Heart & Soul Wooster Half Marathon

I am somewhat unfamiliar with the area of Wooster. As far as I know, I have been there once and it was to visit a local brewery, JAFB. Then when I saw the elevation for the race I must have read it as flat. However, when driving to the race on race day I said “good thing we don’t have to run any of these hills during the race”. Little did I know I was about to eat my words.

It was fairly cold on race morning. Cold enough that I was wishing for a throwaway top and gloves. Hard to believe that in August in Cleveland.

HeartnSoul Half startI shivered as I stood at the start line but reminded myself that I would warm up soon and the temps wouldn’t feel so bad. This race had pace groups which was awesome, so I lined up with the 1:40 finish time group. My plan was to stay on pace with them and if a PR was there that would be great if not then I would run that pace as long as I could.

The race started and the 1:40 pace group took off 7:15 pace (way faster than they should have been) so I stayed with them for the first mile. Which included a major hill that I didn’t expect. Then as we made our way out onto a main road, I realized that this was not going to be the flat race I had anticipated and I let the 1:40 group pull ahead and steadied into a 7:40 pace which was closer to a 1:40 finish time.

As I turned into a development I noticed signs for the higher miles and figured out that we must go through this area again later in the race. Which wasn’t going to be so great since there were some not so fun hills during this race. I slowly started to curse Chelsea for pointing out this race. One of the only things that kept me going was telling myself that it would be awesome training for the Akron Marathon.

My paces were all over, mostly because I felt like we were constantly going uphill and not getting a break. I couldn’t figure out what pace to run. Naturally, I forgot GU for this race so it was my saving grace when I saw they had it at one of the waterstops a couple miles before the turnaround. Which was where I saw the overall male runner who was crushing the course! The overall male winner ended up running a 1:08!!! The second place runner didn’t come in for a full 8 minutes!

As I looped a big grassy area, I started wondering where the 1:45 group was since they had not passed me yet and I was estimating my finish in the 1:50s. It wasn’t until mile 10 that the 1:45 group finally passed me and by then I was in the zone and just trying to pick off the miles, I was still assuming I would run a 1:50.

As I chipped away at the last couple miles, I had no idea how to run the course because I didn’t know how many hills were left. I also didn’t know what else my legs could take. At mile 12 I started to really pick up my pace and for the last mile I ran a 7:05 pace! The closer I got to the finish line I could see the clock and I checked my watch to make sure but HOLY CRAP! I was actually going to run a good time!

I quickly got over Chelsea not warning me about the hills as I crossed the finish line in 1:43:13 a 7:55 pace. 11 female overall and 5th in my age group. I’m not sure what the 1:45 pace group ran as they finished before me, as well as the 1:40 pace group which wasn’t even in sight.

Overall and yes, minus the hills, this was a great race and course. I would run it again depending on my training plan and because it was super cheap!

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