled back and ended up running maybe an extra quarter to half mile in just under 26 minutes. I can’t criticize the law students too much though – my med school had a 5k until 2010 when there was a short course, no age group medals (except for paper certificates) and the race director ran and had to go to the ER for heat stroke. Common sense is a bit of rarity among the academically gifted, apparently.

I had hoped to make another sub 19 run at today’s race, because I have felt really strong recently with ramping up the weekly mileage (45) and being very regular again with speedwork. Unfortunately a cold struck late in the week and left me less than 100 percent, though these were the exact circumstances of my sub 20 breakthrough 2 years ago. Got there an hour early and did 1.5 mi warmup with JB, Burgess, Spence and Geary. I actually bailed on racing the new Brooks Connects – the high arch was causing some problems and I didnt want to mess with anything that might bring up some plantar fasciitis Temps were really nice, mid to high 50’s , slight wind. We ran part of the course, which, like last week, was in Shandon and mostly flat.

The first sign of trouble at this race was near the start – no one knew where to line up. The race organizers wanted us to start at the corner of king and duncan, though this was way off where we started the other years races. Strictly and a few of us were pleading for a start at the Hot Summers Night certified course (which is completely the same except for the start), but I guess it was too late. I pretty much knew this would result in a slightly short course.

Decent crowd for this race but not hugely competitive – a lot of the regular crew were up in Myrtle Beach doing the half and full marathon. Plexico and Angel were there to make sure none of us entertained any thoughts of winning or placing. JB, Amy, Spence, Geary and Burgess were the main ones that would be (hopefully) in my zip code.  With the start, JB, Amy and Spence took off at a pretty hard clip, but this time I vowed to keep them more in sight. I latched on the back about 10-15 meters back in the first mile. Angel was lagging just behind Plexico but he soon got dropped – Ryan was crushing it out there today. I felt pretty strong early. I was able to pass a guy that I feared was one of those rogue 35-39 year old guys that comes out once a year and crushes an 18 min 5k. Turns out he was like 26, but my race day paranoia is legendary.

I hit the mile at 6:02, which is pretty smoking for me, but I kept telling myself not to let that second mile pace fade like last week. Mile 2 was tough – it sucked mentally because we were still going away from the start, plus there was a slight headwind and a nasty gradual incline. I kept telling myself to push the pace, especially since there was absolutely no one around me. An interesting race was developing in front of me – I saw JB start to drop Spence a little, and Amy fell off the back some as we hit mile 2 just past the turnaround. Garmin showed 6:16. Better than last week but still significantly slower. I knew I was close to sub 19 though by the average of the two miles.

At about 2.25 miles in there’s a quarter mile loop that goes out and back in to provide the correct distance (this was the site of the 2009 disaster) . I could already see Plexico coming back in, so I figured he must be doing at least sub 17. I was starting to reel Amy in, but I was also starting to notice the sudden lack of oxygen in the Shandon area. Really sucking some wind and begging for the sweet release of death more like it. I was also noticing the completely open course at this point. Here I was blindly blasting away into each intersection when I realized I really needed to look both ways. The turn off that little loop puts you in a straightaway for just under a half mile. The sight of the finish, however distant, jolted me back to life and I tried to push it as hard as I could. I knew it was going to be close to my goal. I first made out the clock around 18:07 or so, but it was pretty far away. The gas tank was on E but that didnt stop the crazy headless chicken blue shoes kick. Amy had kicked it in too, and i was getting closer, but I knew I couldnt catch her. I did hear the Garmin chime at 3 miles a block or so from the finish, so it seemed to almost be a legit course. Blasted forth without a care for the inevitable hideous finish pic and crossed the line at 18:44, 6th OA.

Great, right? I looked down and saw 3.07, which is pretty close to 3.11, but agonizing when you’ve just run a PR race but wonder if you can count it. Some others had different distances, 3.02-.07 by informal survey. My general feeling is that it would have broken the 19:06 PR and probably the 19 min barrier if you used my garmin. Times across the board were definitely a bit speedy. Did I mention how much I hate uncertified courses?  Plex crushed a 16:27, Angel went sub 18, JB was at 18:11, Spence did 18:22 and Amy 18:37. Burgess crushed a 19:34 and Geary a 19:22. So basically all a good bit faster than usual.

Well, at least I placed in my age group. But that would assume a 35-39 age group. I heard rumors afterward they had larger AG this year. OK, so maybe they went to 10 year age groups, which they sometimes do for very small races. Still placed second in this (behind Angel), so fine. Nope, even better. 20 year age groups. Like everyone from a junior in college to aging dads all lumped together. Still would have gotten 3rd…but then they decided to go one deep. So I got nothing. This is the same race that gave out really nice gift certificates last year. Tigs even got a 25 dollar gift certificate to Flying Saucer, which she very generously gave to me, knowing my obsession with the place.

So between the short, poorly attended race course and the lousy awards I wasnt real happy. I cant be too judgemental given the proceeds go towards the womens shelter here in Columbia (which I utilize quite a bit for my patients), but this race needs some work to stay on the tour. John Gasque, who does an awesome job with organizing the TDC, will be talking with the faculty advisor to be sure the TDC standards (i.e. 3 deep, 5 year age groups) are met.

Got some awesome news about Myrtle Beach after the race – Greg Howell (3:19), Daniel Bliesner (3:05) and Anton Bodorouv (2:55) all qualified for Boston. Laura Howell and Jen Ward also finished their first marathons. Paul Reardon crushed a 1:26 half and Trophy (Tyler Mcgaha)/Ken Calcutt also had strong 1:34 halfs. Still waiting to hear from Drew Walker.






Race for the Place 5k – Shandon – Columbia,SC- 2/11/12

Race for the Place is in its 3rd year , with proceeds going to benefit  St Lawrence Place: http://www.stlawrenceplace.org/cms/.  Its the first 5k of the year in the Shandon area , which is renowned among runners for its glorious flatness. I’ve run this race all three years, and its always been well done .  I believe Steven Johnson, a fellow runner and yet another crazy fast 35-39er, does race directing duties.

Speaking of crazy fast, it also is becoming one of the most competitive races in the area, despite its still small size (just over 200 runners this year). Unfortunately for me, this is particularly true of the 35-39 age group. It seems like Columbia is just crawling with otherwise anonymous suburban dads who can show up on any old day and knock out an 18 minute 5k just for kicks. There’s a couple of regulars, but this age group still fields complete unknowns on a regular basis that can place. And it seems to be getting more brutal at this race, as youll see with the results at the end of the post. I managed to place 3rd here last year with a 19:55, and I hoped to place again because they give out cool painted ceramic tiles as awards.

It had been a month since my last 5k, having spent January doing 10ks and a half. I have gotten back on the speedwork wagon, and have felt myself getting a little stronger. My goal in the 5k has been the sub 19 for awhile now, and I’ve been painfully close a few times. I thought this race might offer the chance, so I took 2 days rest leading up to the event. The ill advised 14 miles at the riverfront  on Wednesday with a few at sub 7 pace probably aided me in that decision.

Ran the course as a warmup with the Code and Spence. Spence had suddenly dropped two sub 20’s in the past month and I thought this might his race to challenge me. This was based largely on the fact he’s 23, 50 lbs lighter and an ex-CC runner in high school. Lots of fast peeps at this race, most of the Strictly Running team was there along with a lot of the regulars – Amy, Laura (with Greg spectating, which in Bodourov Method terms means running 13 miles easy), Geary, Eric M, Team Ashton, JB and Barb. Mrs. Diesel was there and told me she had kept Heath at home to watch the kids, instead of him performing his vital duty as my race photographer. Where are the priorities, people??

Temps were nice, around 50 and clear, little bit of wind. Course is typical Shandon – a rectangle of flatness. Start at Bonham, right on Heyward all the way to Queen, a few blocks on Queen then right on Wheat all the way back to Bonham with the finish near the start at St Joseph’s Church.

The start of a 5k is always ridiculous, but with the speed of this field, it was total stampede-esque.  Eric and Justin Bishop took off in what appeared to be a dead sprint,  and a huge pack of 18 min 5kers formed a mob in front of me. Spence was a part of this mob, but I thought he was just being grandiose and setting himself for an epic bonk.  Basically a quarter mile in I was left all alone, total no-mans land. Felt pretty strong in the early going, though it was hurting my fragile ego to see such a big pack ahead of me so quickly. I made an effort to try to stay within shouting range of the  18 pack, figuring I would at least go low 19’s and could maybe roadkill the stragglers. Rocky Soderberg had suggested I  run by feel before the race instead of being obsessed with the Garmin, so I managed to avoid looking at it. First split was 6:05, about what I had hoped/thought. Then came the let down. I thought I was keeping up the pace but I often have trouble with mile 2 – mentally its tough because your not fresh like the start or know the end is near like mile 3. I figured my pace was suffering some, because the pack was gapping me pretty bad during this mile. The pack did start to bleed some off the back, but Spence was not one of them. Garmin split was 6:25, so it was a good thing I didnt look. I still felt strong at the mile 2 mark so I really tried to burn it at this point. I thought I might be close to sub 19, so I tried to focus on the two ahead of me – Kathryn Ashton and a kid named Evan that I had raced with a few times before. The 18 pack was probably too far ahead for me to make a dent in their lead, but I was gaining on the two stragglers. After the first half of the mile, I tried to really throw down a kick, hopefully high to mid 5’s by my guestimation. I caught up with Kathryn, which I knew meant she must be 1) deathly ill or 2) injured, but I’ll take what I can get. Passed her and was able to blast by Evan near the turn onto Bonham. Mile 3 and the end seem to far apart on this course, but I felt like I had run a really strong last mile (Garmin said 6:06) and hoped for the best on the last turn when you can see the clock. Unfortunately, I saw 19’s already. I gave it one last step on the gas and  crossed in 19:19.

I’m OK with the time – its still one of my better races, and this course is probably a touch long (though certified – its always been at least 3.14+ by Garmin). Eric Ashton won the race handily on the mens side, though NY transplant Justin Bishop gave him a challenge for 2nd. Becraft finished 3rd. Kenzie Riddle won the women’s race, apparently with a vicious kick at the front of the “18 pack”, finishing in 18:42 and even outstepping JB at the line. Spence had a ridiculous 18:45, almost a full minute off his previous PR, so I guess he’s getting the high school cross country form back. He even beat the Code (18:50). Amy finished 2nd female at 18:56, and Kathryn finished 3rd at 19:40, about a minute off her usual times. Heather Brumbach was running her first race in months and crushed a 19:42, after trying to break 20 a number of times last year.

As I mentioned earlier this race keeps getting more and more brutal. My 19:19, 36 seconds faster than last year and 1:01 better than 2010, earned me 6th in AG and 15th overall – my worst finish by far. Derek Gomez, who is off to tri season now,  ran 18:35 and got 3rd place. Crazy.


2012: http://www.strictlyrunning.com/RESULTS/12RACETOPLACE.TXT

2011: http://sc.milesplit.com/meets/86761/results/148693


Columbia Marathon Loop Preview – Columbia, SC – 2/4/12



This is the second preview run for the new Columbia Marathon, which is on March 10. I signed up for the full marathon over a year ago. It was originally to be a point-to-point course from Ballentine, over the dam past Irmo, and into Columbia via 378. Unfortunately a police issue required a major redo of the course, and now it is a double loop in similar areas as the Gov Cup half.  I’m not a big fan of double loop courses, but I’m just glad my hometown is finally getting a marathon again. Dan Hartley, who directs the Harbison 50k, took on this huge project.

Let’s just say this course is…challenging. I ran the first preview run the day after a race and I was toast afterwards. Some serious hill climbing here. Trophy complained the whole way last time, especially when he got dropped on Gervais, but what else is new. To be fair I did my share of bitching and moaning  and  we were both trying not to get shamed by Hartley’s 10 year old daughter, who was pushing the pace in our group. We were doing sub 8 pace the whole way that time, so definitely no kids fun run. She still outkicked me to the 9 mile mark and said she was having an off day.

I was still in shock last time, so I tried to pay more attention this go around. I ran in a pack whose stated pace was going to be 8 minutes/mile. You can see from the garmin connect what happens when a bunch of competitive age-groupers do when asked to stick to a conservative pace. Captain marathon, myself and Trophy ran most of it together. Code and Greg were with us through 10, then decided to 5k it until the end. Greg was still following Bodourov method, and tacked on another 4 at the end. The jedi master himself was conspicuously absent.  Teo , Nathan, JB and two of his friends were also in the pack.  There was a nice crowd at that start, I want to say at least 50, though it was dark out. Ms. Diesel, Laura, Dawn , Flicker, Ty, Yerger, Team Schmitz, Rick, Burgess, Frank, Larry, Drew and Amy all made appearances.

MILE 1 –  Start at the Flying Saucer, the epicenter of my universe. Deceptively flat and downhill, until about 6 tenths in. That’s when you get to reacquaint yourself with the evil mountain of the Red Nose Run (see last week)  and the Jingle All the Way 5k.  Straight up Blossom to Sumter. Quad killer right off the bat. Mile 1 is at the “summit”.

MILE 2-3 – Screaming downhill as you get to experience the Gov Cup horrific last half mile  in reverse.  Seems great, heading into the relatively flat 5 Points area, passing by the start of the Get to the Green 5k. Just when you see a nice stretch of road ahead, sudden detour up Mt. Saluda. Not the steepest hill, but lasts freaking forever. Has that nice more-steep-as-you- go quality that bathes your entire lower body in lactic acid. Mile 2 mark halfway up. Once you reach the summit, another blast downhill and then short rise again as you cross Harden into Shandon on Heyward St.

MILES 3-4 – This part  is flat and fast. Not Selwyn flat and fast, but actually flat and fast. Straight up Heyward, some small rises and declines but nothing to get upset about. Nice shaded tree-lined residential streets.

MILES 4-5 – Columbia runners know Shandon as being flat and a generally nice place to run. What most dont know is that crossing over Kilbourne St crosses you over to the dark side. A harsh, inhospitable place called Sherwood Forest. Gov Cup steers you clear of this area, Cola marathon does not. The course goes straight downhill into this scary place, turns right, then brings you right back up a long spirit crushing hill on the second half of mile 5.

MILES 6-8 – Similar to Gov Cup – flat to decline on Kilbourne, slight detour into Heathwood then long general descent into the Lake Katherine neighborhood all the way to Shady Lane. I wouldnt recommend pushing the pace anywhere on this course, but if you were to do it, this is where you should.

MILE 8-9 – Turn onto Quail and you’re actually headed back toward home again. Yay!  Slight incline with a nasty little bump on Forest Ridge right before you turn left on Trenholm. Trenholm to the mile 9 marker is fairly flat. This is where I got outkicked by a 10 year old girl 2 weeks ago. Nice ego booster.

MILE 9-10 – Trenholm, only one hell of a lot nastier. Basically continual incline with a few semi-flat areas thrown in. Right before Gervais, one more spirit crushing steep hill for good measure.

MILE 10-12 – Gervais St. For the uninitiated, the first part of Gervais is very nice – a long flat then descent to Millwood. For those familiar with Columbia, the relative relief of this stretch is tempered by overwhelming dread of what lies ahead.  Just past the 11 mile mark, in the only ‘hood section of the course (by comparison, the Charleston Half is like 80 percent drive-by territory) , you can see Mt Gervais on the horizon. Crossing Millwood provides stage 1 – not so bad. You then fly down a long decline past Harden and the sun is blocked out by the asphalt ahead – stage 2.  This is the parallel to the Blossom st hill/hell of the Gov Cup.  A quad shredder, basically sucks any remaining will to live. Mile 12 marker is at the top, about the point where crawling into a fetal position to die sounds pretty good.

MILE 13+ – Turn onto Pickens for a quick loop around USC. One last little incline on Greene, then flat past the Russell House, Horsehoe on Sumter, and a turn back down the original monster hill on Pendleton.  13.1 by my Garmin is actually up near the South Main intersection, but running all the way back to the start is about 13.5 miles. The second loop for the full starts a bit away from the start, so I guess it all evens out in the end. The official certification on the half course is still pending. Correction – per Dan Hartley the half is now certified and cuts off some of the distance of the marathon loop in  to make the official 13.1.

I think I’ve decided to gut out the full marathon. I originally debated dropping down to the half, but since a PR is not happening anyway, I figured to go ahead and get another marathon under my belt.  No shades of Jacksonville here – I’ll probably be shooting for just under 4 hours.