06 April 2014

Rockin Rabbit Half Marathon

I ran my fifth half marathon, the Rockin Rabbit Half Marathon, this morning.  It was in the Lake Mead/Boulder City area and has been my target race for a sub-2 hour time.

Packet pickup was two days ago at a local running shoe store. I was one of the first people to pick up my packet and as a result, I got my choice of pink rabbit ears or sparkly pink rabbit ears.  I picked the non-sparkly set.  The shirt was nice - a bright green technical shirt with a running rabbit on it.

The race was set to kick off at 7 AM at Mile Zero of the River Mountains Loop Trail which  is directly behind the Railroad Pass Hotel and Casino.  Sarah and I got up at 5 and were on the road 5:45.  35 minutes later, we got to the parking lot and took a quick look around.  It was still a little chilly as we waited for the sun to peek over the mountain and we could see a fair amount of shivering going on in the crowd.  As the race time approached, I went to the starting line. As the time ticked down, the DJ announced that the race was on a 15 minute delay while we waited on another bus of runners to arrive.

A few minutes later, the next bus arrived and we did the pre-race National Anthem and got some very brief instructions.  After that, everybody went back up to the start line for a start that was a little confusing for all.  There was no simple call to start beyond somebody behind us saying something to the effect of "you all can start now".  She had to repeat it a second time and then we were off.  Sarah was a little ways down from the start and snapped the picture on the left of me (in blue) almost immediately after I crossed the line.  Yes, I started at the front.

The first 3.75 miles of the course were a gradual climb with a few rollers at the very beginning.  I pushed out at a hard pace and hit the 1.5 mile mark in the 12-13 minute range.  After that, I settled down to a more moderate pace to continue pushing up the hill.  At the 3.75 mile mark, the course turned downhill. It continued downhill until turning uphill for a fairly steep section that was about a half mile long and topped out at approximately Mile 7.  After that, it was downhill for the next three miles.  At approximately Mile 10, the paved trail turned a hard left and the race continued straight ahead onto the dirt/gravel tunnels trail that I have raced on multiple times in recent months.  My goal was to be at this point at 1:30 and my watch showed 1:28. From that point it was just over three miles of out-and-back with a slight incline on the way out and a slight decline on the way back and a turn-around just after the second tunnel.  As I crossed the finish line, I knew I hit my sub-2 hr goal.  A few minutes later, Sarah looked up my bib number in one of the available computers and it was official - 1:57:55.  13.1 miles were done at a 9 minute pace.  As an added bonus, I finished third in my age group and got the spiffy trophy pictured below.

Next up - The Ragnar Trail Relay at Zion on April 25-26.

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