Race Report: River City Half Marathon 2012

This past Sunday, I ran the half marathon event of the River City Marathon here in Sacramento. The race was put on by Elemental Running and Training, who recently took it over. From the ERT website:

ERT is proud to announce it will be assuming the calendar of events from Robert and Linda Mathis.  As many of you are aware, Race Directors Robert and Linda Mathis were tragically killed on December 30th, 2011, when they were struck by an impaired driver while crossing a crosswalk in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

This year’s race was pretty small, with something like 500 participants in the half and full marathons combined. I think in years past it was larger, but the race was temporarily cancelled after the accident which probably had an impact. It was a pretty no-frills race: minimal “swag”, cotton t-shirts, etc.  It was a point-to-point course ran along the American River Parkway, a nice and flat paved bike path.

The half had a relatively late start time of 8:30 AM, so I wasn’t in any rush to get ready that morning. My husband dropped me off at the start line around 8, so I had plenty of time to warm up and worry about whether I was going to make my goal time or not. My “A” goal was to run 1:38:xx, and my “B” goal (my original goal) was to break 1:40.

We started right on time, and within the first mile the crowd had pretty much thinned out. My first mile came in at 7:20, which was faster than what I was aiming for. I settled into a nice 7:30-7:35 pace for the next few miles, and by mile 5 I was running alongside the 2nd place woman. A few of my fellow run clubbers were out for a run on the path and I saw them at mile 5.5- it gave me a boost of energy!

The next 4 miles or so I was focused on keeping a steady pace, and was alternating between being 2nd and 3rd woman. I felt a little tired at mile 7-8, which usually happens, but I had a gel and pushed through it.

At mile 10 I figured I was safe to start upping my speed a bit, and was amazed at how good I felt. With a half mile to go, I decided to push harder; my last 1/4 mile was under a 6 minute pace. As I approached the finish I saw a guy right in front of me, and heard someone yell “you can beat him!” so I sprinted as fast as a could… and didn’t catch him. But I gave everything I had in that last little bit!

Official Time: 1:38:32

1st in the 20-29 age group, 2nd woman overall.

I never, ever thought I would place in a race. Granted, it was a small (and not super-competitive) field, but the extra award was the icing on top of the PR cake 🙂 This is what the finisher medal looked like:

 The age group award was tile that looked like this, except it was ceramic and obviously said 2nd Overall Female since I’m not >70. I’m too lazy to take a picture of mine so this is stolen from the ERT facebook page.

Overall, I’m really happy with my performance. With the exception of my sprint to the finish that made me want to puke, I felt great the whole race. More importantly, I never got discouraged or down on myself. In the past, I’ve struggled with psyching myself out during races. Going faster than goal pace? I’m sure I’m going to crash. Slower than goal pace? I’m in terrible shape, there’s no way I’ll ever meet my goals. Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies! This race showed me that I am capable of a lot more than I’ve given myself credit for!


3 thoughts on “Race Report: River City Half Marathon 2012

  1. Hey Mary. I came across your blog on WordPress and enjoyed reading it! Congrats on your half-marathon. I have a blog, a running project called agoodrun.com. I’d love to feature you. I’m in search of 52 runners (one for each week) to feature. The blog allows runners across the world to show off their city, thank others through thank you signs along the run in front of landmarks and promote a cause that means something to you. Check out the blog (specifically the Join Us tab at the top) and let me know if you’re interested.

    Steve Good

  2. Congratulations on placing and being the 2nd woman to cross — that’s an impressive performance. Is that a wooden medal too? I’m a fan.

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