Race Preview: 2013 Columbia Marathon

Mar 6, 2013 by

Race Preview: 2013 Columbia Marathon

After the 2012 Columbia Marathon, I didn’t know if I’d run it again in 2013.  Oh, there was nothing wrong with the race.  In fact, it was an extremely well organized event, and I had a good race.

Here’s the deal though. I’ve always told myself I wouldn’t repeat the same marathon.  Originally, my thinking was ‘Hey since you can only do a marathon every so often, perhaps one a year, you might as well go somewhere new each time.’

I still feel that way a little bit, but one thing that has changed that I really didn’t count on – my ability to do marathons more frequently than I ever imagined (I’ve done a road marathon and a trail ultra marathon since the last Columbia Marathon).  So, when race director Dan Hartley announced some route changes and an awesome shirt, well, I was in.  Plus, I get to sleep in my own bed the night before!

Route Change = Better Finish

With the circus in town during this year’s race weekend, Dan Hartley had to make some route changes and avoid the Colonial Life Arena side of Assembly Street. The start has been altered to begin on Sumter Street next to the South Carolina State House.  The finish has been modified to come down Main Street and finish in front of the State House at the corner of Main and Gervais Streets.  Then, all post-race festivities will be on State House grounds.

Although, I appreciated (and needed!) the downhill finish at last year’s event, this is a very nice change for 2013 (and beyond?).  Unfortunately, these changes didn’t take out any of the toughest hills on the course!  For course map and elevation click here to go to the official website for the marathon.

The Number Twenty-two

Perhaps Sad That I Still Have These…

Growing up, I played a lot of organized basketball. Early on, I had the number twenty-two and it became my favorite.  I was able to keep that number most years.  Now that I run marathons, the number twenty-two has a different meaning.  Now, it means twenty two miles is all I have in me before I hit “The Wall”.

Below I’ve included a chart of my marathon splits (minutes per mile) from each of my first four marathons.  Being a nerd, I record this info.  For the last three marathons my GPS watch did it for me.  On my first, in 2009 before my GPS watch, I had to press the watch split button at each mile marker, then go back and review.   I threw the numbers in an Excel spreadsheet and made a chart of the data.

My Four Marathon Splits

Here’s a chart with the average split for the four races:

Marathon Splits Average for My Four Marathons

You can see that the wheels get wobbly after mile twenty, then completely come off after mile twenty-two.  My goal for this week’s race is to beat this trend.  Unfortunately for me, the second time up the long Trenholm Road hill is about the twenty-two mark.  We’ll see.  My time goal is to beat 3:45, which would be a personal best.  Off to work on a playlist!

POFIFOTO! Finishing 2012 Columbia Marathon

PS. The weather forecast looks good. Should be around 40 degrees for the 7:30am start, then warm up nicely to almost 60 by finish.

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Race Report: 2013 Lexington Race Against Hunger

Feb 24, 2013 by

Race Report: 2013 Lexington Race Against Hunger

As I’ve mentioned several time before, the Lexington Race Against Hunger is one of my favorite races.  It is well organized with a great cause, has a good tough route, and has a nice post race spread.  I just realized, though, the extra piece of the puzzle that makes the race so good: the Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church gym.

Huh? You say.

Since the race occurs the last weekend of February, the weather turns out to be a factor more often than not.  Most of the time, the race is cold.  The first year I ran it, it rained the entire time, but the temperature was fairly warm.  This year the forecast was not only cold but also heavy rain.  So, as I hung out in the dry gym as the rain poured, I was thankful to have it. Then, after the race, as we listened to the awards presentation in a nice warm building, I was again thankful for the gym.

I had three goals for this year’s LRAH: set my first PR in a 10K since 2009,  help place our company team in the top 3 of the corporate competition, and, finally, stay injury free with my next marathon just two weeks away.

So, what happened? Let’s find out.

Goal 1: Break 46:45 to Set a New 10K Personal Record (PR)

As I hung out in the gym before the race, occasionally looking outside at the pouring rain, I was thinking to myself ‘No PR today without a good warmup’.  I really didn’t want to go run around any longer in cold rain than I had to, but about 30 minutes before the race, the rain pretty much stopped, and I stepped out into a damp 40 degrees to warm up. I donned my homemade leaf bag rain slick and headed out.  I was able to get an OK 15-20 minute warm up, but certainly not what would have like.  At least I was dry so far.  I wandered up to the starting line,  found a couple of my team mates and waited for the starting gun.

The race started right on time, and we took off.  My basic strategy was this: try to run the easier, flatter miles (1, 2, and 6) around a 7 minute per mile pace.  Then for hilliest miles (3, 4, and 5), just give what I could and hope I could beat 46:45.  I had run a 5K two weeks prior that seemed to indicate I was in the ballpark with these goals.

Mile 1 was right on target, about 7:06, but a light rain had started back. Mile 2 is a very steep downhill, and I ran it in 6:54, for a two mile split right on plan.  Good news/bad news at the point. The rain stopped.  That was good news.  The bad news?  Now the brutal part of the course appeared as we climbed Main Street Lexington.  After the tough hills of South Church Street, my mile 3 split was 7:45.

Mile 3 had really taken its toll, and despite mile 4 being flatter, I could only manage another 7:45 split.  The first half of mile 5 is a decent down hill on Hendrix Street toward Church St.  I knew the second half of mile 5 included a short steep hill up Church St to Main Street, then another tough hill up North Lake Drive as we turned back toward Saxe Gotha and the finish.  So, I tried to make up some time on the Hendrix Street downhill.

Must have work, because I hit the 5 mile split at 7:28.  Not great, but decent.  There was still a bit of the North Lake Drive hill left between Lexington Elementary School and Lexington Middle.  My watch showed just past 37 minutes.  1.2 miles to go, and I couldn’t really do the math to tell if I was I ahead of my goal pace.

Almost There: Sucking It Up at Mile 6

My GPS watch will tell me my per mile pace, but I decide not to check it  Just suck it up, I told myself.  Almost there.  As I topped the hill and took one last swig of water from the last aid station, I just tried to keep the legs churning.    The mile 6 split was 7:24, and my watch showed around 44:30.  I thought I was in the clear for a PR now, but I tried to push it a bit more to make sure.  I crossed the finish line in 45:55, running the last .2 miles at a 7:06 per mile pace and securing the PR by 50 seconds!

To see the complete results, click here.

Goal 2: Help Our Team to a Top 3 Finish in the Corporate Competition

One of the unique aspects of the LRAH, is the corporate competition, where teams compete in cross country style scoring, taking your top five runners as scorers.  Well, this year we could only muster up 5 runners for our team.  I’m proud to report we defended our 3rd place finish from last year.

Goal 3: Stay Injury Free

Hmmm.  Jury is still out on this one. As I mentioned earlier, my next marathon (Columbia, SC Marathon) is March 9th, two short weeks after the LRAH.  The training program that I loosely follow had me running 13 miles at a slower pace instead of a 10K at all out race pace on LRAH day.  Well, I did the 13.  I just did 6 more miles after the LRAH awards to get it in.  I felt pretty good, too.  On Sunday, (today, as I write this) I was pretty sore in the usual post race spots – calves and quads.  As the day has gone on, though, a pain that I had hoped to never have again has appeared in the top of my left foot.  Last time, I found out I had stress fractures.  This time, I hope it is just some tendon soreness, and I will take it easy on the running this week.


Again, to see the complete results, click here.

PS.  Given the weather forecast of cold rain, I took extra care with my playlist, adding several appropriate songs to amuse myself.  Here’s a screen shot of my tunes for the race:

2013 LRAH PlayList



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Race Preview: Lexington Race Against Hunger 10K 2013

Feb 17, 2013 by

Race Preview: Lexington Race Against Hunger 10K 2013

I can hardly believe it, but on February 23rd, I will be running the Lexington Race Against Hunger 10K for the 5th time!  Much has changed in four years.  in 2009, the LRAH was my first oranized race, and I had only run over 6 miles once before the actual race.

These days,  6 miles is a pretty short workout for me.  And though I’ve run many races over the last fours years, the LRAH is still one of my favorites.  The race organizers do a fantastic job, and there is a large turnout.   Last year, I came close to a personal best for a 10K, and this year I hope to actually set that PR.  I haven’t set a PR in a 10K since 2009!

The course is tough, though, so a PR will be extra special.  Here’s the course elevation map:

There’s still time to register, and there is a 5K walk if 10K is too much for you. Visit the official website at http://www.lrah.org.

For my race review from last year, click here.


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Race Review: 2013 Harbison 50K Trail Race Part 1

Jan 7, 2013 by

Race Review: 2013 Harbison 50K Trail Race Part 1

Our Hero’s Race Bib

Happy New Year!  When we last left our hero he was listening to Freebird and crashing badly at the end of the Spinx Run Fest Marathon in Greenville, SC.

Given the lack of posts the past two months, it may  seem he finally came to his senses and gave up long distance running – after all,  it was around mile 22 at Spinx where the inevitable “Why do I do this?” question popped into his head.

So, did our hero abandon his Walter Mitty-esque running goals – breaking 20 minutes in a 5K, qualifying for the Boston Marathon, beating the local shirtless runner?

Of course not.  As a matter of fact, it wasn’t too many days after the Spinx Marathon, that he had what some have said was a crazy idea. “I think I am ready for the Harbison 50K”.  It made perfect sense (to a crazy runner, anyway.)  How? You say.  If you can barely finish 26.2 miles on the road.  How are you going to do 31 miles in the woods?

Easy. You see, at some point much of running is between the ears.  And with the progress he had made with heart rate training over the past year our hero felt he was ready for the next challenge – an ultra marathon.  Less than two weeks after Spinx, he had signed up for the January 5, 2013 Harbison 50K Trail Race.

The training plan was pretty simple, keep the normal weekly workouts going (4-5 workouts, mostly 45 minute to 1 hour runs) but do a couple of long (3+ hours) training runs on the  Harbison trails in November and December.  As an added bonus, a local cycle shop, Cycle Center, was putting on a half marathon trail race at Harbison three weeks before the 50K – perfect tune up.

The Actual Event Review

If you’ve read any race reviews, you may have seen that my general formula is to break my reviews into two sections.  The first section is about the race specifics – course, swag, organization.  The second is about my personal struggles and triumphs during the race.  I’ll stick to that here, but try to keep the remarks a bit shorter.

Race Administration

This is the 3rd running of the Harbison 50K and is organized by the same Dan Hartley who directs the Columbia Marathon.  If you read my review of the 2012 Columbia Marathon, you know I was impressed by how well that race went for a first time event.  I hoped he could live up to the expectations set by the road race.

Well, I’m happy to report, this was an excellent event.   Swag consisted of a nice long sleeve technical tee shirt that was a unique shade of blue.  We also had a first for me in swag – a pint glass with the race date, logo and sponsors engraved.  Finally, the current issues of Trail Runner and Ultra Running magazines were in our bag.  Our race bibs also had our first and last names.

In what I suspect is common in the trail ultra events, Dan held a pre-race briefing the night before the race at a local hotel to cover course markings and answer questions.  This was helpful.  He also held a raffle, giving out probably close to two dozen prizes.  Unfortunately, despite lots of no-shows (must be present to win!), I did not win anything. I would have liked one of the free entries into this year’s Columbia Marathon.

The Course

As the race name says, the event was held at the Harbison State Forest in Columbia, SC.  I don’t have extensive trail running experience, but I have done two half marathons there and try to get out there a few times a year to run.  Basically, Dan has created a large loop out the various trails there and we ran the loop twice.  Of course, he managed to work in the entire Spiderwoman trail, making miles 9-12 and 25-28, especially tough.

One thing I really liked about this race was the way we started.  The first mile and a quarter or so was on a wide gravel road.  This allowed the field to spread out into its natural order.  The other 2 trail races I have done had a much shorter gravel road start, and then passing in the woods during the first few miles is a real pain.  This start worked pretty well, I thought.

About the only slight complaint, I have is the finish. We appeared from the woods back at the center gazebo area and had to cross the gravel road and there was just a guy holding a medal for us in the grassy area.  I didn’t see a finish banner or anything.   There was a clock next to him, but it didn’t seem to be working, or I could have been delirious.

Aid stations

The course had three aid stations that worked out to seven stops due to the looping and routing.  They were well stocked with all kinds of goodies: Gu gels, trail mix, M&Ms, peanuts, pretzels and other stuff.  I’m not used to eating much on long runs, and had not really trained for that, but so I stuck with trail mix and M&M’s.  I had hoped to have some chicken noodle soup as advertised, but when I asked about soup at one or two of the stations, I was told all they had was chili.  That didn’t sound good on the run, so I went on.

Post race

Post race spread looked like a cookout with burgers and hotdogs.  I had a burger but really didn’t feel like eating much, so I watched a few more finishers and left.

It is getting late, and I haven’t even covered my personal struggles during the race.  I’ll work on a part two and post that later.  I will tell you I finished in 6:01:52 officially.  Good for 72nd out of 146.

For the final results click here: http://ultrasignup.com/results_event.aspx?did=17108


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Race Review: Spinx Run Fest 2012 – Part 2

Nov 8, 2012 by

Race Review: Spinx Run Fest 2012 – Part 2


This is Part two of my 2012 Spinx Run Fest marathon review.  You can find part one here.

The Delimma
If you’ve been a subscriber to this blog, you probably remember that for the past year, I have been training primarily by keeping my heart rate below a certain threshold.  Some call this the Maffetone Method. This means much slower training runs than race runs.  If you haven’t raced much lately, like me, then knowing what pace you can handle is a bit of a mystery, especially for long races.

So, here’s a scenario for you: Suppose you plan to run in a marathon.  Then, suppose your training time had been rescheduled and cut short.  Then, suppose your last long training runs did not go well.  Then, suppose the week of the race you had low energy, despite not running 3 days before the race.  And to top it off, suppose you woke up at 3am the morning off the race and couldn’t sleep until the alarm finally went off at 5:15am?

Would you think you should try to go for a personal record (PR)?  Well, if you are me, then sure you do.  I mean, after all, if I could run a PR, then I’d have something big to tell my blog audience, and everyone would probably be convinced (including myself) that the Maffetone Method is definitely the way to go.

So, that was the decision I made Friday night, before the 3 – 5 am no sleep zone.  My marathon PR stood at 3:47:40, which is a 8:41/mile pace.  My 12K race two weeks before (7:29 pace) and 5K fun run/race the week before (7:51 pace)  seemed to indicate I was in the ball park fitness wise.  26.2 miles is a long ways from 12K (7.4 miles), though.  On Thursday before the race, I hastily made a playlist that was exactly 4 hours long.  I had not put a ton of thought into this playlist, so I just stuck my standard finish song, the 14 minute live version of Freebird at the end.  So the setup was this: If I set a PR, I don’t heard Freebird.  If I start to hear Freebird, then I’m toast.

Let’s see how I did.  Remember, the goal is to beat an 8:40/mile pace.

Race Day

Race start time was 7:30am.  Not wanting to pay the $200/night hotel rates in downtown Greenville, I stayed at father-in-law’s house about 30 miles away.   I left there at 5:45, expecting to arrive by 6:30.  With no traffic, I zipped right in arrived in the parking lot close to the start I had scoped out the night before.  It was only 6:20.  Guess I have plenty of time to warm up, I thought to myself.  The car temperature gauge said 61 degrees, but it was a little breezy thanks to Hurricane Sandy out in the Atlantic, so it seemed chilly.  I keep my long sleeve pullover on and went to warm up and find the restrooms.

The Course

Getting started

About 7:25, I ditched my pullover and wandered over to the starting line.  One of the nice things about this race was the half marathoners had a totally separate route and started at a different time.  This made for a much less crowded start.  There wasn’t much fanfare, and eventually the announcer counted down from 10 and set us off.

The course starts out on the west end of Main Street with a downhill 1/2 mile or so and is really too easy to get sucked into starting too fast.   First mile clocked in at 8:24.  Not too bad, I thought.  Just don’t push any faster.

The second mile brings you back down a bit with short steep hill as you pass under Academy Street.  It is then pretty level until a nasty little bridge over the rail road tracks about mile 3.  The race magazine pointed out this hill as a highlighted spot and even apologized, saying it was either the bridge or risk getting stopped by a train.  It really didn’t seem that bad on that first pass, but I didn’t realize we’d have to come back over during mile 24.  Miles 2 and 3 were 8:18 and 8:39.

The Swamp Rabbit Trail (SRT)

What a an awesome surprise.  I had never heard of the SRT until reading about it in the race description and then going to its website, where I learned it was an old rail line.  About 15 miles of the race was on the SRT.  We hit a section of the trail for about a half mile along the Reedy River during the third mile, but starting at mile 3 we hit it for  about a  3.5 mile stretch.   The section was very colorful with the leaves just past their fall peak.  I felt good and settled into a good groove. For miles four through 7, I clocked off times of 8:34, 8:26, 8:48, and 8:18.  With just over 1/4 done, my overall pace was 8:29.  So far, so good.

Furman First Pass Through

We exited the SRT around the 7.5 mile mark and entered a side entrance of Furman University.  I was looking forward to this.  It had been over twenty five years since I’d been on the campus.  Furman did not disappoint.  This was another scenic section, as we ran down oak lined roads and around Swan Lake.  At this point, just past mile 10, we took a slight off road path and re-entered the SRT to head toward Travelers Rest.  Miles 8, 9, and 10  through Furman: 8:46, 8:06, 8:30.

SRT again

This was a pretty tough section of the SRT, slightly less than  two miles.  It could have been my imagination or me tiring, but it seemed to be more uphill than it had been.  Mile 11: 8:40

Travelers Rest

We now exited the SRT for a bit took off onto a short stretch of county roads.  Just to remind us this race was in the foothills of the Applachain mountains, we came upon a tough hill at mile 12.  We then entered the town of Travelers Rest, running down Old Buncombe Road as we hit the 13 mile mark.

Here was the only really odd section of the race.   Just past the 13 mile mark, we entered the SRT again along Main Street in Travelers Rest, still needing to head north to the turn around spot at mile 13.6.  Faster runners were now coming back into us after they turned around and headed back south. The race magazine map and signs on the course urged runners to run on the left side of the path, but no one obeyed.  It wasn’t a big deal, though, and I made the turn,  thinking ‘All right. It’s all down here from here.’  Boy was I wrong.

We headed back down the SRT for about 1.5 miles on a section we had missed by taking the county roads.   Miles 12-15: 8:16, 8:39, 8:35, 7:56 (where did that come from?)  Average pace through 15 miles: 8:27!

Furman Again

Mile 16 split between a repeated section of the SRT and a section we missed due to the first pass through Furman.  At mile 17, though, it was time for the second tour of Furman.  It started out the same, but took a different turn in the middle of campus.  I think everything was uphill on this section,  and any previous run hills had doubled in size.

We then hit the SRT again down behind the football stadium.  It was during this last mile through Furman I sensed the first signs of trouble.  If my legs were wheels, I definitely had loose lugs  now and the wheels were getting wobbly. 19 miles down.  Miles 16-19: 8:51. 8:23, 8:53, 9:06.


I was glad to see the SRT again. Furman had just killed my legs and I was ready for some downhill.  Funny, though, it didn’t seem all that down hill!   I did manage a couple of last decent miles and even managed to pass a couple of people.  Miles 20 and 21: 8:33, 8:41.  Average pace through 20 miles: 8:32.  Still OK.  Let the tough part of the day begin!

Home (Plate) Stretch

I took my last of five energy gels at mile 21.  I hoped this would be some kind of magic boost.  It wasn’t.  Miles 21 through 23 really slowed.  I knew I was really struggling, especially when I actually ran off the paved path.  Twice.  We exited the SRT.  Remember the  bridge over the railroad I mentioned earlier?  It was now looming in the middle of mile 24.  What seemed like a short quick bump at mile two now looked like the Cooper River bridge.  I succumbed to the walk of shame, and some guy passed me.  He agreed with my comment that this was cruel at mile 24.

After the bridge, the course was very flat for a while,  and we actually reentered the SRT along the Reedy River.  I tried to enjoy the scenery, but I was hurting too much.  Just past mile 25, we finally exited the SRT for the last time entered the streets of Greenville.  We ran up River Street until it turned right onto Main.  Miles 22-25: 9:14, 9:25, 9:40, 9:53.  Average pace through 25 miles: 8:42.  Clearly, I’ve crashed and burned.  This is called hitting the wall, folks.  I was now hoping to just possibly break 3:50.

Remember that Main Street downhill start?  Now we had to go up that same hill toward Fluor Field.  At this point, the 3:50 pacer passed me (with no runners in tow), and I just had to watch her go up the hill.  Guess that’s out the window, too, thought. I don’t remember doing the walk of shame, but it was definitely the shuffle of pain.

Fluor Field Outfield

I made it to the top and turned left.  All down hill from here. We made another left and then a left into the Greenville Drive stadium, entering Fluor Field in the right field corner.  I heard the announcer call my name, and a huge cheer went up.  OK, the cheering was from my playlist – Freebird had kicked in.  I had not made my original goal, but I had a new goal – just keep shuffling on around the warning track, turn down the left field line and on to the finish near home plate.  I briefly entertained trying to pick up the pace to break 3:50, but I realized  about centerfield that wasn’t going to happen, so I didn’t try to hurt myself anymore.

The End

I crossed the final line near home plate and someone put a medal around my neck.  My final time was 3:50:44, an 8:47/mile pace.  117th place out of 508 and no PR.  Mile 26 seemed like I was in slow motion and was 11:09.  The final two tenths of a mile was roughly an 11:00 pace as well.   Below is a chart of my mile split times.

There was one last cruel twist after the finish – we had to climb stairs up from the infield to the concourse where the post race refreshments were.  I made it up the stairs and grabbed a vitamin water.  I noticed some ham sandwiches but the thought of a sandwich was not appealing.  I grabbed a small banana and tried to down it.  There was also a yogurt parfait that looked good, so I grabbed one of those, too.  At this point, I just wanted just sit down, but I knew I better keep walking to help recovery.  So, I wandered back down Main Street to watch others battle the final hill.

The Finish

Final Thoughts

If you’ve read this far, thanks.  I hope you enjoyed the rambling.  This really was a fun run.  OK, about 21 miles were fun.  Anyway, I’d highly recommend this race.  If marathons aren’t your thing, then try the 5K or half marathon.

Of the four South Carolina marathons I’ve done, this was my favorite course and definitely not as hilly as I would have thought.  Columbia was worse. For those of you in the Greenville area, I’m jealous of the Swamp Rabbit Trail.  I hope to plan future trips back there for cycling or running with the family.

Click here for final results.



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Race Review: Spinx Run Fest Marathon 2012 Part 1

Oct 30, 2012 by

Race Review: Spinx Run Fest Marathon 2012 Part 1

This is part one of my write up on the Spinx Run Fest Marathon in Greenville, South Carolina. In this part, I’ll cover pre race.

Three weeks ago, I considered not going to the Spinx Run Fest (SRF) marathon.  My last couple of scheduled long training runs before race day had not gone well, and I was doubting my fitness.  Since I had paid the early registration, I figured it wouldn’t be the first time I’d wasted $50.  Well, a turn in the weather and a decent 12K race two weeks prior changed my mind.

I am so glad I did.  The SRF was definitely worth the two hour drive to Greenville.

Short Version:  I really enjoyed my SRF experience.  I thought the course was excellent, especially the Swamp Rabbit Trail.  Finishing in the stadium is a nice touch.  If you are from out of town and can make a weekend of it and stay at one of the downtown hotels, I think you will really enjoy Greenville.  For the race results click here.

For the long version, read on.

Day Before

Packet Pickup/Expo

As you probably know, most marathons have an Expo the day before the race, where vendors and other race promoters gather to sell and advertise to the runners.  From what I could gather from articles about Run Fest, last year’s Expo was held outside at Fluor Field and the weather was iffy.  This year’s Expo and packet pickup was moved to the nearby Kroc Center, but vendor participation seemed small to me.  I did appreciate the candy corn handout from Pace Magazine.  A small bit of carb loading! I also found a sweet orange Saucony jacket at one vendor’s tent that almost made the trip back with me, but I refrained. The packet pickup went smoothly, and I headed out to scope out parking near the race start.

The main thing I care about for a race is the shirt.  The SRF did a great job on the shirt.  It is a two tone white and gray long sleeve technical shirt.  Seems to be better quality than some of the long sleeve tech shirts I’ve received from other races.  And it fits well.  Several of the poorer quality shirts didn’t fit well, and when I tried to trade for another size, they didn’t have that option.  SRF had that option on race day, but I didn’t need it.  As a swag bonus, the marathoners received a pair of socks with the race logo.

Shirt Front












One very nice surprise in the race packet was the official race magazine.  It had course maps (there were 3 other races in the SRF – a half marathon, a 5K and a kid’s fun run) and additional detail of complicated spots like Furman University.  I found it very helpful to study the night before.

Race Guide












Early to Bed

I left the Expo area with map in hand and drove the first 2 miles of the course.  Just after mile 2, the course hits the Swamp Rabbit Trail and cars are not allowed! I briefly entertained driving out to Furman to scope out that section, but since it was in the opposite direction of my Friday night lodging, I decided against it.

Trying to keep the expenses for this marathon as low as possible, I bummed a room off father-in-law for the night.  I arrived at his house, ate dinner, and studied the course map.  I pondered my target pace for a while, made the decision, and then went to bed early.

Coming soon…Part 2: SRF Race Day


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