I had 12 km on my marathon training plan for Sunday, but I felt I was in good enough shape to run a half marathon, as long as I didn’t over do it. I have only run one other half marathon, the Fontainebleau Half Marathon this past April. So I figured I should have a couple others under my belt before my full marathon.
The Vincennes Half Marathon is a smaller race (around 3 000 people) and only 2 miles from my home, in the woods where I always run, so I figured it would be a great option.
My objective was to test out my fueling strategy and I wanted to faithfully try the run/walk method of the Galloway training plan I am using.
I was feeling pretty good, despite a really really busy staycation the week before. I didn’t have to pick up my bib because this is organized by Top Chrono, and I have a permanent time chip. So, you just need to show up for the race. Definitely practical.
I went to bed early and got up early to be sure I would have time to digest my breakfast. An egg and sweet potato really hit the spot.
While the start was only 2 miles away, I was hoping my husband would wake up so he could drop me off. I was a bit nervous about adding extra walking mileage before the race…. but he was still sound asleep at 8:45 a.m. so I left on foot. It turned out to be a good warm up.
Everything was extremely easy besides the bag drop. Huge line except for those with a permanent time chip. 🙂 After that I had something to eat, then went in search of the bathrooms. I couldn’t find them. And I wasn’t the only one ! Everyone was doing this :
I started making my way towards the start line. It was right next to the Paris Botanical Gardens.
On my way there I saw this : ah ! the bathrooms. Too late. And too few.
I stood in the crowd, near the 2 hour 15 minute pacer. I wasn’t expecting to run at that speed, as this was meant to be a long SLOW training run.
We were off on time, at 10 a.m. The first 500 meters were crowded and we had to stop and walk as a group twice. But after that the race thinned out. I ran the first 10 minutes non stop, then faithfully did my 4 minutes running / 1 minute walking ratio for the rest of the race. Besides looking at how much time had elasped, I didn’t look at my watch at all to watch my speed. This was meant to be a training run and I didn’t want to push myself.
The route was extremely well marked :
The weather was a perfect 54 degrees with some sun towards the end :
There were water / food stations every 5 km, lots of medical staff just in case (and I saw a few people in very bad shape)… nothing to complain about.
I finished in 2 hours 29 minutes 0 seconds. My husband came to
pick me up cheer me on at the end.
What I liked about this race :
- Its small and manageable
- Its close to where I live
- Running through the Vincennes forest is great. 90% of it is through the forest / very little on major roads.
- Bag drop off was easy (for permanent time chip holders).
- The fueling stations were great.
- The Red cross was present at every 5 km and I saw them racing off several times to help runners in distress. Very reactive.
- For a small race like this, I really liked the medal.
- I immediately received my results by email and text.
What I didn’t like :
- I didn’t receive any emails from the organizers. Nothing. Not a one. I had to go on the web site and check everything myself. While I would do that anyway, I felt a bit neglected ? or like I was missing information ? No biggie…
- The lack of bathrooms ! Seriously, EVERYONE was peeing in the woods.
- Don’t expect much ambiance. While there were 4 or 5 bands playing along the route, that was about it.
- By the time I picked up my tshirt they were out of my size, but no biggie either.
My Galloway 4:1 experiment was interesting. While I stretched quite a bit afterwards, I can confirm that I woke up on Monday with no pain. No muscle soreness. No achy joints. Stay tuned for a new post !
Do you prefer large races or small races ? Ever been to a race with few / no porta potties ?