Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Silver Comet Half Marathon Recap

Silver Comet Half Marathon, Mableton, GA
Field: Less than 1000 runners between the half and full marathons
Spectators: Not many along the trail but there were a few groups at various trailheads along the way and the volunteers were very friendly.
Start/Finish: Starts at the Mableton Amphitheater and finishes at the Floyd Rd Bike Depot.
Course: The first 1.5 miles are on rolling roads and the rest of the course is an out and back on the Silver Comet Trail, a paved rail to trail with 2% grade.
Schwag: Soft cotton t-shirt, medal, and free finisher's photo.
Other: The time limit for the half marathon is the same for the marathon (5.5 hours) so this is a great option for walkers. There is plenty of free parking at the start as well as a free shuttle to/from the finish for any spectators.
As I mentioned last week, build up to this race didn't go exactly as I hoped. Originally I had planned on this race as my goal for the fall to make me super strong and super fit and super crossed trained* setting up for perfect marathon training cycle where every step would feel like magic and I would smile through each mile like some mythical marathon goddess we all hope to be. Cue real life. *Crosstraining was never actually attempted

While many things about training for this race went well (successful integration of speedwork, improved tempo workouts, etc), a misstep moment on training run left me a bit of a nagging calf issue. Combine that with feeling overtired and small family crisis (thanks Hurricane Matthew), and you get a very light month leading into the race. Or as I like to think of it, nailing the taper element of the training cycle.

Going into race day I wasn't really sure what to expect from my body. My last double digit mileage run had been over a month before and my workouts since then had been variable due to everything that was going on. I went in with the goal of running a comfortable push effort (whatever pace that may be), knowing full well that depending how my calf was feeling, I might have to shut it down and turn it into one heck of a nature walk.

I didn't take any pictures prerace as it was the week before the time change and it was so dark that I was just happy I didn't fall in a port-o-john. Prerace I did my usual standing around, trying not to burn calories, and half heartedly stretching because other people were doing it.
While there were no pace groups for the race (it's a very small race), there were pace signs at the start, and I figured the 2 hour group was as good a place as any to start. The course is on roads for the first 1.5 miles before turning onto a paved rails to trails path for the remainder of the race. I decided to tuck in around the 2 hr group for the road portion and see what happened.
Most of the race was pretty uneventful, but here's a short recap of how it went:
  • By the time we got on the trail, I was kind of 'done' with the people that started around the 2 hour sign. No offense to them, but they were super chatting and their conversation topics didn't do anything for me, so I went on about my merry way.
  • In an effort to 'use the aid on the course,' I ran without my handheld only to find the first water stop was well over 3 miles into the race. Thank heavens it wasn't hot because my well tapered self would have suffered.
  • Though the pre-race instructions were a little confusing talking about different aid stations for marathoners and half marathoners (even though it was the same course), volunteers were happy to giving water to whomever needed it.
  • I found a nice group of people to tuck in behind for the second half of the race who were talking about the Kyle Pease Foundation, a group I've always wanted to run with and was happy to learn more about it.
  • No major pains or issues during the race, but I definitely was feeling my lack of fitness in the later miles.
So overall, the race went well. I got to enjoy a few hours of fresh air and fall leaves without any body parts falling off or feeling more injured by the end of it. My time was about 1.5 minutes faster than the half marathon I ran the same weekend last year before starting marathon training and that training cycle went well. Sure, I'd like to have thrown down a faster time and felt 'more ready' to begin marathon training, but it is what it is and it's all a learning process.


  1. haha, I totally relate...the last half I ran there were some chatty older guys talking politics and I had to run fast enough to get away...it was not working for me to listen in LOL I admit I have eavesdropped to distract myself, especially if it is a juicy boyfriend story lol
    I have run a few halfs untrained, those last few miles can really feel long, but you did really well! You are ready to start training for Donna :) I like the medal!

    1. I'm a total eavesdropper, but their chatter just wasn't fun. I did use it to speed up and find a new group!

  2. Come on now, you know better than to go without a handheld. Good thing it wasn't warm.

    Race conversations are always crazy. I'm usually to zoned out to pay attention but catching bits and pieces always has me asking "what the heck are they talking about" lol

    1. I'm trying to use what's on the course because lugging isn't always a good option. I just happen to start on a race that didn't have a lot of aid.

  3. Chatty racers and loud breathers are my kiss of death. Makes me want to punch a baby. Alex gets mad because he thinks they rubbing it in his face that it is "easy" for them. Weirdo.

    1. Loud breathers and loud footfalls kill me. I'm a total eavesdropper if it's a good topic, but they were a bit not fun.


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