The 2007 Sioux Falls Half Marathon was better than expected.
Environment & Course:
The weather on Sunday was a balmy 50 degrees at start time. The forecasted rain never happened, so one could not have asked for better weather to run. My goals for the race were to at least beat my former PR time (1:49:55) for a half marathon or even better to run the race in 1:45:00 (even 8:00 pace). I started again way too fast. It didn't help the first quarter mile was on a track, and that did nothing to slow one's race adrenalin. The first 3 miles feature the only real hill of the course, a gradual consistent incline of 80 feet. The next 3 miles had a few downhill sections flat with the rest of the miles largely flat. The aid stations were spaced approximately every 2 or 3 miles, which seemed a bit far apart in some areas. They were however manned with some of the most enthusiastic volunteers I have ever seen for a race. The Falls Park was manned by, I believe, Augustana students, who were loud and noisy -- a South Dakota version of the famed Wellesley "scream tunnel." It was very much appreciated.
How the race went?
My intentions to run 8:00 went by the way side really early as the running felt really easy today. At one point, I did slow down my pace intentionally and ran with another entrant, who also wanted to do 1:45 race. I stuck with him for over one mile, which explains the splits peak to 8:24. I thought I could prevent a walking episode, but in the end, I couldn’t bear the slower pace and had to leave my newly found running partner. It was then, mid-race, that I changed my desired goal to be 1:42 instead. I stuck with that goal for much of mile 7-11. Mile 12 and 13 however were rough. I was at the end of my energy but kept going. It was at this point I was passed by a high school friend, who I had not seen for 17 years.
In the end, I finished with 1:42.38, beating my PR by over 7 minutes! I am extremely pleased with the result.
- Division Place: 23 out of 58
- Gender Place: 127 out of 349
- Overall Place: 158 out of 682
There is still definite room for improvement. If I hadn't run with somebody else or had projected a better pace up front, I might have been able to trim peak from middle. Additionally, if I had scouted the end of the race route, I might have had a bit more juice to complete the race strong. With 1.6 miles to go according to the Garmin, there was a guy with blow horn saying less than a mile to go. With that doubt in mind, it distracted me from the task of maintaining pace. I definitely showed more mental toughness than previous HM's and ran the whole way. The next step would be to get my final splits more in line with starting splits. My feet came away by and large unscathed. I only got one or two small blisters on my feet, and except for a low energy level, I am pretty much ready to continue my marathon training. I am hoping a good night sleep in my own bed should radically help the energy levels.
Overall, I would rank this race as the best half marathon course I have run yet. The Des Moines Half Marathon is a better, more complete race experience with a full marathon as well and expo beforehand, and it is certainly better managed. It also has more aid and water stations. The Sioux Falls course was however nicer, and it was certainly easier to run. Other things the Sioux Falls Half has going for it is racer split notification to e-mail or cell phones to keep family and friends updated. I really wish Des Moines would pick up this feature. Word is the Des Moines Half Marathon will have over 2,800 entrants this year as well, so this smaller race with 600 entrants had a bit more personal feel. Needless to say, this race experience was better than the hilly Drake Relays Half Marathon race. It is definitely a recommended race for 2008.