The Columbia Iron Girl Half Marathon is an all women event and full of energy. I ran this one last year and remember it being a great run. So I was excited to do it again, along with the Frederick Half this coming weekend, to top of a double header and earn the Titanium Girl medal (What can I say… I like my race gear “bling”!) Anyway, it was a cool morning but I headed into it feeling really good. As I mentioned, I ran this one the year prior and hesitated to say it was a PR last year because technically the course was 1/4 mile short! This year they got it straight and it was right on target. I’m thinking that is why we had a 1 hour delay at the start! They mentioned our safety so it could have been a mix up with the police monitoring and controlling streets too but something has me thinking that the course needed to be remeasured!
The course starts behind Columbia mall near the Sheraton hotel where you will pick up your packet a couple days prior (no race day pickup). It takes you through Columbia on a 13 mile loop coming back up the side of the mall and into the parking lot where you finish. It’s a nice rolling hills course where you never really catch a long stretch of flat terrain. That’s the only down side. There were a couple spots where I had hoped it would just be FLAT! It’s pretty constant the entire time.
I started the front half at a moderate pace catching up to the 9 min pace group and sitting in that pocket for about the first 7-8 miles. I told myself if I felt good coming out of mile 8 that I would pick it up to break my PR. So, I steadily increased the pace to about 8:20/8:30 splits the rest of the way in. It was a tough last mile but at a pace of 8:15 at that point I figured it would be.
I finished the race at 1:55:25. A new PR and I couldn’t be happier!
The only negative aspect of the race was the post-race food. It was all really sugary snacks and no REAL food. I found it odd and would have much preferred having a banana, oranges, and/or bagels over sweet muffins, cookies, and coffee cake! They could have done a better job in that department. But overall, it was a great race and it was nice to be among all women!