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 Preview: Ray Tanner Home Run 12K 2012

Oct 7, 2012 by

Race Preview: Ray Tanner Home Run 12K 2012

Saturday, October 13, 2012 is the next running of the Ray Tanner Foundation Home Run.  I don’t have  a whole lot of time to cover the preview on this one,  so here’s the low down.

1.  This is one of the best races in the Columbia area.The post race spread is probably the best.

2. Both the 5K and 12K races are sold out for 2012.  So if you missed it this year, sign up early next year.

3. Here’s the elevation map for the 12K.  I tracked this during last year’s race.

Elevation Map Ray Tanner Home Run 12K


For more information about the course map and other details, please visit the official site at http://raytannerhomerun.org.

Last year the weather was perfect, and I ran one of my best races ever.  Right now, less than a week before the race, the forecast looks good but maybe warmer than I like.  This race is two weeks before my next marathon, so this will be a good gauge of my fitness.  If the last couple of long runs are any indication, I’m in trouble.  I’ll keep you posted.

To see my review from last year, please click here.



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Boston Marathon: Could it Happen?

Oct 25, 2011 by

Boston Marathon: Could it Happen?

I used to play golf.  A lot of golf.  Like running, I took up golf too late to be a great golfer (darn short game!), and, like my running, I took it a little too serious for many years.  I spent a lot of time (and money) on it and worked my way down to a low handicap.

Now golf and running are not very similar.  But something happened recently that reminded me of my golf days.  See, the problem with golf was that one great shot or one good round that kept you coming back.  You could be cussing and breaking clubs (so, I’ve heard) because of an awful round, ready to quit for good.  Then on the 18th hole, you could hit your longest drive of the day right down the middle, birdie the hole and forget about the other 17 lousy holes.  You’d be ready to go back and play again the next week.

The running equivalent of this phenomena happened to me at the Ray Tanner Home Run 12K.

First, a bit of background. The running equivalent of golf’s U.S. Open, is the Boston Marathon.  In the U.S. Open, if you are a good enough golfer, you can go through the qualifying process to get in.  The Boston Marathon has a qualifying process as well.  It is very simple.  Beat a certain time in a Boston Marathon qualifier-designated marathon and you can enter Boston.  The qualifying times are age-based.  For example, males in the 40-44 year old age group must beat 3 hours 15 minutes to qualify.  Younger runners must be faster and older runners get more time.  Click here to see the entire chart.

So, back to the Home Run.  My goal when I signed up was to beat an 8:00/mile pace.  As the race approached, my training was going well, so I adjusted my goal to 7:45/mile.  On race day, the weather was perfect, and I felt great.  I started out a little faster than goal, but I suspected that would happen.  I intended to dial it back a bit, but as the race progressed, I saw no sign of my body hitting the wall, so I kept up the pace and I finished with a 7:31 pace!  I was shocked when I looked at my watch.  I still felt good, too.  The only other times I had beaten that pace were a couple of 5K’s, and I felt pretty bad at the end.

Back to Boston Qualifying.  The pace one must run a marathon to qualify in the 45-49 age group is a 7:49/mile (3 hours 25 minutes).  Now a 12K (7.44 miles) is a long way from 26.2 miles, but for the first time in my running, I had the feeling that might Boston might be attainable with a couple more years of hard work.   I had smacked a drive right down the middle on the 18th hole, and I was ready to work hard for the next race.

So, is the Boston Marathon in my future?  I don’t know, but it was nice to see progress that gave me a small bit of hope.



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Ray Tanner Home Run 12K Race Review

Oct 17, 2011 by

Ray Tanner Home Run 12K Race Review

This was the 6th running of the Ray Tanner Home Run and my first time in the event.  I sure hope I can make it each year.  It was easy to see why this event sold out.  This race should be the model for all races. Here’s a run down of my experience:

Race swag: Technical T-shirt.  By Under Armour.  Very nice.  I’m not 100% sure, but I think the 12K runners shirts were garnet and the 5K’ers were black.  If so, I like that.

Course: I really liked the course.  Fairly fast, but a few good hills to make you work.  Good scenery around downtown Columbia and the avenues of West Columbia, including 2 trips over the Congaree River.  Great finish at home plate inside the South Carolina baseball stadium, easily one of the top collegiate baseball stadiums in the country.  The only slightly negative thing I could say about the course was how we integrated with the 5K runners and walkers.  The 12K started about 20-25 minutes before the 5K and then we starting mixing with them close to mile 3, I believe.  This just made for some difficult maneuvering in the crowd.  No big deal, just part of it.

Post race spread: Awesome.  I snacked on a snow cone and trail mix, but there was also fruit, cookies, cake and hot dogs.  I deemed 9am too early for a hot dog, though.

Weather: Chamber of Commerce morning in Columbia.  I’m not sure how the race director arranged it.  Not a cloud in the sky and the race start temperature was 55-60 degrees with low humidity.

My Performance

As I mentioned in a previous post, the goal I had in this race was to measure my fitness as I train for the Governor’s Cup Half Marathon in 3 weeks.  I had a race pace goal of just under 8:00/mile.  I also hoped to run a negative split, meaning running the second half of the race faster than I did the first.  Let’s see how I did.

I could bore you at this point with a description of each mile, and I what was happening in my head, but I won’t.  Here’s the summary:

Time: 55:49, a 7:31/mile pace.  10th place out of 41 in my age group.  55 of 248 in the male overall category.


Mile 1: 7:30

Mile 2: 7:48

Mile 3: 7:20

Mile 4: 7:51

Mile 5: 7:51

Mile 6: 7:19

Mile 7: 7:35

Last .44 miles: 2:40ish

So, I accomplished my first goal of a less than 8:00 pace.  I didn’t think I had a 7:31 in me for 12K, but the perfect weather really helped me on this.  This was one of the best races I have ever run.  I never hit a wall or felt ill, as I do the last mile of 5K’s. Also, I believe I did the elusive negative split.  If not, it was very close.  I am very confident right now in my fitness heading into the Governor’s Cup.

Bottom Line: Hope to see you at the Home Run next year!  If you can only do one race in the Columbia area, this should be on your short list.

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