Rochester Half Marathon

Greg Finishing the 2006 Rochester Half MarathonToday I ran my second real race, the Rochester Half Marathon. In the days leading up to the race I was worried that I would have a very difficult time because I had some amazingly painful shin splints. I iced them and chowed down on aspirin and had tylenol for the day of the race. I last ran on Thursday evening for 3.2 miles. It took me more than 30 minutes to complete that run!
My friend, Mark Valites, came by to run the race too. He’s training for a full marathon and wanted some race experience.

Overall the race went pretty smoothly. It’s only the second time the race has occurred in recent years. I hope that some of the minor wrinkles will be ironed out over time.

It was very unclear as to where the start of the Half was. They should have had signs up to clearly mark the starting point. Also, they could have really used more garabge cans at the race starting point. I couldn’t find any and had to discard my complimentary coffee in the port-a-let. My biggest complaint is that the Half wasn’t chip timed. Our bibs had RFIDs in them but there was no sensor at the start line.
By the time the race started the sun had come out. By the end of the race temperatures had risen to levels we haven’t seen in quite some time around here. It was a great day for a race but the sun, I am sure, took a toll on everyone.

The course itself was decent. It had a number of rather steep (to me) hills that were very difficult. I had many people passing me uphill but I tended to pass them once I got over the crest. A large section of the course was along the canal path which was pretty and shaded. On the canal path some guy started running with me. It was pretty nice to have someone to run with. We didn’t speak but we did run together for at least a mile but I think it was longer. Eventually he stopped to walk and I moved on.

At about mile 10-point-something, when coming out of the canal path, I spotted a green shirt on the bridge above. After what seemed to be forever I did catch up to Mark. We ran together for a little while but Mark stopped to walk so I moved on.

The end of the course is BRUTAL to runners. In the last 3 miles you see the stadium MANY times but it is NOT close. The course appears to approach the stadium but then veers away. It does that twice. Then you come along the south east side of the stadium and run along the back of it. At that point you can SEE the finish line inside the stadium. It’s along the stretch between third base and home. When I saw that I assumed we’d be entering the stadium from the north edge. When I got there I found that we still had to go farther before entering. We got to the main entrance (south west side) but then STILL had to continue to an entrance at the back. We entered in right field and then had to run all the way through the outfield before we could finish! I was near death at that point.

Along the last 1.5 miles or so there was a guy who seemed to be determined to beat me. He passed me a number of times but mostly hung behind me a little bit, at least until we entered the stadium. When we rounded the turn to the finish line I took off and sprinted through the finish. I beat him by about 2 feet.
My time was 1:50:23. That’s an 8:26 pace! I placed 11th in my age group. It appears as though there were 884 half marathon finishers and I placed 215th overall. Mark finished 14th in our age group with a time of 1:52:40. He placed 252 overall. It should be mentioned that the Half Marathon WAS NOT CHIP TIMED. There were no sensors at the start. My actual time was closer to 1:49:45 or so. I used my stopwatch but I couldn’t find the official start point when the race began (I lined up towards the end of the pack because I consider myself slow). I hope that the event is chip timed in the future.

The Post Race

When you went through the finish you were given your medal and a bottle of water. The water bottle was already opened, which was a very nice thing to do. In the stands food was setup for the runners. There was cookies, candy, bagels, donuts, bananas, apples, coffee, water, and probably other stuff that I missed.

It was a great day.

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