After signing up for Half Fanatics and Marathon Maniacs, I noticed I was one race away from joining their tertiary group: Double Agent. I was one half away from an official entry, which meant I needed one half marathon before July 10. On the calendar was BBSC Endurance Running’s RECYCLED! Half Marathon.
The premise behind RECYCLED! is the organizer has a glut of old shirts and medals from previous races, just collecting dust. Rather than throw them away, why not give them out at a race for “recycling” old bling and shirts?!
With a heat advisory in effect for Saturday, June 20th, 2015, the organizers made the decision to hold the half marathon start time an hour earlier than advertised. Starting at 6am, rather than 7am, allowed us all to run better, before potentially dangerous heat conditions took hold of the desert.
Standing in the shade of the start line arch, enjoying some music, and getting ready to run yet another half, it felt nice out. The race began, and we were off! Following the path through Equestrian Park in Henderson, Nevada, to the River Mountain Loop Trail, along Highway 95, toward the Railroad Pass Casino.
Going with the same strategy I tried at Flight of Fire the week prior, which was to run by effort, rather than pace. I tried to keep my heart rate in the 155 beats-per-minute area. It worked out well, as my pace graph was nearly linear. Approaching the furthest point of the course, just beyond some railroad tracks, we entered a rather cool spot, as the sun had not yet crested the nearby hills. Running in the shadows gave us a brief respite, before the sun’s assault really kicked in.
Without mile markers, and a real clear idea as to how far back we had to run before the second turn-around, I started to doubt myself, thinking everybody forgot to do the second turn-around. Keeping the faith, I continued, and saw the race leader approaching me once again. Before long, I was at the turn-around point, and went back to the furthest point on the course.
By the time we made it back, the sun climbed enough to eliminate any remaining shadowy coolness. Making the final turn-around, I headed back to the finish. There was a little bit of a hill just past the checkpoint, which was the first time I had to walk some. Cresting the hill, my pace returned to one more closely resembling a running pace.
Slowly, but surely, I started picking off other runners, who slowed down, stopped at aid stations, or my pace finally allowed me to catch up to them. Approaching the turn off from RMLT to the Equestrian park section, the aid station workers were full of life, and encouragement, it was very energizing!
As we neared the switchback climb, I dug in and picked up the pace some more. Crossing the finish line, I realized that I had shaved more than an hour and 10 minutes off of the previous week’s time!!! It is amazing what cooler temps, easier terrain, and much less elevation gain will do for one’s time.
Ended up 4th in age group, or 6th, depending on how you look at it, and top 20 overall.
All in all, BBSC Endurance Running put on a flawless race! The aid stations were very, very well attended, and aplenty. Despite my self-doubt, the course was well marked, and easy to follow. Their post-race expo, and awards ceremony was a nice change from most races I have took part in lately.
Side note: Saw a woman running with a NYC Marathon training shirt on during the race, was caught up talking to a friend at the finish, so I couldn’t get a chance to say hello, and see if she had ran the race previously, or had any interest in sharing training motivation, leading up to November.