Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Corvallis Half Marathon Race Review!

The Corvallis Half. Wait, the Inaugural Corvallis Half. This race has me psyched for an odd reason. Check it:

-It's in my hometown.
-It's in April, when I'm never on vacation.
-It's the first-ever running - INAUGURAL.
-It has the look of a race that will be around for a while.

So what's that add up to? Yeah, it's got the potential to be a "Streak" race. You know, an "I've done this race every single year they've run it, 17 years in a row." Something like that! How often do you get to be on the front end of a race like that? Not very often.

But with the Corvallis Half, I'm in!

So the race...well, I like the start line. I can actually see the starting line, across from Gill Coliseum, from my office in Poling Hall. And since there was a chilly wind on the morning of the race, I just hung out in my office, listening to Pandora, until about 15 minutes before race time. Nice!

After a little milling about and a little pep from the OSU pep band, we took off! I had no idea what my fitness was going to be like for a Half, so I tried to settle in quickly. I found a small group from the HOTV Running group that looked to be running at about my pace and I tucked right in behind them.

The first two miles or so of the race was very funny. They had us doing switchbacks across campus like we were heading up a mountain pass. First, we headed down Washington. I saw a friend from the morning bus cheering on the side of the road - "Hi Linda." Then a block over and headed back onto campus on Jefferson. "Hi Linda." Then one more block over and back across campus for the third time on Campus Way. "Hi Linda." No excuse for family members not to get a photo of the runners there!

Then out past the OSU barns ("I love the smell of manure in the morning!") and across the covered bridge, across 53rd and finally onto the Midge Cramer path heading toward Bald Hill. We were about at the 4 mile mark here and I felt pretty good. I actually was thinking right about here that maybe I could pull off a decent time. Grabbed a cup of water and took my first GU here: chocolate mint flavor. Yum.

Followed the Midge Cramer path for about three miles, thinking, "I just ran this path for the Make a Change Run two weeks ago." I hit the water stop at the parking lot on the other end of the Midge Cramer and the wife is there taking photos. I'm stopped and walking to drink some water (I just can't drink water while running - I can't) and the wife is yelling at me to run:

"How can I take a picture of you running when you're walking?!" she says.
"I've got to take a drink," I say.
"RUN!" she says.
"Leave me alone!" I say.
"RUN!" she says.

Yes, we were a great source of amusement for the runners around me. Thanks for taking some photos, sweetie!

Anyhoo, back on the course and heading uphill toward Martin Luther King Jr. Park, thinking "I just ran this path for the Make a Change Run two weeks ago and then biked this path for the Beaver Freezer Triathlon one week ago." Thankfully, the wind was behind us a bit, as this was the section with the biggest incline. I got behind a woman doing a decent pace and just hung on all the way up the hill.

At about mile nine, we took a little jaunt off Walnut and through the neighborhood around the Timberhill Athletic Club. This was a change since I previewed the course a few weeks back and it had one short, steep hill, but overall not too bad.

We turned onto 25th, then moved to 27th for the long haul back to campus. The wind was against us here, but we had a very slight downhill and I was smelling the barn, so my pace actually kept very even.

Back onto campus at about mile 12, and just had to do a little zigging and zagging to get into Reser Stadium, which I had to admit was pretty cool. We ran right down the ramp into the stadium, ran right onto the football field turf and hit the finish wire at the 50 yard line. Personally, I thought they should have made us run to the end zone, but whatever. They did have the camera on people going across the finish line and were showing it up on the big video board by the scoreboard, so that was pretty sweet.

I hit the tape at 1:56:01 and felt very good about it. I was beat, but had kept a nice, even pace the entire way. A better finishing time than I had at the Cowtown Half in Sacramento two years ago, and I swear I was in better shape then. So that's all good.

Of course, I had the map, the elevation and the pace all on my Garmin, ready to add to the blog post so you could see what the hell I'm blathering about, and somehow I lost the whole thing when I tried to transfer it from my watch to my computer. Sigh...

The eats afterward were so-so, but I know they were operating on a shoestring this year. We'll judge that next year.

Of course, the race was sold out - 1800 strong - but the course never felt crowded. A couple inclines, but overall a very fair course.

I've got to say, "It's a winner!"

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