Dunkin’ Run ARC Half Marathon Race Recap
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DUNKIN’ RUN ARC HALF MARATHON RACE RECAP
I honestly had no expectations going into this race. I signed up on a whim one night simply because I wanted to find a race to use as a training run. My plan called for 15 miles and I figured a half marathon was close enough.
One of the reasons I was so quick to register was that I had heard a lot of great things about the race itself. I actually ran the 5k last year and PR’d so I was somewhat familiar. The course is flat, fairly scenic and obviously it’s sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts (who can argue with free DD coffee and donuts?!) and most importantly, it benefits the ARC of Onondaga which provides resources to those who are disabled. They actually have tandem teams that race which is incredibly inspiring.
Before I get into the nitty gritty details of my race experience, here is a little ditty about the race and course itself.
The race is located at Long Branch Park in Liverpool, NY which is right outside of Syracuse. Aside from the half marathon, there is also a 5K (read last year’s recap here) and a 1 mile kids fun run. Race day events start at 7:00 where you can register and pick up you packet if you haven’t already.
There were some Dunkin Donuts refreshments available beforehand (yay coffee) and a variety of different vendors at the park to checkout, a kids area with crafts, a runner’s fuel station as well as free post race massages!
When you pick up your packet, it includes a shirt (if you opted in for one) along with your bib in a cinched race bag.
Following packet pick up, I met up with Renee from Bendiful Blog (she was running the 5k) and we got to hang out for a little while before the races started and obviously took the chance at a photo opp with a giant DD Iced Coffee.
The kids 1 mile fun run goes out first at 8:30 AM followed by the half marathon at 9:00 AM then the 5K at 9:10 AM.
Both the 5K and half marathon courses are apparently certified by the USTAF.
Like I said at the beginning, I had little to no expectation going into this half. Even though it was my third half marathon, my goal was to simply finish while going at marathon race pace- it was definitely not a goal race in the least.
I always say that though and then I end up racing but this time as soon as I took my first step past the starting line, my legs felt heavy and it occurred to me that I really may be running as opposed to racing after all.
That feeling stuck with me for the first mile or so- I was able to increase my pace a little bit but it was a struggle. My legs felt a like lead and I wasn’t sure if my heart was really in it. Then, around mile 2.5, I fell into a groove. When I looked down at my GPS it said I was at an 8:00/mile pace and I figured if I could keep that then at least I might come close (within a minute or so) to my PR.
The miles that followed that only got easier and as my pace was increasing, I had a glimmer of hope that I might actually PR. The air was cool, with a little drizzle falling from the sky and it all just felt right. I was in a groove and I wasn’t going to give up.
Then right before mile 8, something funny happened. All the sudden I saw a sign for the 8th mile but my watch only registered 7.80 miles. I honestly thought it was weird but contributed it to my GPS losing service since this part of the course is right on Onondaga Lake and I had similar problems when I ran the Miles for Meals 5K there in May.
After that point my GPS no longer correlated with the race mileage signs and I was all screwed up. Most I could do was just pay attention to my pace and attempt to do some quick math in my head. According to my calculations, there were two possibilities. 1. My GPS was wrong and I was going to P the friggen R out of this race as long as I kept it around a 8:00ish/mile pace. 2. The signs were wrong and I was going to come dangerously close to not PRing at all.
Once I saw the sign for mile 12, I pushed with all my might and when I was in sight of the finish line I saw the 1:42 time and pushed a little more. I officially crossed the finish line with a net time of 1:42:34 nearly 3 mins off my PR time of 1:45:26. I almost passed out from excitement, if the course had been correct that would put me at a 7:50 pace!!!
While I waited for the official results, I took advantage of the free massage (can you blame me?) and sipped on some coffee. Eventually the results were posted with a surprising correction to the length of the course noted up top: 12.8 Miles NOT 13.1….so much for a certified course and my possible PR.
To say I was disappointed would be an understatement but to make up for that disappointment I was happy to see that I placed 1st in my age group for the race! I’ve never placed in a half marathon before and even if the course was short, everyone raced the same distance so at least I was rewarded for my accomplishment in some way.
Overall, I really enjoyed the race, the flatness of the course and all the fun runner perks that were available. I may run this again next year just so that I can attempt to walk away with a “real” PR, one that I earned because I ran every single last step of 13.1 miles.
Have you ever raced a certified course that was short?
Would you count this as a PR?
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