Race #194 – Spinx Run Fest Half Marathon – Greenville, SC – 10/27/12

After spending a good portion of last week’s half marathon run in Myrtle Beach sounding like I was coughing up a lung, I decided to maybe take a couple weeks off from racing and give my body some time to recover. I had already registered for the Spinx Half Marathon but was about 95% sure I wouldn’t feel good enough to run it.

I woke up Monday morning with the intention of taking Linda to the doctor to get checked out. After running the Myrtle Beach half she had taken a tumble after tripping over something while exiting the finishers corral and from her symptoms it seemed like she might have a rib fracture. The doctor agreed and for the next six to eight weeks she’ll be out of commission as far as running is concerned.

While we were at the doctor’s office I decided to see if they could fit me in he could shed some light on why I’ve been coughing so much over the past month. The doc decided to do a spirometry (lung function test) and I wasn’t able to complete it because I couldn’t exhale all of my breath without coughing. He then proceeded to give me a breathing treatment that didn’t help a lot, but after repeating it a second time I was finally able to complete the spirometry. In the end I was diagnosed with acute bronchitis and asthma, was given three medications, and was sent on my way.

I started the medication and began feeling better right away. Most of the coughing stopped although I still coughed some while running and did a lot of coughing after a hard run, but all in all I had improved by at least 80% by the end of the week so I decided to run the Spinx Half Marathon after all.

The Spinx Run Fest is actually three races (Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5k) and is one of South Carolina’s biggest racing events of the year. It’s a beautiful course and it ends at Fluor Field, the Greenville minor league baseball team’s home park, which is patterned after Boston’s Fenway Park, complete with the Green Monster in left field. Runners enter the park in deep center field with their names being announced and run around the field, finishing at home plate in front of a large crowd of spectators who are mostly there to see their own friends and loved ones but do a lot of cheering for those they don’t know.

I was a little surprised with my slower time this year — 1:41:39 — since it was almost a full 10 minutes slower than my time last year in the same race (1:31:57), but it was good enough to win the 60-64 age group so I probably shouldn’t feel too bad about it. I don’t monitor my pace in races but just my heart rate, and in this race I was able to get to a heart rate of 168 and hold it there throughout almost all of the race so I thought my time should be better. I mentioned this to a friend when we were doing a recovery run on Sunday morning and he suggested that maybe the medication had affected my heart rate, and that sounds pretty logical so I’m hoping that’s the cause and it will remedy itself once the medication is completed.

This was the second race in the Running Journal Grand Prix season. I’ve managed to eek out a win of just a few seconds in the first two races over my friend Bob Nelson from Charlotte. Next week is the third race in the series, the Vulcan Run in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s a great race but we’re on a budget right now that doesn’t include a trip to Birmingham. Bob will be there but I won’t be going so he’ll almost certainly be ahead of me after the first three races. After that I’ll see if I can catch up with him in a couple of the RJGP races coming up in the Charlotte area.

My Stats:

Time:   1:41:39
Pace:   7:45
Age Group:  1 of  23
Overall:  116 of  1520
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:22:14  (72.01%)


Note: I made a few adjustments to the rating system as of 10/27/12 to give races a chance to score more rating points, so it can be futile to compare an older race with a newer one. Hopefully the different items on the checklist will inform you of what you need to know about a race. I’m still trying to keep it as objective as I can. The total points points possible are more than 100 but I’m trying to fine tune it so that good races end up in the 85-100 range. It’s too much trouble to go back and make changes to the old race ratings, but one of these days after all of the fine tuning is done it may be much easier to compare races with each other.

3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
5 – Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

1 – Cost:  (0)expensive  (1)reasonable  (3)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

2 – Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
2 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
3 – Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (3)fabulous door prizes!
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

7 – Food for Race Participants: (0)none  (1)some  (3)adequate  (7)a feast!
1 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1)yes
1 – Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (1)yes

1 – Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
2 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

2 – T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
2 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

5 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
2 – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes

2 – Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

2 – Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

2 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes

TOTAL:  102  (see note at top of ratings about changes)

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