Bull City Race Fest Half Marathon Recap

I am so excited that my first real post is a race recap! Running and racing in general is one of my favorite things, so I hope to share many more race recaps in the future.

14713751_10209014239426366_8043898981144901756_nThis morning I got to run the half marathon in the Bull City Race Fest, conveniently located a mile from Duke’s East Campus, where my dorm is located. I was very excited for this race because it was my first half marathon that I actually trained for. I did the Rock n’ Roll Music City Half Marathon in 2013, but my longest run before that was 5 miles, so I was not prepared in the least. This time around, I didn’t train as much as I’d like, but got in 4-5 weeks of slightly elevated mileage, running about 20 miles a week, and got in 3-4 good long runs, my longest being 9 miles. So, while I was not the most prepared, I had nowhere to go but up from my last half marathon experience. 14670897_10209014239786375_8835489910545303334_n

My morning began at 5:33, where I barely woke up to my alarm that had been set for 5:20. Somehow the volume got turned down to low, so it’s a miracle I heard it at all. For my pre-race meal I had a paleo pumpkin muffin (recipe courtesy of Paleo Running Momma’s recipe for Simple Paleo Pumpkin Bread) slathered with Justin’s maple almond butter, a small apple, and a cup of coffee of course. I like to have about 2 hours to digest my food before a race, and this combo of food seemed to sit really well in my stomach during the race. As I got dressed, I noticed that my shins and calves were feeling a little tight and I was still a bit sore from the previous week’s workouts, but I tried not to think about that and stay positive. My friend Reagan and I took an Uber to the start line and made it there at about 6:45, giving us plenty of time to check out bags, use the porta-potties, and find some other friends from Duke Club Running. Before I knew it, it was 7:30am and we were off!

I’ll be honest, the first 4 miles were horrible. Everything in my lower legs was hurting. The knot in my calf kept making itself know, my shins were on fire, and my Achilles tendon tightened up out of nowhere (I’ve never had a problem with this ever before). At mile 4, I knew I needed to stop and stretch or I wouldn’t make it, so I let my friends go ahead and I stretched my calves, shins, and Achilles for about a minute. I must’ve worked some miracles in that 60 seconds, because the next 4 miles felt amazing! I picked up the pace and managed to catch/pass one of my friends. I’m guessing that these miles were between 7:45-8:15 per mile and I felt fantastic.

I took the first picture around mile 6, when I realized “Hey, I’m gonna finish so I should document this for the blog!” The next one was taken around mile 8 as we ran through Duke’s East Campus. It is sideways and slightly blurry but, hey, I was running a race.

Around mile 9 was where the hills started. I was getting tired, but since my legs were starting to get tight, the uphills actually felt better than the downhills, so I used that to my advantage. I powered up the uphills and took my time on the downhills. I basically spent the last four miles telling myself “You can do this!” I only needed to stop and stretch one more time, but other than that I ran the entire thing. I picked up the pace a little in the last half mile, and I came to the finish right at 1:50, which was faster than my 2:00 goal time – I was thrilled! I was even more excited because the course was a bit long, so my pace may have been a bit faster than the 8:27 chip pace.

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Post race I drank an entire bottle of water, since I didn’t take much fluid in during the race, and ate a mini Clif trail mix bar (which tasted like a candy bar!). I hobbled to get my bag from bag check, stretched a little, and then had to make the 1 mile trek back to East Campus for a much needed brunch.

Overall, I was really pleased with this race experience! The race was pretty small compared to Rock ‘n Roll races (only about 1700 runners in the half), which I loved! The expo was a breeze (I even got some Sauconys for $50 off), and the race shirt is super cute and comfy. The course never got boring, although the hills at the end were pretty tough, but it was fun to do a little bit of exploring on foot around Durham. I would definitely do this race again!

As far as my next race goes, it will be the Raleigh City of Oaks 10k or Half. I’ll just have to see how well I recover from this race and if I feel up to cheering for a football game, running a half marathon, and then cheering for a basketball game all within 48 hours ;). Until next time!

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