On May 19th, Sue and I found ourselves running the Mountains to Main Street Half Marathon that started in Travelers Rest, SC and ended in downtown Greenville, SC. We signed up with about 6 weeks to prepare, which was enough time for both of us since we each have run a few halves before and already had some mileage built up.
Before we started training, I took a few days to make us each running plans, also known as grids, based on our half marathon goals and achievable paces. The grid focused on tempo runs, recovery days/cross training, and mileage. My favorite day of the week for training was Thursday, Mile Repeat Day, where I would run between five and eight miles a little faster than half marathon pace, so around 7:30 mins per mile, and rest for a minute between each mile. These Thursday workouts were super easy to do on the Swamp Rabbit before class and I never missed one of these workouts, unlike the other days.
Sue and I both enjoyed having a written plan that told us what to do every day, but not every workout or day went as planned. Sue got a bad case of bronchitis that set her back a week in April and I got a bad cold that set me back a few days in April followed by tonsillitis that hit a few days before the race. Luckily, we both listened to our bodies and adjusted our training accordingly so the rest of our training wouldn’t suffer. We also had days where we simply couldn’t find the time, especially when we were in the middle of finals week. We were able to not beat ourselves up over missing workouts and focus on the workouts we could dedicate our time and energy towards.
As race day approached, Sue and I knew it was going to be a wet one with rain projected
in the forecast. With that, we were able to mentally prepare to run in the rain and put together race day outfits for rain. The weather ended up being better than we imagined with only light rain and mist! My boyfriend, Parker, woke up early to drive Sue and me to the start of the point-to-point race (boyfriend of the year!) with what we thought was plenty of time to warm up and use the bathroom before the start. While we did have enough time to warm up, we definitely didn’t have enough time to go to the bathroom. The race did not have nearly enough port-a-potties and so the line was MASSIVE! Sue and I ended up having to make a run to the woods with five minutes to spare before the start which was stressful but it worked!
When we toed the line for the start, it was raining but we both felt ready and excited to race. The first two miles were in a neighborhood in TR and were a little more uphill than the map or website described. After that it was downhill on the Swamp Rabbit for three miles until we got to Furman University (#godins) where we ran around the lake. This was where I knew the race was going to be longer than 13.1 miles as I am used to running the lake loop and it is around two miles total. After we ran around Furman, we got back on the Swamp Rabbit and ran the rest of the way downtown to finish at the TD Stage.
I felt really good until the last three miles where I really had to focus and keep a positive attitude to maintain my pace. I passed the 1:45 pacer early on in the race and my watch had me going at 7:55 average pace which I thought was great with due to the conditions. When I finally got to the finish, I was disappointed to see my finish time was a 1:46, that my watch said the mileage was 13.51, and that the 1:45 pacer finished a few minutes behind me! Sue’s knee was really bothering her by the time she got to Furman, but she was super tough and stayed strong to the race’s finish! Her watch also had her mileage at 13.67 miles which we were both super upset about!
The race was marked pretty well marked with signs indicating mile numbers and turns but there were not enough volunteers indicating where to go. Some runners I talked to found the loop around Furman needing volunteers to indicate where to go. The race had plenty of aid stations placed at every two miles which was nice and Sue and I both made use of them! I also really liked the awards they gave away. I got third in the 20-24 age group and received some really nice coasters!
Would We Do This Race Again?
We are honestly hesitant to do this race again. Both of us were so discouraged to see the race be around half a mile too long. I was also so frustrated to find the 1:45 pacer to be so far behind me as it also threw me off when I saw my finishing time. The weather was another factor that made the race hard so we both decided we would rather do a late winter or early spring race. This is also the third year the race has been going and so it is not a wildly popular race in the area. Sue and I both decided a little bit bigger race would be more fun!
Overall, if we could rate this race on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 we will never be doing it again and 10 being we already are signed up for next year) we would give it a 5!
Here is the website for those who are interested in the race!
P.S.- Did anyone else catch our matching shirts and headbands? It wasn’t on purpose!