We ran this race once before back in 2012 and it was my very first half marathon so I was excited to come back and give this one another shot. Up until I ran the Route 66 Half Marathon in November the Aquarium Run was my PR race.
This is a smaller (about 700 finishers in the half) race that benefits the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks, Oklahoma.
The Aquarium Run 2014 medal is a little smaller than I was expecting. When I ran this race in 2012 the medal was a totally different style, shape, and size so I was expecting something along those lines.
Overall, I do like this medal, I just wish it was bigger. I know, I'm a total bling junkie. It's bad. It's hard to see but there is engraved writing on the front that has a really pretty blue color in it. If it has been scaled up, it would have been easier to see.
That is probably the number one reason I decided to run this race again this year. I wanted to get another Half Marathon PR and I knew out of all three of my races this month, this would be my best shot.
It's not the most exciting course, but I knew that going in.
The half starts right in front of the Aquarium then you make a quick loop through a parking lot and then head across the bridge to the east side of the Arkansas river where you do an out-and-back before heading back across the river to the west side to go back to the Aquarium/finish line. The worst part about this course is that when you come under the bridge you can see the finish area when you hit mile 12. If you can get past that mental game, you're fine. The weather was really great for this event too. It started in the mid 40s and warmed up to the mid 50s by the time we were done. There was a little wind but nothing too crazy.
Parking & Swag
If you are coming in from out of town to do this race, there is actually a Holiday In Express right next to the starting line. Pretty convenient.
The Swag for this race really isn't bad considering it was so affordable. I think it was $40 or $45 and you got a nice bib, a medal, a t-shirt, typical post-race food and drinks, and a ticket to get into the Aquarium the day of the race.
I ran this race in 2:13:09 which is a little more than 3 minutes faster than my last half marathon PR.
29th out of 77 in my Age Group
293rd out of 705 Total Half Marathon Finishers
Total Number of Females: 446
Total Number of Males: 259
I knew going into this race that I wanted a PR. I had 3 goals to shoot for.
1. Sub 2:10 Finish
2. Sub 2:15 Finish
3. Just beat my previous PR by at least 1 second.
And my 4th and unofficial goal was to just NOT DIE. Whew! Glad I made that one! :)
While I didn't reach my #1 goal, I did hit my #2 goal. Before the race, I looked up a pace chart and knew that I needed to average about 9:55 per mile for a sub 2:10 finish. When the race started out, we had a tailwind and I was feeling great so I was running faster than 9:55.
I ended up getting a PR at the 10K distance but I wasn't there to run a 10K, I was there to run a half marathon. So I ended up struggling through miles 9-13. But I was able to hold onto a a fast enough pace for the second half to at least reach my #2 goal, so I'm really happy!
When I was running I hit the wall around mile 9. I was running alone at that point and decided that I was just going to turn my music up and push through. I'd already ran a huge chunk of the race and I didn't want to give up on my PR with 4ish miles to go. Someone who was still heading out to the turn around yelled at me, but by the time I realized they were talking to me (because my music was loud) they had already passed. I turned around to wave but I'm not sure if they saw me. If that was you, I'm sorry and Heyy!!!
Soon after that a little boy started talking to me too. That's when I knew I needed to take my ear buds out and be social. He was out there running his 3rd half marathon and was so cute! He had to be 10 or so. He complimented me on my back bib (see pic below) as he flew right on by me.
Shortly after the little boy took off a friend of mine from High School met up with me and we ran a couple miles together. It was a welcomed relief because I was struggling and it gave me someone to talk to and distract me.
Right after I crossed the finish line an Instagram buddy of mine, Mary, recognized me and said hi. As soon as I stopped running my legs were hurting so bad, I wasn't able to stick around much and talk. I also did get a pic with her either.
After the run we went inside to get some food and I ran into a Twitter buddy of mine. I think it's so fun to meet my social media buddies at races! Also it was nice to put a face with a name.
Here are my splits:
Mile 1: 9:57
Mile 2: 9:46
Mile 3: 9:42
Mile 4: 9:44
Mile 5: 9:53
Mile 6: 9:49
Mile 7: 10:00 (This was after we turned back south and had a headwind)
Mile 8: 9:58
Mile 9: 10:15 (Here's where it started to get HARD!)
Mile 10: 10:24
Mile 11: 10:27
Mile 12: 10:15
Mile 13: 10:23