On Saturday, December 1st, I ran my 35th half marathon. The OUC Orlando Half Marathon is one I’ve run four times prior (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), so it was not only number 35 overall, but the 5th time I ran this particular hometown race. The only other race I’ve run multiple times to this degree is Space Coast Half Marathon. I ran that half a total of five times as well (2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017).
This year was also a big year for the race, as they changed the route. Previously, the route had taken runners through a lot of brick roads. The race was updated with a route that only had about 1.6 miles of brick within the first 5 miles. Previously, there was close to 2.5 miles of brick throughout the route, so it was definitely better! I also liked how it changed things up a bit from previous years.
I started the race with Jenny, one of my friends in my pace group, and a few others in Orlando Galloway from a pace group right below us. It was nice to chat with them for the first 4ish miles, and we kept a nice pace. But, Jenny and I wanted to shoot for a 3 hour finish, so we started to increase our pace between miles 4 and 5. I was feeling good, so was happy to push a bit.
We hit a 13:33 pace at mile 5, after doing a 14:02 during mile 4. So, we definitely got moving! By mile 6, we were doing a 13:18 mile. We did slow a bit by mile 7 though, did that one in 13:50. The last half of the race fluctuated a bit, between the mid-13s to 14:10 per mile. I guess realizing I had to pee, but not wanting to stop for a port-o-let kind of had me varying things, yet trying to keep it moving! Ha!
I’m glad that Jenny ended up taking off from me in the last half mile or so, because while I hit mile 12 in 13:41, my body was not having it. I did notice my heart rate increase in that last mile, not sure why. But, while I wanted to push myself, I played it smart and slowed it down. This is why I didn’t hit that 3 hour finish that I hoped for. But, hey, 3:01:46 isn’t too bad. I was good with that all things considered.
What made this race great for me was that I got to run it with one of my best running friends. For me, that’s a big part about running, the social aspect of it. I am a social runner, and I love running with my friends and running group each week. There’s nothing like running with friends.
My friend, Jenny getting a PR of 3:00:34 was so cool to find out. She hadn’t hit that 3 hour mark yet, and she got her best half marathon finish time that morning. She was a bit disappointed that she wasn’t at 3 hours, or just under it, but hey, 30 something seconds is still 3 hours! I am so proud of her.
The 2018 OUC Orlando Half Marathon was a blast, and I loved the new course. I definitely will be back to run the half again next year. It’s always a fun race, and now with less bricks, it’s even better! 🙂