Race Review: Palmetto Half Marathon 2012

Apr 15, 2012 by

Race Review: Palmetto Half Marathon 2012

2012 Palmetto Half Finisher Medal

I waited pretty late to enter the 2012 Palmetto Half.  The main reason I waited was March’s Columbia Marathon. With only five weeks between the two, I wanted to make sure I came out unscathed in the marathon before shelling out the money for the Palmetto Half.  I did, and I am sure glad I ran the Half.

The Event

As I said in my race preview, I was impressed with the first Palmetto Half in 2010, and I looked forward to them outdoing themselves this year.  Once again, I was impressed.  I cannot comment on the pre-race meal or expo, since I could not attend those.  I waited until race day to pick up my packet, but from my view, everything went well.

Five hundred runners turned out for the half marathon on April 14th.  Another 400 or so ran in the 5K.  Jud Brooker of Columbia won the men’s division in 1:14:13, and Amy McDonaugh of Irmo won the women’s division in 1:23:28.  The course was well marked had plenty of aid stations with water and Gatorade.  The finishing spread had the standard water, bananas and oranges and a special treat – Krispy Kreme glazed donuts.  I showed some will power (not sure why) and only had one, along with half a banana.

2012 Palmetto Half Tech Tee

The organizers also outdid themselves on the race shirt and finisher medal.  The 2010 shirt was a tech tee and had a great design, but it was gray.  So it was pretty good, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the gray.  This year, the shirt was also a tech tee but is red with a lime green palmetto tree.  Very nice (my picture doesn’t do it justice).  The finisher medal is also one of the better ones I have seen, with a very neat palmetto tree.  Since this is PalmettoStateRunner.com, I am partial to all things Palmetto :-).

Finally, the weather. I was worried when I wrote my preview.  The early warm weather around here had me concerned.  Well, those fears were not to be.  It might have  been the best running weather ever.  Yes ever.  There was almost no humidity and the temperature at race time was around 48 degrees.  The sun was just coming up at race start, and it warmed quickly. It may have been low 60’s at finish, but the low humidity made it very comfortable and a great day.

My Race – Some Firsts

This race had three firsts for me. Read on.

I have to admit, 14 hours before the race, I wasn’t too terribly excited.  I had worked in the yard a good bit on Thursday, so I was a little run down on Friday.  My wife even commented I was way more chilled about this race than usual.  For example, before the Columbia marathon, I had tapered properly, and I was bouncing off the walls the few days before, just ready to hit the road.  This week was opposite. I hadn’t even prepared my playlist by dinner on Friday!

Then Friday night, that all changed.  My friend Ben called.  He was running the race and wanted to run with me.  He’d seen that I was going to shoot for a pace around 8:00/mile, and he wanted to stick with me.  That sounded great.  I was now pumped up.  Maybe those 40 bales of pine straw weren’t such a good idea on Thursday after all, though.  Was I up for pacing and 8:00 miles? We’d see. This would be the first time I tried to pace somebody during a race.

So, Ben and I set out to meet or beat an 8:00/mile pace. That would give him a PR, and if we could do 7:59/mile or better that would give both of us PR’s.  I knew we could do it the first half.  The second half had me concerned.  This course works it way downhill the first half, then clobbers you the second half.  Our plan was to bank a bit of time on the downhills, giving us the extra seconds we’d need on the hills on the way back.

Well, we reached the halfway point right on plan, around the 51:40 mark and a pace of 7:53.  My legs were already protesting a bit as we started to climb the first of the tough hills on the way back up.  Then, by a stroke of luck on my playlist song placement, Freddie Mercury called out in my ear on Queen’s Somebody to Love Live in Montreal “OK, let’s do it” (at the 1:00 mark of the video below).  I may have had said out loud: Freddie, you’re on.

For the next 51 minutes, Ben and I had one of my most amazing runs of my short running life.  We didn’t break 8:00 minutes on that first hill from about mile 7-8, but after that we started reeling in people and beat 8:00 miles on each mile on the way in.  We also passed a bunch of people.  I think only one person passed us briefly on that second half, then we left him behind around mile 11.  Mile 13 was our fastest of the splits at 7:22, and according to my GPS watch, our last .1 was at a 6:16 pace.  We finished with a 7:51/minute pace for a total time of 1:42:40, and by all the crunching I can do with my watch software and Excel, we achieved the elusive negative split on a course that is not setup for that.  I believe this is my first negative split.

Ben, congratulations on your run, and thanks for that call.

One last note – the final first.  Since I try to amuse myself with song placement on my playlists, I stuck an ABBA song in this time – their first appearance on my run playlists. Huh?  You say.  Is this guy a loser?  Maybe, but the song was Waterloo.  I tried to place it right before the long uphill stretch of the course between miles 10.5 and 11.5 (Valhalla Dr, I believe).   I wanted to remind myself to not make this stretch my Waterloo. OK, so maybe I have issues.  I mistimed it a bit and it was too early, but the dumb luck of the Freddie Mercury comment at mile 7 more than made up for it.

For complete results, click here: http://www.strictlyrunning.com/results/12PHM.txt


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