Beginners and Beyond


Frederick Running Festival Half Marathon - Updated with finish line pic from the local paper! (Read 110 times)

Mostly harmless

    Frederick Running Festival Half Marathon

    This was my fifth half marathon and my third time running Frederick.  I love this race! The start line is a short drive from my house and since it is local I know where I am on the entire course.  It's also the first half marathon I ever ran although the course has changed considerably since then.

    I ran a marathon in March so I had a lot of miles under my belt over the winter.  After the marathon I took a couple weeks of down time to recover where I didn't run very much. In the weeks after the race I gradually resumed running. My plan was to gradually increase my mileage up to about 35 miles per week for the month of April.


    Then the soreness in both of my Achilles that I experienced shortly before the marathon returned. I took some down time the first week of April (my log says I ran 20 miles that week) to let that rest and get some work done around the house.  Eventually I managed to get in three solid weeks of training with a few longish runs. Still, I was feeling undert-rained for this race so a couple weeks before race day I decided to drop my goal time of 1:45 and just run it for fun.  At the same time I decided that after this race I would take a few weeks to focus on getting healthy and then start a dedicated push to BQ before I turn 50 (I'll be 47 in July).  

    Making the decision to run Frederick for fun was a big relief!  My runs got more relaxed and enjoyable.  My Achilles were slowly feeling better and I was able to hit some good runs at half marathon pace the last couple weeks.  The pressure to PR was off my back and I was feeling really good.  I felt so good that I let the idea of going for 1:45 slip back into my head.

    Race Day:
    I didn't feel nervous at all about this race until the night before.  Still, I got to sleep at around 11:00 and then up again at 5:00.  That's not much less than a typical night for me so I felt OK.  I took care of the usual race morning stuff.  Plain bagel and coffee for breakfast.  I planned to wear my new "Boston Stands as One" shirt for the race.  It's a cotton shirt so I used three coats of New Skin on my nipples to make sure I wasn't "bloody nipple guy" at the finish.  That stuff works great for me.  I drove the back way to the race and parked in the neighborhood right next to the start line. As I was getting set to warm-up, this flew right over my head!


    Pinned on my bib and did some warming up.  My legs felt really good with no soreness in the Achilles so I found the 1:45 pacer and introduced myself.  There were actually three pacers (two men and a woman) but one of the guys (Jon) seemed to be in charge.  He addressed the group and said that the plan was for them to run even 8:00 splits.  He encouraged everyone to use them as a guide and to stick with them or go out on their own later in the race depending on how they felt but they would run on pace the entire race. I really liked hearing that so I decided to run with them for as long as I could.  I wasn't sure if I had the endurance to hold 8:00 for that long but felt OK with the idea of risking a flame out near the end of the race.

    The Race:
    I had never started a race this close to the front before!  My watch and the course clock were only 10 seconds off.  

    01 - 8:03
    02 - 8:04
    Unlike other races, right from the start I felt like I was going faster than I was comfortable with.  I really had doubts about my ability to hold that pace but decided it was too late to change my mind now!

    03 - 7:45
    04 - 7:48
    When we passed the 4 mile mark I looked at my watch and said out loud that we were about 30 seconds fast.  A woman in front of me that had a purple shirt with a "4.15.13" bib pinned to her back mentioned that was what she had too.  She looked really strong and I got the feeling that she would be a good person to run with.

    05 - 7:59
    06 - 8:02
    This is the neighborhood near baker park.  As we ran along other runners started calling out anything that might be a tripping hazard in the road such as a speed bump or pothole.  I don't remember this happening in other races but I really liked that we were all looking out for each other this way.  

    07 - 8:12
    There was a bit of a long climb in this mile and we slipped off pace a bit.  No worries though since we were still around 15 seconds ahead.

    08 - 8:05
    09 - 7:52
    Somewhere in here I suddenly knew that I was going to finish in under 1:45. I don't know why but all doubt just left me.

    10 - 8:01
    11 - 8:04
    I thought about moving out ahead when we hit the 11 mile mark but decided not to push my luck.  I would run one more mile with the pacers and then see what I could do the last mile

    12 - 7:56
    We hit the 12 mile mark just as the course took a left turn on 5th street so as we rounded the corner, off I went.  I didn't know it at the time but Purple Shirt must have gone with me.  The first half mile is flat and then a nice down hill before you cross Carroll Creek.  On the other side of the bridge is a nice little hill. It's not very long, but pretty steep.  As I got to the top of the hill, Purple Shirt passed me on my right.  This made me REALLY happy because now I had someone to race!  I fell in behind her as we made the right turn into the fairgrounds.  She cut a corner into the grass to pass two guys and I followed right behind her.  From there it was onto the horse track.  Hitting the crushed stone surface was a bit of a shock to the system but Purple Shirt didn't slow down at all so neither did I.  She stayed in the middle of the track as we approached the curve.  I started to move down near the rail but decided the surface was too uneven and moved back in behind her.  We passed several runners going around the curve at the bottom of the track. I looked up and could see the finish at the midway point of the straight away.  I moved along side Purple Shirt and started my sprint.  I heard my DW shout my name from the infield where she was watching but I was too focused to look for her.  I passed Purple Shirt and then managed to pick off one more runner before crossing the finish.  I felt fantastic for about a half a second and then got really nauseous.  I came really close to throwing up but managed to keep it all down.  I can't remember ever running that hard before.

    13 - 7:38
    .1 - 0:45


    It took me a minute to get my stomach under control.  Once I felt like I was OK I looked around for Purple Shirt to congratulate her but couldn't find her.  Right then the pacers walked past me so I yelled out "Pacers!" and when they turned around I applauded and thanked all three of them.  Jon asked me if I hit my goal and when I said I did he gave me a big high five and congratulated me.  I thanked all three of them again and then went off to get my medal.  I posed for a picture with the photographer and suddenly spotted Purple Shirt in the crowd.  I had to shuffle a little bit to catch her before she left but I did manage to catch her and thank her for a good race.


    I found this on the website for our local newspaper! Crossing the finish line. Purple Shirt looks happy.

    Thanks for reading and I'm sorry for writing such a long report!


    Official Finish time was 1:44:18. A PR by about 6 and half minutes.


    Me with both of my DD's and DD's boyfriend.  DS had a soccer game that started at 10:00 so he caught a ride with someone else.  We had a quick victory breakfast at IHOP and then went to watch his game.  His team won 2-1, beating a rival they had lost to on their last three meetings.  DS got an assist on the first goal.


    "It doesn’t matter how often you do it or how much you accomplish, in general, not running is a lot easier than running." - Meb Keflezighi

      Scott, congrats on the PR!


        Good race report. Congrats on the PR.


        It was a really good event. I thought the city did a wonderful job and the crowd support was fantastic.

          I said it already in the dailies, but nice work out there and you ran one very smart race. Congrats on hitting your goal and I really enjoyed reading through your RR.

          Train smart ... race smarter.

          Just B.S.

            Fabulous job Scott. That is a big PR for the 1/2 distance. Congrats!

            Jack K.

            uʍop ǝpᴉsdn sǝʇᴉɹʍ ʇI

              Cool! That is a big time PR!  Well done.


                Congratulations, Scott! That's an awesome PR and finish time! You rock!

                PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013

                        Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013

                18 marathons, 18 BQs since 2010

                  Great race! Congrats on the huge PR.


                  What was purple shirts response?

                  PR's : HM 1:51:15  -  5K 21:27



                  Mostly harmless

                    Great race! Congrats on the huge PR.


                    What was purple shirts response?


                    She seemed kind of bitter.

                    "It doesn’t matter how often you do it or how much you accomplish, in general, not running is a lot easier than running." - Meb Keflezighi


                    Healed Hammy

                      Really nice job Scott, well paced.  You and I run about the same pace and I am always leary if I could hold 8:00 for 13.1 miles.  For that reason I have not run a HM.  Your RR gives me hope that it is possible.  Could you have run the same time had you not been using pacers?  In other words did they take the mental pressure off of you and allowed you to fight the fatigue with more vigor?


                      Gratz on the PR, I say 3:45 for MCM is possible.

                        Congrats on a great race!


                        Chasing Rainbows

                          Congratulations on a great race and PR.  You rocked it!

                          The obstacle is the path. - Zen proverb

                            Damn.  That's a big PR.  Love local races.

                            Short term goal: 17:59 5K

                            Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

                            Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).

                            YAYpril - B-Plus

                              Great RR and race, Scott! Congratulations on the PR. I loved the picture of the balloon. Diana had posted a picture (perhaps of the same balloon) on Facebook on Sunday morning.


                                Congratulations on the PR.  It sounds like a good race.