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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Race Preview: Spinx Run Fest Marathon 2012

Oct 24, 2012 by

Race Preview: Spinx Run Fest Marathon 2012

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana

This quote hung as a poster on the wall of my 11th grade U.S. History class and has stuck with me ever since.  Unfortunately, that is about all I remember from that class. I guess I’m no good at remembering my marathon past, either, especially how much the last few miles hurt.  As a result of this memory loss/denial,  this weekend on  October 27th, I’ll run my 4th marathon, the Spinx Runfest, in Greenville, South Carolina.

Earlier this summer, I planned to run Kiawah Island as my next marathon.  Plans changed, and I had to switch to Greenville.  The early bird low price made it a good choice, too.    Unfortunately, the race is six weeks sooner than Kiawah, so my training cycle was a little shorter.  That’s OK.  I was tired of the long Saturday runs.

Switching to Greenville is going to have one disadvantage to Kiawah, though – the hills.  The race starts in downtown Greenville and make its way up the Swamp Rabbit Trail (a reclaimed railway path), over to Furman University, and then on to the town of Travelers Rest.  There, we’ll turn around and pretty much reverse the route back to the finish in the Greenville Drive’s stadium.  So, generally the first half is uphill and the second half is downhill.  Sounds like the perfect time for a negative split.  Here’s the elevevation map, courtesy of the Runfest web site & MapMyRun.com:

Spinx Runfest Marathon Elevation Map

Back to history.  Since this will be my fourth marathon, I suppose I should look back on the first three to identify some big mistakes and try not to repeat them.  Here are the biggest mistakes from each of my first three.

1. Kiawah Island, December 2009.   Mistimed my final pre-race trip to the port-a-johns and the lines were too long.  Not wanting to mis the race start, I decided to wait until I really had to go on the course.  This occurred about mile 15.  Unfortunately, my legs thought this 2 minute break was for good and really balked about restarting.

Kiawah Lesson: If you cannot take a last restroom break immediately before the race, at least stop in the first few miles.

Likelihood of remembering this on Saturday: Excellent.

2. Myrtle Beach, February 2011.  After training all winter in cold weather, the race day starting temperature was a balmy 55 degrees.  This was great running weather for a while.  As the sun climbed, though, so did the temperature.  By about mile 18, it was around 70 degrees and sunny, much hotter than anything I’d trained in for months.  Since the first part of the race felt so good, I did not do a good job of taking in fluids, and I was about to pay the price.  The last two miles were a big struggle as I was severely dehydrated.

Myrtle Beach lesson: Take in fluids early, even if you don’t feel like it you need it.

Likelihood of remembering this on Saturday: Very Good.  Weather forecast very similar to that day in Myrtle Beach.

3. Columbia, SC, March 2012.  Around mile 16, I was running all alone and my focus was starting to drift.  Then, the 3:45 pace group passed me. I hadn’t been too concerned with pace up to this point and was just enjoying the day.   As they passed, though, I had the crazy thought of ‘Hey, I’m feeling OK.  If I can keep up with these guys, I’ll set a PR on my toughest marathon course yet.’  That went well for about 6 miles.  I then crashed and burned on the Trenholm Road hill, watching the pacer pull away.

Columbia Lesson: Don’t make unrealistic pace decisions during the race.

Likelihood of remembering this on Saturday: Hmmm. Still pondering!



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