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Clinton Historic Half Marathon: Sometimes Last Minute Races Pay Off




The short:

I added the Clinton Historic Half Marathon to my race schedule less than a week before the race.  With my 50k being a week after Clinton, I didn't want to run too hard, but I thought/hoped I could win it without running all out.  My running buddies Colin and Brad rode to the race with me, making for a fun trip, and I ended up cruising to 1st overall female in 1:24:37, which was faster than I thought I was going to need to run but still felt comfortable enough that I'm not worried I overdid it.  And since I won $200, my decision paid off!

Official results are here.

My Strava activity is here.

Miles from Mentor crew

The long:

I've eyed the Clinton Historic Half Marathon for a few years, because it offers prize money and is about a 90 minute drive from my home.  The race date has never lined up for me before, and it didn't this year either (i.e., it was 1 week before my 50k), but I decided to do it anyway, and my kind of embarrassing goal was to do the least I could to win overall female.

I drove up race morning with two men from my running group - lucky for me none of the women wanted to race.  Brad was racing hard, and Colin was aiming for a moderate run (6:30ish pace) since he is also running the 50k next weekend.  Based on past results, I was hoping I could run in the high 1:20's and win, but before the race I saw a couple in University of Central Missouri cross-country warm up gear, and told Brad they were probably our competition, then soon after saw the female of the pair in buns (buns = you mean business).  Then Colin spotted a girl in Alphaflys and a crop, so when the race delayed the start for 10 minutes I did a real warm up and prepared myself to run harder than I'd originally thought.  There was only prize money for first overall male and female, so second went home with $0, which made me a little nervous given the circumstances (e.g., I didn't want to kill myself but knew I would if that's what it took).


Initially I got out in first female position, but quickly eased back and waited for someone else.  The woman in buns pulled up with me and I figured she was going to be my competition and settled in next to her.  The effort felt easier than marathon effort, so I felt comfortable with the situation.  Around mile 2 the woman in the crop and Alphaflys passed us, and I left the other woman to go with her.  I could tell the lady in the crop was picking up the pace and she looked strong, but I still felt very comfortable.  The next several miles I ran with or slightly behind her, with Colin a bit ahead of us.  It was nice having him to follow because the course wasn't the easiest to follow!  Around mile 5, the woman in the crop grabbed a water from an aid station and I pulled a few steps ahead and was willing to lead at that point, but she pulled back in front of me so I figured she liked leading.  Nothing too eventful happened; we followed the course arrows and talked here and there.  Several times I felt like she was surging to try to drop me, but I was that annoying girl who sticks on you.  I could tell we were gaining a bit on Colin, and around mile 8 we caught him, so then all 3 of us were running together.  

Running happy early on

Colin knew my race plan, and I knew he was running much slower than he was capable of, so I felt like we kind of had a secret as we were running with the other lady.  At about mile 9.5 she grabbed a water from an aid station and we got a few steps ahead, so I told Colin, "Now is the time to go" and we picked it up for what ended up being our fastest miles (10 in 6:13 and 11 in 6:03).  I then felt pretty comfortable with my lead so backed off to maintain but not push, and as per the courses I keep choosing this season, this one had a lot of uphill in the final two miles, but it was much more pleasant when not running all out (note: maybe don't run this one for a PR attempt)!  I told Colin I wasn't kicking and he didn't have any desire to either, so we finished together in 1:24:37, although the results have him edging me by 0.3, so he is the victor.  I told him if they held out a finishing tape for me he should sprint ahead and run through it, then I'd act mad, but, alas, no tape.  The announcer identified me as the first female finisher, and said my name and hometown.



I sure know how to pick courses in 2021 😉

Once we finished and received our paper bags of snacks and finishers medals, we found out that Brad ran an awesome PR of 1:12 for second overall male!  The race director came over to me with my award and cash, and another race official took our photo.  It was the fastest award delivery I've ever had!  A lady in a lion costume (I am still not clear who she was) took of a photo of all 3 of us and sent it to us later that day.  We did a short cool down then had brunch at the Ben Franklin Bistro, a quaint cafe on the Clinton Square, before driving back to Springfield.  I was glad the guys came along; we had a fun drive both ways with lots of stories and laughs.

Post-race mandatory photo
Colin's dramatic reenactment of how
 it feels to get 4th when you could 
have easily won an award

This non-raced race was a nice confidence boost because it felt so comfortable and my average heart rate was lower than it runs in a marathon (which is good considering I like to think I'm in PR marathon shape right now!).  Now for a week of not running much, before I tackle the most running I've ever done in a day on April 24!

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