To my non-running friends, I am considered a (fast) runner.
To my seriously fast running friends/acquaintances I am probably considered a casual average runner.
Yesterday my friend and I ran the Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon. This is a big commercial race. 27,000 participants were slated to run both the half and full marathon. We both just came off of running the Vancouver (full) Marathon a month and a half ago so we know a thing or two about racing long distance. Prior to Rock N’ Roll, I also had seven half marathons under my belt. So, what went wrong?
Because of the large number of participants, the race had it organized for runners to start in a certain corral number based on your anticipated finish time/previous marathon finish times. When I registered for this race I anticipated a 2 hour finish time (my PR is 1:53 and my slowest 2:10) so I was placed in corral #7. There were 36 corrals total. J and I started the race with corral #26 because we decided to wait in a long line for the porta-potties beforehand.
We thought, “No big deal to start later. Because we have a timing chip, it’ll accurately calculate our time.” Yes, this is true. But because we started 39 minutes after the gun time, we were running with other participants more than twice as slow as us. We were flying by people the ENTIRE RACE. Weaving through crowds of people is not fun especially because you use a lot of energy doing it.
We ended up with a time of 2 hours 1 minute and 22 seconds. I was sort of beating myself up about the time because had we skipped the porta-potties and started with corral #7 (or even closer to it) we definitely would not have had to be around slower runners the entire race, and thus broken two hours.
Lesson learned. Corrals are there for a logical reason.