Saturday evening I ran the New Moon Quarter Marathon. The race is a half marathon with a quarter marathon and 5K option. The course is a loop, so half marathoners run the loop twice and quarter marathoners run it once. (The 5K course is a different course). I decided to run the quarter for fun and thought an evening race would be a nice change and a bit challenging since I’m a true morning runner.
I cannot say enough good things about this race. From the organization to the value of the registration price, everything was easy and great. Packet pickup started a week before so I was able to go out the previous Sunday and pick up my race bib, shirt, and draw-string bag. We live about 30 minutes from downtown Deleware, but my husband knows the area pretty well. We headed out early and brought the pups with us and had no issue finding a (free) parking spot. The race starts on the main road in downtown and is blocked off in block-party style. Some of the businesses aren’t too happy about it, but some have embraced it.
I really lucked out with the weather. I was afraid a 6pm race in late May would be scorching hot sun/temps (highs in the 80s are normal for this time of a year for us), but for once I wasn’t bummed by our unseasonably cool weather. It had rained all morning and was still cloudy out, but the humidity was mild and the temps were in the 60s with a cool breeze. I actually wore my running group jacket over my tank top up until I went into the corral. My coach was running the 5K and his wife and him found us hanging around so I was able to do a short warm up with him before heading into the corral. I got some kisses from my pups and handed my jacket off to my husband and got into my corral.
There were about 1,200 runners total and the start was very organized. When registering, I didn’t put in a finish time, but instead had to choose a pace-per-mile from a drop down. I think this worked out really well and each corral had a 2 minute delay between starts. The 5K runners were in corral A and were the first to go – their course turned off to the right and went down the road. All runners that were a sub-7:00 pace for the half/quarter were sent off in corral B and the half/quarter course went straight ahead from the start. I was in corral C with the 7-8 min mile runners. I got in front of the 8 min pacer, but nice and far back from the 7 minute pacer. We were sent off and most of the runners took off going pretty fast. I didn’t have a plan or goal for this race, just to run hard and have fun. I decided to hang just below an 8 min mile for the first mile or two and then see how I felt. The first 3 miles went through neighborhoods and there were a few kids playing outside/cheering and a few neighbor’s hanging out watching. I don’t mind smaller races and I’m always happy to see people outside enjoying it. During mile 3 I started catching some of the runners that darted out in front of me at the start. (7:54/7:55/7:46)
The course isn’t flat, but it’s also not ridiculously hilly. There were about two good climbs (one towards the end of the first half and one towards the front of the second half) and some longer inclines. The upside to hills is that there’s always a downside. I kept that in mind while powering up the hill. After mile 3 I stopped really paying attention to my watch. I was just enjoying running hard and reminding myself of how little distance I had left to go in order to keep myself motivated. I very quickly hit the halfway mark and was looking forward to getting to the finish.
The course drink was Hoist. I hadn’t planned to drink any because I’d never had it before, but I accidentally got it at the first station because it was in a water cup instead of a Hoist cup. It was a little too sweet for me, but it was nice to have something different on the course than Gatorade.
The second half of the race had some more rollers than the first. We passed a Wendy’s and they had staff members outside handing out water which I appreciated and thought was nice. Then I powered up another hill before turning the corner and heading onto the bike path. I was moving pretty strong through the second half and happy with how the race was going. There was a little change in course during mile 6 which included a short/narrow switchback before pushing up a longer incline. The switchback really slowed me down and I wasn’t able to regain speed heading up the incline. That blew my chances of holding a sub-8 the entire race, but I wasn’t too torn up about it. (7:43/7:40/8:04)
For the most part my watch was beeping in right at the mile markers. At mile 5 I actually beeped in a little after the marker, but at mile 6 I beeped prior to it and knew I would be running a little more than 6.55 miles. It was that damn switchback, I swear! As I moved into the final part of the race I passed Ken – you may remember him from pacing the 10K I ran in March. He was on a casual run and we waved hello and I moved ahead of him. The race ends with a down hill followed by a slight uphill before turning left to the finish. Right before the left turn my husband was waiting with my dogs. Gus was intently staring at something and Archie was in his own goofy world as usual.
I kicked it into high gear and sprinted to the finish (7:28), coming in a little over with 6.70 miles total. My official time was 52:11 and I finished 9th female overall and 2nd in my age group.
At the finish I received my medal and a plastic tumbler. I headed right over to the beer trailer and got myself a Shock Top, yum! Since this was an evening race and block-party style, there was a choice of burgers, grilled chicken, or bratwurst for the post-race meal. I had a grilled chicken sandwich and grabbed some chips for my husband. I also picked up a banana to share with my pups and a slice of orange. I had packed some yoga pants to throw over my shorts after the race and I definitely needed them at that point.
I found my coach after the race and we hung out together for a while. He was the oldest participant and finished the 5K in 31 minutes!
The race had medal design contest and a 5K participant was the winner. The moon glows in the dark which I thought was pretty cool.
Overall I really enjoyed this race. It was well organized and a fun change from the regular downtown Columbus races. If it fits into my race schedule next year it is definitely one I will sign up for again – though I doubt I’ll luck out again with the weather!