Up bright and early at 6am, grab a quick snack and get ready to head out to pick up Gordon and his friend at his friends house and then a 45 minute up to the Oakland University for the race. The field was going be significantly smaller than at Detroit, so getting parked near the start line shouldn't have been a problem. Hmmm, not so much, one lane into the car park meant that what should have been a leisurely drive up, packet pickup and a wander around for 45 minutes before the race, became kind of hectic and rushed, not the best start, but hey, you have to play the hand you are dealt and not necessarily the one you want, right? Work colleagues wanted all the runners from the company team together for a group photo, which we missed, ho hum. Anyway, off to the start and we were ready to rock.
Conditions we absolutely perfect for the race, a little cool, beautiful blue sky. The course, recently voted one of the best fall half marathons in the US, was apparently going to be a little hilly, with a mix or road and trails with plenty aid stations throughout. We lined up near the back of the pack as it was bloody mobbed and we couldn't fit in anywhere else, it did mean that we were going to have to navigate the walkers, etc, but what the hell.
The first four miles went well, although it took a while for the pack to really start spreading out. I could tell that Yu was starting to feel it but didn't want to let on, he just asked if we could take a very short walk after a water station and kept on going from there. The following miles were interspersed with pleasantly wooded trails and rather long nasty hills. Every aid station became a progressively longer walk, but all kudos to Yu, he stuck it out and kept going, even when it became obvious that he was struggling.
Looking at the elevation profile before the race showed that while the first half was mostly downhill, it did mean that the second was obviously going to be uphill, and it was, quite impressively at some points, but we got there and took pleasure looking back down them afterwards. I felt good pretty much the whole race although I did experience some pain in my left inner calf after about 7 miles, which stayed there for the rest of the race, although didn't actually become debilitating We got a view of the finish line with about 1/4 mile left to go and Gordon flew ahead of me, which I guessed he would as he had plenty left in the tank, I also cranked it up a notch and finished strong.
All in all a fun day, glad we did it.
- Beautiful course, nicely varied with trails, hills, etc.
- Well marshaled
- Plenty of aid stations (almost too many, but you can never have too much of a good thing)
- Lots of enthusiastic spectators
- Lots of music, even a bagpiper at one point which was very cool
- Running with my son was very cool
- Extremely cool medal, very cool translucent inlay, the picture really doesn't do it justice.
- Perfect weather
- Parking sucked
- Post race snacks very fairly under whelming
How Garmin saw it - http://connect.garmin.com/activity/228743857
How Endomondo saw it - http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/nBZ0xbwvmfw
|Myself and Gordon, two generations of McWilliams|
half marathon runners, kinda cool
|Day glow green long sleeved tech shirt &|
a particularly awesome medal