Sunday, July 17, 2011

Race #136 - The Scream! Half Marathon - Jonas Ridge, NC - 07/16/11

The T-shirt says, The Scream! Half Marathon is "13.1 Miles of Pure Hill!" That's not entirely true. While there are probably 8 or 9 miles of downhill that will make your quads and calves scream with delight (or possibly horror), there's enough uphill to bring you back to reality. For me, every time we hit the small uphill sections they almost felt like huge mountains after getting used to all the downhill, but enough people passed me on those hills that I thought I might be in the minority. There's no doubt that the huge downhill sections helped a lot of people run their fastest half marathon time ever. I cut about a minute off my Personal Record from the 2010 Little Rock Half Marathon with a time of 1:32:11, which was 1st in the 55-59 age group and 24th overall.

Honestly, I was just a little disappointed with my time since I've been running well lately and had dropped 10 pounds over the previous four weeks. I felt like there was a good chance for me to run in under 1:30, but as reality sinks in, whether you have some major downhill help or not, you still have to run 13.1 miles and it's just not that easy. Possibly some of my problem was that about 11 miles of this race is run on unpaved roads. While I know that it's supposed to be easier on the joints, I run just about 100% of the time on pavement and prefer the smoother surface. Still, the race was great fun and lived up to its expectations, and when race director David Lee asked for a show of hands on who ran a PR (Personal Record), it looked like maybe three-fourths of the runners lifted their hands.

You'd expect it to be too hot to run a half marathon in the middle of July, but that definitely wasn't the case for this one. When we arrived at Jonas Ridge it was cold and foggy with a light rain. The temperature was probably about 58 degrees and the light rain continued to fall throughout the race, although as we came down the mountain the temperature rose a little, and at the finish it might have been 65 degrees.

I had made plans to meet up with Sharon Davis from Albemarle a couple months ago, and we had planned to both drive to the finish line then take one car to the top and leave the other at the bottom, then go back and get the other car after the race. Wow, that sounds so much easier to do than it would have been in real life. Peter Asciutto, the Vac & Dash guru, wanted to hand out some flyers to promote his upcoming half marathon/10k/5k, Run The Valley, so he offered to drive us to the top and meet us at the bottom, then return us back to the hotel where Sharon was staying in Morganton after the race. That worked out perfectly for us and saved hours of driving. By the way, Sharon ran spectacularly as always and was the 3rd overall female to cross the finish line just like she was at Hickory's Charity Chase Half Marathon last month!

The logistics of getting to and from your car might have been the most challenging part of this race. Even if you took the bus from the finish line to the starting line, just getting to the finish line in your car to catch the bus was a challenge since the finish was several miles out a remote dirt road. I didn't really hear any complaints though so I guess people just looked at it as part of the racing adventure.

Finisher medal photo and T-shirt graphic photo by Bobby Aswell.
The rain finally stopped around the time of the awards ceremony, and about 5 minutes into the awards the post-race pizza arrived. It was a little late for those who didn't stay for the awards, but a great reward for staying. It marked the first time since my return to Weight Watchers a few weeks ago that I didn't bother counting WW points for the day -- way too depressing. It probably didn't help matters that I got a chocolate milkshake and medium fries on the way home, or that I also ended up taking my grandson to Ben & Jerry's before the day was over. On Sunday I'm back to fruit, veggies, and counting everything I eat, but it was nice to have a day off of the diet, even if it did mess up any weight loss I might have achieved for the week.


Click Here for Overall Race Results





Click Here for The Scream! Official Website


Race Rating:

10 - 1-10  Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
9 - 1-10  Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10) (Great Finisher Medals!)
8 - 1-10  Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
8 - 1-10  Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
10 - 1-10  T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average) (One of the best ever!)
4 - 4/6   Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
0 - 0/5   Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 - 4/6   Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 - 3/7   Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
8 - 1-10  Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
1 - 1-10  Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
5 - 1-10  Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
10 - 0-10  Age Groups (10 if 5-year groups; 0 if 10-year groups)
0 - 0/5   Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
3 - 1-10  Bathroom Facilities
10-10  Other -- Big extra credit for majority of runners getting a new PR -- fastest course ever!

TOTAL - 99

Race Stats:

1st Overall Male:  Josh Baker (1:12:56)
1st Overall Female: Courtney Ellabarger (1:28:33)
Total Finishers:  190

My Stats:

Time:  1:32:11 (New Personal Record)
Pace:  7:02
Age Group:  1 of 9 in 55-59 age group
Overall: 24 of 190 (13%)