Reno’s Downtown River Run Half Marathon


So with Avenue of the Giants marathon a few weeks away I decided it would be a good idea to run a half marathon to test the waters, similar to what I did last year at Clarksburg. This time I just had to drive downtown…which is always a plus. So now I have been training with EFAST for almost 2 months and the biggest difference for me is less miles. Last year I was running about 50-60 miles a week at this point, this time around, I am averaging 30 – 40 miles a week. A lot of less miles, but also a lot more strength and conditioning work. The focus is on quality miles over quantity.  As Lauren would say, I have the rest of my life to up my mileage.

This weekend started with a drive to Sacramento to pick up my fiance, who is on spring break from medical school. On the way back we hit up Placerville for some wine and lunch, and took a few pictures of Tahoe. Once we got home it was time for sleep as the half was in the morning! I slept through my alarm but still managed to get downtown in time for a nice 2 mile warmup. Talked with some friends and toed near the start line. The goal A. goal for the race was to get a new PR with a pace of about (7:20) but with running at elevation (4500 ft) compared to Clarksburg (50ft) I knew it was going to be tough.  Especially since the rules of the race said no headphones were allowed. I have never run a half-marathon with no headphones….

The benefits…I was running on my turf, was well rested and tapered, had some elevation the previous weeks for my long runs, and had a game plan with my coach.  Oh and it was great running weather! I had a run earlier in the week and it was 80+ outside. This morning was about 45-55 degrees.

Time to race! I give my fiance a kiss and wish her luck as she was also running the race. I move my way up behind about 20 or so people from the start line. This is fine I told myself, not on the front line but close enough to run over people.

Here we go!

Mile 1: 7:37

My slowest mile, I started off with the roar of the crowd, and quickly faded to a comfortable pace. I remember looking at my watch about .5 miles in and seeing 8:20 pace and going okay, pump up the speed Chris… Still have a lot of people passing me. Eh, its a long race I tell myself I’ll catch up.

Mile 2: 7:21

Getting into a rhythm now, see the result of this mile and realize that’s exactly where I want to be, okay maybe a little slower but this is good.  Try to go for a Gatorade at a water station but the kid holding it botched the hand off, oh well. Still have some people passing me at this point.

Mile 3: 7:24

Chug quick Gatorade at a water station, was the only person who took it, but listening to the advice of my coach and my thirst. That and the fact I don’t have my water belt with me like I usually do. Take half a blok here, notice a couple people wearing iPhones that are on speaker, b/c of the no headphone policy a lot people resorted to alternative measures… At this point the pace has settled and no one is passing me anymore.

Mile 4: 7:15

Yup, no one passed me from this point on. It was the complete opposite.

Mile 5: 7:25

I think i took another blok here.  The pack was thinning and it took a lot longer to find some people to get behind.

Mile 6: 7:22

Where is everyone?  It feels like there is no one left to pass at this point.

Mile 7: 7:22

Consistency is paying off here. very solid pace the last few miles and I know most of the race will be a slight downhill from this point on. I know I can maintain the pace and my legs feel great. I just feel tired mentally. Take a S-Cap here. Which btw is awesome. Basically little pills filled with salt, it looks like you are doing drugs when you take it… especially if some gets on your shirt. I took mine right before a water station, I probably looked like an addict… oh well.

Mile 8: 7:16

Take another half shot blok here and start to pick up the pace a little, pace another 2 or so people this mile.

Mile 9: 7:19

Felt so alone the last few miles but now we are on the back portion of the out and back and I am running by some of my friends, wave to them as I go by and get to high five my fiance on one of the turns.

Mile 10: 7:01

The only thing I say about this mile was.. downhill. I absolutely love it and knew it was coming. Caught up to a few more runners and passed them on the tail end of this mile. Took my final half blok here.

Mile 11: 7:10

Lauren told me if I felt good the last 3 miles to go for it, but make sure I had enough left to finish all 3 of the miles strong.  I figure I had 3 miles left, so what I can do. I hear a familiar voice and realize it’s Lauren and Ryan on their bikes asking how I am doing. I mutter something about it being tough and tell them my time. She reminds me to stay efficient at this point.  I repeat those words in my head every time I start to feel tired. Don’t try to overwork yourself just use your rhythm and be efficient with every step. Pass by one of the last water stations and grab a water and dump it on my head.

Mile 12: 7:10

I see about 2-3 runners ahead of me pretty close to each other. I tell myself, two more Chris, get these last two. I try to be efficient in how I pass them and rather then surge, I maintain their pace and gradually wheel away from them.  One tried to maintain my pace but had to pull back.

Mile 13: 7:16

Last mile, just gotta maintain and hold an under 8 min pace or so to a get new PR. I tell myself it’s okay to slow down if you need too but try to maintain EFFICIENCY!  I think I passed everyone I could see at this point so I just told myself to not be passed at the end by some surge.

Last bit: 6:57

It felt like I was the only person coming in for a finish, and I sort of was, so I gave it a nice sprint and finished strong. The clock was reading the marathon time but when I stopped my watch I realized I PRed! Awesome.

Final time: 1:35:08  25th overall, and 4th in my age group.

Not only did I overcome no headphones and no waterbelt. But I was able to PR on my home turf. Granted I was done at the end of race. I put a lot of effort into the run and went off to cool down but I got to see the first marathon runner come in and it was awesome. The roar of the crowd was spectacular and the guy earned his hard fought victory. Brought a tear to my eye to see how happy he was when he came in. Reminded me of the all the marathons I ran.  Also got to see the first female runner being escorted in by two motorcycle cops. Gotta love the Reno cop escorts.

Did a quick stretch, grabbed a Gatorade and a banana and walked down the course in reverse to try and find my fiance. Got about 1 mile in and ran the rest of the race with her. She did amazing with little to no training, she ran the whole thing and was a trooper all in the way in, complete with a surge at the end. <3

Here’s hoping I can maintain this pace for Avenue of the Giants May 4th!


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