Name of the race: Run for the Red Pocono Half Marathon
Where: Stroudsburg, PA
Date: May 21, 2017
Time: 7:00 am
Distance: 13.1 miles
Terrain: Massive net decline (but with rolling hills)
Entry fee: $75 Through March 31
$90 April 1 Through May 20th or when registration reaches capacity (350 Runners)
$40 Active Military
$25 Active Military Academy
Post-race Food: Sandwiches, bagels, bananas, oranges, muffins, and water
Performance: Overall: 75/247 Gender: 29/139; Age (30-39): 14/50
Weather: 46 degrees, 100% humidity (I have a hard time believing this because it didn’t feel that humid. I checked another site and it indicated that humidity was 84% that day. Still, the day did not feel humid, but nice and crisp.)
Run for the Red Half is quickly becoming one of my favorite halves. It’s a PR- and BQ-friendly (for the marathon distance) course with a massive net decline that goes point-to-point through the Poconos. I ran this race last year, had a great time, and wrote up what is my favorite race report. I was looking forward to this race as this was my big spring goal race.
While I had a good training period leading up to my 5K PR, training fell off the wagon a bit after I obtained the long sought-after sub-23 goal. I think it’s kinda common to lose a bit of momentum after reaching a big goal. While I was still running regularly, I wasn’t having great training runs (not bad ones, but not great ones, mostly mediocre and some downright crappy). Usually before a big goal half, I’d like to do two 10-mile steady state runs, but I failed to do any before this half.
Going into this race, I didn’t know what to expect. At best, I figured I’d do a sub-1:50 and at worst, well, I’d just have a nice long (expensive) training run. My legs were feeling tired, so I didn’t have great hopes. Plus it didn’t help that Saturday morning was a comedy of errors. First I forgot my Simple Hydration bottle at the AirBnB that we were staying at. Luckily Ben remembered just as we pulled away from the driveway. Then several minutes later, I remembered that I left my bib behind, so we turned around to go get it. Fortunately we had enough time to go back because we intended to stop to get coffee, so I simply lost my morning coffee. Finally we almost drove to the wrong high school. The race starts at one high school and the marathon ends at another high school, which is where the expo was. Ben absentmindedly assumed we were going to Stroudsburg High (the end of the marathon) when he confirmed with me that we were going to the high school. SUPER FORTUNATELY FOR ME, as we were talking we realized that the directions were set up for the wrong high school. We corrected the direction to the other high school and I breathed a sigh of relief, when we saw that we had been driving in the correct direction and that the high school for the start was coming up shortly. We dodged a major bullet there.
Despite all that, we arrived to the start with plenty of time. One of the things I like about this race is that you have a warm indoor place to hang out before the start (the high school) and there are plenty of indoor restrooms. People don’t realize this and line up for the first restroom they see when if you walk down another hallway, there’s another restroom with no line.
I wanted to take the race pretty conservatively in the beginning, so I lined up with Otto, the 3:45 marathon pace leader because he was going to run an 8:35 pace. After I ran this race, I looked back at last year’s report and noticed a number of similarities, including the fact that I started with Otto last year as well (and our splits for the first three miles were pretty much identical).
My plan was to run 8:30’ish miles for the first 5 miles and then see how I felt.
As I tore through them, one of the marathoners said, “I hope you’re running the half.” I nodded my head. The pacer cheered me on and told me that I looked great. I responded with two thumbs up. I was on a mission.