Race Review: Ray Tanner Home Run 12K 2012

Oct 15, 2012 by

Race Review: Ray Tanner Home Run 12K 2012

I could take the easy way out and copy and paste last year’s Home Run review because, in reality, the experience was almost the same – a great event and a good personal result.

While I can be somewhat lazy, I suppose that might be crossing the line.

The Event Summary

As I’ve mentioned before, this is one of the best events in the Columbia area. This year lived up to that reputation, with a sold out event for both 5K and 12K races.  I think the organizers have some kind of deal with Mother Nature, too.  While somewhat cool and breezy before the race, once we started, the weather was perfect for running.

Also, I believe the organizers made the 5K start time a few minutes later, as they were not in the way of most of the 12K runners as we came back down Knox Abbot Drive.

Race swag included another Under Armour short sleeve shirt and a coffee cup.  Only nit picky complaint with the shirt is that it is basically the same color as last year (just a slight shade difference in the garnet) and they don’t include the year on the shirts.  I didn’t notice that last year.

The post race spread was very good with bananas, oranges, bagels, cookies, hot dogs and snow cones.  One could definitely consume more calories than burned during the race, if not careful.  There was also a rock band playing.

You can view the race results here.

Personal Summary

This event was two weeks before my next marathon.  In an ideal race prep world, I’d do a half marathon at full marathon pace (i.e. a bit slower than normal half marathon pace) to test my fitness level.  My full marathon target pace per mile for this next one will be in the 8:50-9:00 range.  Well, there was no half marathon close by, so I decided to give a hard effort at the 12K (7.4 miles) distance.

My last couple of long training runs had not gone well at all, so my confidence was getting pretty low.  However, a pretty good short workout a few nights before the Ray Tanner gave me a glimmer of hope.  With a relatively short distance of 7.4 miles, I felt breaking the 8:00/mile pace was attainable, but would be short of last year’s 7:31 pace that resulted in a 55:49.

So, how did I do?  Much better than I expected. Here are my mile splits:

Mile 1: 7:19

Mile 2: 7:54

Mile 3: 7:20

Mile 4: 7:34

Mile 5: 7:54

Mile 6: 7:14

Mile 7: 7:36

last .4: 2:41 (6:44/mile pace)

Total 55:36 (7:29/mile) for a PR in a 12K, beating last year’s time by 13 seconds.  I really didn’t see that coming. At least I have some confidence back as a taper for the marathon.

If you want to run the Home Run next year, be sure to sign up early.


Finish Line



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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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Race preview: Palmetto Half Marathon 2012

Apr 1, 2012 by

Race preview: Palmetto Half Marathon 2012

In 2010, I ran in the first Palmetto Half Marathon. I was very impressed with the organization of the race, especially for a first time event. I could not run in 2011’s event because of injury, so I am looking forward to an even better event this year.

The Course
The course is a nice run through mostly residential areas of Columbia’s northeast.  Starting near The Plex in The Village at Sandhills shopping center, the course is an out and back route that winds through the Woodlands and Wildewood neighborhoods. A word of caution if you’ve never run the route: the first half works it’s way downhill and bottoms out about the half way point. Then, it’s a climb back up to the finish at the Village at Sandhills fountain. The climb up is pretty gradual, except for two tough stretches, the mile starting about mile 6 1/2 and the 3/4 of a mile or so starting at mile 10 1/2.  These two stretches are pretty steep.  Here’s the elevation map that I tracked one day in my car at lunch (my office is not too far from the route):

Palmetto Half Elevation Map

The last short uphill spot at the Two Notch Road to Clemson Road ramp is tough, too, mainly because it is so close to the end. It is definitely not The Governors Cup Blossom Street climb, but a tough final hill nonetheless.

Personal Goal
In 2010, I went out too fast and the second half was painful. I finished with a time of 1:46 something. I’d like to think I’m smarter and better fit this time around. Doubtful on the smarter part, but that’s what I’d like to think.  So here’s my plan to beat 2010’s time and possibly set a PR (personal record): attack the downhills. I’ve got to bank some time on the downs to make up for those two tough stretches I mentioned earlier. To beat my 2010 time, I have to beat an 8:05 pace. To set a PR,  I have to beat an 8:00 pace. I figure at best on those two stretches I have an 8:15 in me.

Another factor could be the weather. At this writing, the race is too far away for an accurate forecast, but warm weather arrived early in Columbia this year. Even with a 7:00am start, the second half might be pretty warm, especially if it’s sunny.

Come join me on April 14th!


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