Sunday, December 1, 2013

Secret City Half Marathon: Crossing The Line With My Bride

My bride and I after the race
Today was the day. Not going to lie, I've been looking forward to this day for months.

Ever since I signed my bride and up for the Secret City Half Marathon relay on March 1, I've been so geeked up to run this race. I couldn't wait to run with my bride and cross the finish line with her.

Being one who loves to run and run long distances, I also signed up to run the entire half marathon as well. So, I got to be the cool guy where not one but TWO race bibs.

I love running with my bride. Running is one of my favorite things to do. PERIOD. And to get to share that with the one I love makes it even more special. Our runs together are a blast for me. (My bride might describe them differently since she doesn't enjoy running as much as I do. Guess I'm a glutton for punishment.)

When I signed us up, I marked our goal time at 2:20. A bit ambitious for us, but I as hoping I'd gain some speed and my bride would maintain her 10K time. If those happened, 2:20 was possible.

My two bibs
However, heading into the race, really had no one idea what kind of time we would produce. I was just beginning to get back to normal after running the Iron Horse Half and Jack-O-Lantern Jog back in October, and my speed has not really been there. My bride had been struggling getting her runs over the last few weeks with how crazy life has been for us.

So, we went into this race with the goal of having fun and finishing. Whatever time we posted would be fine with us because we knew whatever it was, we put forth our best effort.

Overall, the race day weather was perfect other than it being chilly. It was supposed to be in the mid-30s at race start. Yet, come 7:30 a.m., and it was a balmy 28 degrees.

The course is a double loop, and for east Tennessee, fairly flat. There are a few hills but nothing major.

Me waving to my bride at the start
My plan for the first loop was simple: run as fast and as comfortably as possible. While my original goal was to try to run the loop in an hour, I wanted to make sure I got it under 1:05.

As the race got underway, I started out nice and easy. Fortunately, this was a simple task since the majority of first mile was downhill. And the themed continued for me through the first loop. It just felt nice and easy.

Here are my splits for the first seven miles: 9:35 /  9:16 / 9:31 / 9:28 / 9:28 / 9:25 / 9:36.

Somewhere during mile 7 was the exchange point, and my bride and I were off and running together. I was surprised how fast we started off and worried about my bride burning out fast. Funny thing is, I mentioned this to her after the race, and she said, "Really? I thought I started off slow."

Genople crossing the bridge
around mile 10
Genople heading to the
finish line
While this course is flat to the majority of long-distance runners in the area (only 388 feet of elevation gain for the entire 13.1 miles), it was a little hilly for my bride. She even remarked on one incline about a mile and half into her leg, "I thought this was flat."

Still, she was a trooper.

She kept plugging along and never stopped. Not even for water. She kept moving forward.

Here are the splits for miles 8-13: 11:25 / 12:34 / 12:18 / 13:02 / 13:11 / 13:30.

Us with our medals on.
Leading up toward the finish line is one final hill. In my humble opinion, it's the roughest one on the course and that's possibly a mental thing since it's right before the end. We chugged our up that hill and turned down the road to the finish line and crossed that line running hand in hand.

A perfect ending to a perfect race.

Our time was 2:24:48.

My bride got her part done in a little over 1:20, marking a PR for time and distance for her.

As we headed to the car, I remarked once more how proud I was of her running the entire way. My bride confessed, "My plan was to run a mile, walk for a minute, and do that the entire way."

So much for following a plan. :)

Words can not describe how much I enjoyed this race. This race will always hold a special place in my heart, and I look forward to running many more races with my bride.

Happy running!

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