Corey and I finished the Grand Rapids Half Marathon this morning! We decided that since this was her first half marathon, I would pace her for this race. I figured she could handle a pace in the 11:00/mile range and she did not disappoint. She was hoping for under 2:45 and we finished in 2:34......success.
Now, the race started at 8:00 am. Grand Rapids is in mid Michigan which meant October cold weather and that did not disappoint either. At race time, it was in the low 30's with frost everywhere. My wife was joking along the way about people whose sweat had collected on their hats, and refroze due to the low temps. My goatee was frozen by the time I crossed the finish line.
Mile 1 through 8.4 went extremely well. Grand Rapids is billed as a flat race, and that is no bull. This was one of the flatter races I have run. There were some "inclines" but nothing that would be considered a problem for anyone trying to attempt a half/full marathon. I have to mention this was a well run race in addition. There were more than enough aid stations for the half marathon. Even before we reached the aid station @ 8.4 miles there were people handing out gummy bears. At the 8.4 station, there was not only the normal water and Gatorade, but a full selection of GU. As this is the fuel of choice for myself, it was perfect. The full and half marathoners split at this point, with the half marathoners taking a slightly different route back. The full marathoners kept going and from what I read, the rest of there aid stations had the regular water and Gatorade with another station having GU later on and two nearer the end having orange slices. The support people handling the station were awesome! You couldn't ask for better and it reminded me of Cincinnati....but was even better run and organized believe it or not.
Miles 8.4 to 11 went pretty good too, but I did notice my wife was starting to slow up a little, so I let her. She had pounded out the first 8 miles at just under an 11:00 pace and I wanted her to enjoy the race. At mile 11, she looked at me and says "If you want to go on ahead, you can." Yeah, right! I knew she was at a point where she thought she couldn't do it anymore. She really didn't care if there was only 2.1 miles left....she thought she was done. Of course, I told her no, and we continued on, albeitly at a slower pace. Those last 2.1 miles were ran out, and we saw the finish line about a half mile out. She told me she didn't have enough to hammer it out, and I told her at that point, we were certainly getting a 2:30 something, so that was OK. We crossed the finish line, received out awesomely heavy medal, and proceeded to eat the well stocked post run refreshments. If anyone is thinking of running a marathon or half marathon in Michigan, this is a great one to run! Detroit is typically on the same weekend, but for me, that isn't going to much of a choice. I tend to enjoy the smaller city marathons, and this one is tops.
Now, I don't have the race experience in this particular race to comment on the full marathon. Well....this will be my first full marathon. I can say that without a doubt. Flat course...well organized....cool temps....what's not to like. I believe I heard the race director (I could be wrong though) say that 20% of runner qualify for Boston on this race. I believe it!
Ill post pics later of the medal and assorted pics that were taken during the race and at the finish.
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