This weekend I ran my third half marathon of the year–the 2017 Wilson Bridge Half Marathon. While I still love 10 milers, I am getting used to the half marathon distance–just in time for the “off” season.
Even though I’ve never run this race, the route was familiar–5 miles out and back along the George Washington Parkway, and then 1.5 miles across and back across the Wilson Bridge.
Packet pick-up was a breeze–and held at the Patent Office! There was no expo, and no vendors–just no-nonsense get your bib and your shirt and “Good luck!”
I do love this half-zip.
I think it’s nice enough for casual Fridays at work.
Deciding what to wear was a bigger challenge. Since my last run was in Phoenix, I haven’t had to get dressed for any cold weather runs yet this season. I was debating layers, but when I realized that the temperature would be about the same as it was for the NYC Half (mid-30s), I decided to wear basically the same thing.
I also wore gloves!
Wilson Bridge Half Marathon Recap
Because the race was so close and my husband was driving, we were able to leave the house @ 6:15 for the 7:00 am start. We were treated to a spectacular sunrise as we walked two short blocks from our parking spot to the race venue.
That’s the Wilson Bridge looming above.
Because it was so cold, I kept my coat on until 6:55, when I handed it off to my husband and lined up for the start–another advantage of a low-key race.
The start also was low-key. There was no national anthem, but the announcer did thank veterans and service members for their service.
I started out at an 8:20ish pace, and held that more or less until the hilly section at miles 4-6, when my pace dropped to the 8:30 range. While I kept my eye on my Garmin, I wasn’t focused on maintaining a certain pace or achieving a certain finish time, although I figured I was still good for a sub-2:00. My pace felt comfortable, and I enjoyed the scenery, which really was beautiful for the first 10 miles.
I knew the 3 miles across the bridge and back were going to be hard, which is another reason I didn’t go all out when the course got flat again.
The elevation gain is small, but the bridge ends with a short steep climb.
I was happy when I still felt strong at mile 10, and wasn’t bothered when my pace fell off as soon as I hit the bridge. I knew I hadn’t trained for this race (more on that later), and was grateful to be feeling good for 13 miles at any pace.
Although the climb at the end of the bridge was cruel, the last stretch to the finish was a legitimate down hill. I spotted my husband on the sideline, and could tell he was taking a video. 🙂
The entrance to the bridge.
The finish also was low-key, with a self-service table of water bottles and bananas, and no one handing out medals. (I heard they were “delayed” but didn’t stay long enough to find out if they would arrive soon or in a few days.) I figured my husband had endured the cold long enough, so we headed right to the car–and Starbucks.
When I said I knew I hadn’t trained for this race, it was true. After I ran the Runners World Half October 22, I spent the next week participating in Orange Theory Fitness Hell Week, where the workouts included about 15 minutes on the treadmill. Then I headed to Phoenix for my work retreat, where I did 4-5 mile runs at various paces on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. That’s really the only running I did to stay in shape for this race.
Monday I went for a 5 mile hike in Phoenix, Tuesday I flew home, Wednesday I did a strength workout at home and one mile on the treadmill, Thursday I went to CycleBar, Friday I went to yoga, and yesterday I went on an easy 20 mile bike ride.
I think I have to credit Orange Theory for making my 8:20-8:30 pace feel comfortable. My “push pace” at OTF is 7.0 mph (8:34 mm) or higher, and my “all out” pace is 8.0 mph (7:30 mm). Those 15 minutes of intervals really do add up and pay off!
My next–and last–race on the calendar for 2017 is the Jingle All The Way 15K on December 10. If you’re local, you can join Deborah and me there!
Do you have any more races on your 2017 calendar?
How low-key is too low-key?