Galesburg Half Marathon, June 3, 2012: Report on the race itself and my race

Short version of my race: I started out ok, then it got warmer and the wind kicked in…a headwind of course. Hence my “half way” splits were 1:11:34 and 1:18:44. That is too much of a difference. Time (I walked 100 percent of the time): 2:30:18 (by the chip). Place: 125 out of 149; the median time was 2:08. I was looking for sub 2:30 and so I was very mildly…well…not disappointed. It was more of a “darn it…should have gone harder at the end” sort of thing.

Though I got hot, I did get an annoying pain in the right foot (ball, near the toe); not sure if this is because I need to replace my orthotic pad or something else.

Those who want to read about MY individual race (pace, etc.) click here.

What follows is a “race critique”; e. g. about the event itself.

Event Critique: about the race itself.
I got there just under an hour early and started to worry as hardly anyone was there (save the packet pick up people and those setting up the start/finish line). It turns out that many had picked up their packets early; I need not have been worried. There was a kid’s mile (started 10 minutes later) that had 126 participants, a 5K that had 226 and the half marathon which had 149.

About the race start stuff: easy packet pick-up, lots of port-o-potties (I’ve never seen shorter lines) and there was a nearby park where I did my warm up mile. Though the start wasn’t that crowded (maybe 10-15 seconds to crossing the mat), the first part of the course was congested as it featured a few turns, and since I started in the back, there was the going around the clueless 20 minute a mile walkers, the run/walkers who came to abrupt stops without warning (in the first half mile of the race!) etc.

But that was minor compared to other races; however anyone who is interested in moving faster than 10 minutes per mile and cares about their race performance should line up further toward the front than normal.

Eventually the 5K people and the marathon people split.

The course: mostly soft country roads, though there were two “brick road” sections and one very brief portion (between miles 2-3 going out, 10-11 coming back) was rough and hard on the ankles; I’d recommend taking care on that portion.
But that couldn’t be helped; given that Galesburg is a train center, the race director had to direct the course through the train track underpasses.

Traffic control: : outstanding. There were cones the entire way, along with alert volunteers and police officers at intersections. Aid stations were more than ample (every 2 miles, at least and offered water, Gatorade and Gu) and there were several port-o-potties along the course (easy access). Miles were marked by signs (some were hard to spot, given that they were white and planted among vegetation) and they had a “half-way” mat that recorded your chip, with volunteers taking your number if the chip didn’t record.

There were people on bikes with radios (they looked like EMT’s to me) who went up and down the course to check on people.

The bulk of the half marathon course was your usual Illinois corn field road course, prone to not being shaded (though a surprising amount of the course offered some shade). One “spur” went through what passes for a suburban neighborhood and one out and back went through the “not posh, but not completely run down either” East Galesburg. Drivers were friendly (at least the ones that I saw).

There were a few “sort of” hills between miles 4 and 10; these were small “rolling” hills, slightly harder than a country highway overpass. It was more scenic than I thought that it would be.

At the finish: massage tables, water, fruit, more food (though I didn’t eat any).
Swag: I liked the finisher’s medal (though I did little to deserve it) and I like the technical t-shirt.

Of course, the winners finished way before I did, and note that the mild heat and wind probably slowed the times down a bit.

But this was interesting:

The first human across the line ran for the University of Illinois, got her degree, and then ran for Missouri State as a grad student.
I’ve seen women win a race outright before, but it is not the norm.

One further remark about the course: I noticed that there was a bit of a disparity beyond the “extra .1” on the mile markers, when I compared the “you are at mile x” signs versus the “mile y signs” that you’d see coming out. Example: I reached, say, mile 10 and then it would take 2:30 or so before I saw the “mile 3 going out” sign. Something was a bit off; then my mile 12 was about 30 seconds faster than I expected and my last “1.1 mile” was a minute longer than I expected. But…mile markers are really approximate anyway.

Overall, I can recommend the race. It was 65 dollars if you didn’t sign up late, but I am fine with that given the traffic control, immediate results, chip timing, bathroom availability, etc. You got something for your money, IMHO.

My Detailed Race Report

I had a chance to stretch and get in a bit more than a mile; I walked around a shaded park near Knox College. When I got back, the start area was getting “normally crowded”; it had been empty prior to that.

Here was what the weather was to be like:

I mentally prepared for a warm day and I wasn’t disappointed…later. But early on, I had a ball. I took it out at 10:35 pace for the first 4 miles or so, doing a bit of weaving around some 5K runners…ok, people very new to running. You had the usual “come to a complete stop”, people burning out within the first .5 miles, etc. But the worst part…not that it was that bad, lasted only for the first 1.2 miles or so.

When it was just the half marathon people on the course, well, we were sort of spread out. I was to jockey with some woman who wore a race number on her back (and I didn’t see her after mile 5 or 6) and a woman named “Tina”; I know this because she had something on that indicated that it was her birthday. She was to open a gap on me at mile 7…I caught her at 11 and then she pulled away from me at the end.

I took a couple of Succeed tablets (electrolytes); one at mile 4 and another between 7 and 8 miles. I took water at most aid stations, save the one at mile 11.

We did a loop through the “suburban” neighborhood (an out and back spur) and that featured a small “almost a hill”. But at the turn-around, I saw that there were very few people behind me. 😦 That changed somewhat a bit later on.

We got back on the cornfield section and my pace slowed to the mid 11 minute mile range, and yet I caught a few people. One was wearing neon orange shorts, neon pink calf-shin supporters and neon orange shoes. She was easy to spot. 🙂 Yeah, there was some eye candy too (spandex); I enjoyed this one blonde with sunglasses. But she was already run/walking and I knew that I’d catch her and leave her.

I got caught by a couple of young people (guy and a gal) running together; they were to finish 8 minutes ahead of me (almost an even split for them). They gradually drew out of sight.

I was tracking Tina and 4 dying runners who were attempting to stay with her. I was to catch two of these late in the race.

But by mile 10 I had slowed to 12:0x a mile and we were bucking a headwind:
. Grid lines are 5 mph increments. And yes, it picked up the most in the final 2 miles for us! 🙂

But the wind did keep me from overheating. And yes, the out was slight net downhill and we were getting that back.

Then as I tried to pick it up, I did mile 12 in 11:26…about 40 seconds faster than I had anticipated, given how I was holding my relative position at this time. It turns out that the finish saw those turns and for some odd reason, the last “1.1” took me 15:06??? I did NOT die and so was a bit puzzled; then again the difference between the “you are at mile X” and “mile Y going out” signs was a bout 2:30, which is about 1:15 more than you would expect (e. g., there should be about a .1 mile difference between mile 10 and “mile 3 going out” sign). That was pretty consistent for miles 10, 11 and 12.

Overall, I was happy with how my body held up, though I had a puzzling pain in the “behind the ball of the foot” in my fight foot; I had this perhaps 12 years ago. I wonder if it is time to replace the orthotic pad, or if it slipped a bit.

The pain was not present in regular walking about; it came from the “push-off” when I was “sort-of” racewalking.

Yes, I know that my right knee was soft and both knees were way soft on the rougher brick section of the course (very brief). This section couldn’t be helped as Galesburg is a major train center for Illinois and they needed to use the portions of the road that went under the train tracks.

My data (in gory detail)
10:36 (31:50)
10:23 (42:13) (some downhill)
11:23 (53:37) (some uphill)
10:58 (1:04:36) country part of the course
11:27 (1:16:04)
11:50 (1:27:54) uphill
11:46 (1:39:41) getting tired and hot
12:03 (1:51:44) mile 10; headwind!
12:04 (2:03:48) mile 11
11:26 (2:15:15) thinking I’ll break 2:30…short mile marker?
15:06 (2:30:22) (13:43 pace? I didn’t die THAT much, I don’t think)

The half way: 1:11:34 out, 1:18:44 back. Some of this was wind, some was heat, and some was me. 🙂
(other: First Light Half, January 2012: 2:34, Quad Cities Half Marathon 2:22, September 2011, Illinois Valley Striders Half Marathon, September 2011, 2:40:53)

Needless to say, my half marathon walks have been all over the map (2:22 to 2:40).


June 3, 2012 - Posted by | racewalking, time trial/ race, training, walking | ,


  1. Good work! For a hot day, that’s very good given that your PR is 2:22 for walking. You should feel good about this one. Sounds like a nice race, too.

    Comment by Tammy | June 4, 2012 | Reply

    • I admit that I had to chuckle as we went over the rough brick sections; I defy anyone to be “legal” on that stretch. 😉 Also, the median time was 2:08; you would have beat half of the runners!

      Comment by blueollie | June 4, 2012 | Reply

  2. […] Then I thought about the half marathon I did in Galesburg and all of the runners I passed in the second half of the race (only 2:30, but it was hot). Then I joked to myself: “the ladies that I passed (mostly much younger than I) must have not trained at all!”. After all, they were almost all much younger and most all of them were slender. […]

    Pingback by Runners, Racewalkers and Swimmers: Why do you race? « blueollie | July 9, 2012 | Reply

  3. […] Past Half Marathon Walks Galesburg First Light Quad Cities 2011 IVS 2011 Quad Cities 2010 Half Marathon Like this:LikeBe the first to […]

    Pingback by Illinois Valley Striders Half Marathon « blueollie | September 9, 2012 | Reply

  4. […] Galesburg Half Marathon walk 2:30:18 […]

    Pingback by 2012 Race Summary « blueollie | December 1, 2012 | Reply

  5. […] Galesburg Half Marathon walk 2:30:18 […]

    Pingback by 2012 Walking, Running and Endurance Sports Summary « blueollie | December 31, 2012 | Reply

  6. […] Galesburg Half Marathon walk 2:30:18 […]

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