Monday, June 20, 2011

Double Creek Half Marathon

Half marathon #2 was this weekend- the Double Creek Half at Dover, Pennsylvania!

For my first half, last fall, I decided to do it about 5 weeks before and had never run more than a 10k. I did two weeks doing an 8 mile run, then 9, then 10, and 8 the week of. That race was all downhill or flat and advertised as a good “first timer” race.

This time, I prepared (slightly) better, with a more gradual increase in mileage- a couple weeks at 7, a couple at 8, a 9, two weeks at 10, and 7 the week of. I was also doing at least one 5k run on the treadmill for some speedwork. 

I felt slightly more prepared in that regard, but there were several other variables:

- This would be my first race in my Vibrams. I did almost all of my training runs in them, with the exception of one 10 mile trail run that I thought might be too gravel-y.
- The course was not downhill or flat like my first half. The first 6 miles were actually quite hilly, and the latter half evened out a bit more.
- This would be my first race ever without having a friend or mom or husband to do it with.

Despite all these unknowns, I had a great run.  I felt great the whole time and had fun.  Last half in Provo, I was going so slow the last couple miles and kept thinking “I am NEVER doing this again”. But this time I totally felt great and could have kept going longer.  I attribute this some to being more physically prepared, but also the magic of Gu shots and Gu Brew in my water bottles.  (I picked up this baby a week ago at REI with my dividend money and love it!)  I have a hard time choking down Gu, but it works so well that I do it anyway.

stretching shot!

Another helpful happenstance was an unintentional running buddy. When we were lining up to start, I briefly chatted with a married couple. The man was a seasoned runner and would be going much faster, but his wife was running her second half and was anticipating a similar time to me.  We wished each other good luck at the start and started running. A couple miles later, Rosario and I were still matching each others pace exactly and ended up running the whole thing together!  She had driven the course the night before and was able to tell me exactly where the hills were coming up and where a longer stretch of downhill might be. We were friends.

I ended up finishing in 2:10:00.  I did my first half in 2:05, but I didn’t expect to get that time again as that one was so drastically downhill.  I was expecting about 2:15, so I was pleased.  Next time I will definitely push myself more and try to get close to 2:05. 

UPDATE: I just checked the website, and I was 10th in my age group. Go me.

As for the event itself, I thought that Double Creek did a great job.  The race was stationed at an elementary school, so check in was inside and we were able to use the restrooms there.  They had lots of snacks in the morning and lots of volunteers ready to help check in.  The route was through scenic country roads and was mostly wooded and shady.

The event had several options: 1 mile fun run, 5k, half, 30 mile bike, 50 mile bike, or the “Endurance Challenge”- half marathon plus either bike option.  Because of all the variety, there were only a couple hundred people at the start of the half which made for a nice easy start with no crowding.  There were 5 water stops along the way (but only one Porta-Potty?) and even a volunteer handing out gel at the halfway.  Milemarkers and turns were well marked with volunteers and police to escort road crossings.  Registration was cheap ($35) and came with a simple cotton black tee and technical shirts for sale as well.  Schwag bags were nonexistent, but I got over that quickly with the  free massages (and virtually no line!) at the finish.  There was a lunch at noon once all the cyclists were finished, but I didn’t stay that long. 

It was definitely one of the more fun races I have done, and next year I can’t wait to do the Endurance Challenge!


  1. Wahoo! Great job, Mackenzie! Miss you :-)

  2. this actually made a half marathon seem enjoyable.

    hummm. maybe one is in my future. maybe. :)