Finished in 2:05:46(official); no new PR
Split - 1:01:32 first half; 1:04:13 second half
Overall place: 298/753Men(40-44): 42/63
Race #72 and Half Marathon #25 - Wohoo! A milestone half.
A great race! I love Back to the Beach since it takes place in my training grounds. The trails were awesome today and for those that have not run in Stony Creek Metropark, this allows you to see a lot of the park. Well organized race from the beginning to the end and Joe, the race director always does it from the heart. He's a runner so he knows what we like. Short course from my GPS but I don't rely on my GPS when it's on trails and almost impossible to be correct. This was half #25 for me and I'm glad it was one in my backyard. I will do this one again for sure. It's so fun!
Race registration was through Active and it was easy as always. Just fill in your information and you were good to go. The race also has a website with all the information you need to know about the race.
The race had several options for packet pickup. They gave you TWO Saturdays to pickup early and also pickup race morning. Since this is so close to my home, I pickup up the first weekend. Packet pickup is located at the Utica location of Hanson's Running Shop. Yeah, that Hanson's.
|Packet pickup at Hanson's Running Shop|
|Joe, race director on the right|
|Race day packet pickup|
|Entrance to Stony Creek Metropark|
|Plenty of Parking|
|Plenty of Port-o-potties|
|Medals 4 Mettle - that Joe also runs and is a charity for the race too|
Also new this year(well maybe last year but I didn't race last year) was a photo opportunity with a race backdrop and you could get pictures. I love this idea and think all races should do this. The start area had plenty of port-o-potties but also offered real bathrooms which is always a big bonus at races.
|Joe working hard race day|
|New this year! Photo op sign|
|Real backrooms too - bonus!|
|People waiting to race and having fun|
|National Anthem almost ready!|
I had one goal for this race which was to finish. I only ran 3 miles in the last 10 days due to an injury and so I figured it would be a really slow half. My legs overall were feeling pretty good and I'm happy they held out for the full race even though I did struggle a bit. My plan was to take it easy, walk if I needed to and not get hurt more. I accomplished that(I think) and was happy that my time did not suffer too much.
|Map per Garmin|
As you can see, when we got to the largest hill on the course, we decided to walk up it and not push it. I was not interested in getting hurt to save 60 seconds and my running buddy Kevin is running a freaking marathon in 6 days so he was in for walking it too. Out of necessity, I walked a little in the last mile since my IT band was acting up but considering I was thinking I'd be at 2:30 finish, I was really happy that I didn't feel terrible and still finished in a decent time for me.
|Stats per Garmin|
|Splits per Garmin|
|People ahead of me|
|People behind me(including Coach Ken taking my picture)|
We ran in the back of the first wave which was perfect. It was a perfect day for a half marathon and the temperatures started in the high 40's. This was so much better than the last couple years when it was 20+ degrees warmer at the start. The weather definitely made the course feel easier than when I ran it in 2012 even though it's not an easy course.
The course started out on a grassy area which is perfect to get used to running. I was so happy to stay off the pavement as much as I could with about 60% or more of the race on grass, trails or dirt roads.
|Grass to start|
|Onto a short trail|
|Course well marked|
|Look at all those people(sorry for the blurry picture)|
|Onto the path|
|Heading to the Trolley Trails|
|Lots of hills|
|Onto the path coming|
|Back on the path heading out of park|
|Heading towards the neighborhood path|
|Bridges to run over|
|Port-o-potties and police|
|By the neighborhood|
|Heading to dirt roads|
|Dirt roads begin|
|Nice area to run|
|Pot holes not too bad|
|Almost to Sheldon Rd|
|Lots of pot holes here but still not too bad|
|Port-o-pottie on course|
There's always people there cheering on runners here to help get them up the long hill. You can see from the elevation chart where this is since it sticks out or really up.
|Back on the Mountain Bike trails|
|Well marked course with signs and spraypaint|
|Kevin leading the way|
|More grassy area two track|
|Near Sheldon estate|
|People cheering on the hardest mile with a large hill|
|Still on the hill|
|Coming down the hill|
|Mountain bike support|
|Only a few muddy spots but I didn't get a good picture of either|
|Marked roots - how awesome!|
|Coming off the trails|
|Heading to the path|
|Almost on the path|
|On the path|
|High water for Stony|
|Where I train weekly|
|Hills on the path|
|The North Bridge|
|Back to grass|
|Again well marked|
The aid station and volunteers were awesome. They had water and Gadorade at every aid station and also had GU and GU Chomps in two locations. In addition, they had a Jello Shot and Beer station. This year again they had two cold towel stations as well. Given the cooler weather I didn't use it this year but, boy, were these great last time I ran this race. Finally at the end, there was a station giving out Hawaiian lei's for you to wear as you crossed the finish line.
|Jello shots and beer aid station|
|Port-o-potty and aid station|
After we finished, a volunteered handed you your medal and then there were volunteers there to cut off your timing chip since they were put on with zip ties.
|Timing chip cutters|
|Finish photo area|
|Protein Bars, bagels, bananas, pop tarts|
For the $45 race entry fee + $4.29 online surcharge, I received a nice mix of trails and cement course. The course was mostly closed since it was in the Metropark. The race was chip timed and there was a good offering of finish line food. You also received a nice tech shirt which I will wear in training. In addition, new this year was a race car sticker. Once again, the race had a glass with the race name on it and finally, they offered an incredible race medal. The medal is not only a great design but the waves look like glass and the "sun guy" spins. I love spinning medals. It's also a really colorful medal too and a lot of thought was put into it.
|Race car sticker|
|Number 25 for 25th half marathon|
|Medal with ribbon|
|Medal close up|
The organization was great. The communication on emails as well as their Facebook page was great. Registration was simply and packet pickup was really easy. The start and finish line was well organized and everything was easy to find. The course was marked perfectly. There was plenty of parking as well as enough medals and food and bathrooms. Sure the course showed short on my GPS but I have more faith in Joe's ability than my little watch. Read this article to learn more about GPS and you will see why I'm not worried about it especially on trails.
Is this a race I would do again? Absolutely. This was actually my second time(#7 and #25 half). It's a really fun half marathon with a great theme. The volunteers are great. The aid stations are numerous and well organized. The director puts his heart and sole into this race and it really shows in all aspects of the race. He's a local runner and knows what runners like. There's awesome race bling and an all around great time. It sells out each year and you can certainly see why. If you have not run this race, sign up next year for a great time.
|Success at the beach|
Disclosure: I paid for this race entry myself. All opinions are my own.