CASA Half Marathon Race Report 2014 – Going out strong!

CASA Half Marathon Race Report 2014 – Going out strong!

The last few weeks have been a blur of Christmas parties, activities, work, shopping, baking and RACING!  Ordinarily I consider myself fairly organized but right now I am just taking it day by day.  I would love to write a more lengthy race report but if I do it might never happen.  (If you recall I’m still short two 10K race reports from November…)  I saw this on a friends Facebook page this morning and could really relate.  It’s hard to keep up with everything going on this time of year.  I think we all feel like this around mid-December! 

One thing I did not forget?
The CASA Half Marathon in Pine Bluff, AR.  Ever since running this race last year I knew I wanted to do it again.  You just can’t beat a course like this.  I knew it would be tough to beat my time from last year but I wanted to run a strong, smart race and finish the year right.

Fact: The CASA Half Marathon in Pine Bluff is the race to run if you are looking to PR in the half in or around Arkansas.  It’s flat and fast- my favorite race combination.  There are no excuses! 

I met two of my local running buddies at 5:20 Saturday morning and we headed for Pine Bluff which is a little over an hour and a half away from where we live.  When we arrived we picked up our bibs and all of our race swag.  This race offers a lot for it’s $50 entry fee.  Participants receive a bag, a cookbook (yes, this is the south!) and a really nice t-shirt.  In fact, the shirt was voted best Arkansas Grand Prix race shirt for 2014.  After a mile and a half warm-up it was time to head to the starting line.

The Plan:
I wanted to hold a pace in the 6:30’s if possible.  (Obviously the lower the better!)  Having run a 6:40-ish watch pace in St. Jude’s last weekend I thought it might be doable on an easier course.  The weather was perfect (mid to upper 40’s & not windy!) so I figured I had a really good chance of running faster in Pine Bluff.  I wanted to go sub 1:27 and if possible place in the top three.  This race awards a beautiful hand crafted glass dish to the top three overall finishers, as well as overall Master’s division winners.  When I saw the local competition I knew placing first or second would be really tough.  Last year’s female winner set the overall course record in 1:15:27 and she was there to defend her title.  I just hoped I could finish third!

The Race:
Mi 1- 6:29.  From the start I was in fourth female.  This was a little faster than my first mile last week and I hoped it wouldn’t be my fastest mile!
Mi 2- 6:37.
Mi 3- 6:37
Mi- 4- 6:38.
Mi 5- 6:36.
Mi 6- 6:31.
Mi 7- 6:52.  Yikes! Not really sure what happened this mile.  I got some water and had some gu which definitely affected my time.  It wasn’t a very smooth transition but I didn’t expect my time to be this much out of range.
Mi 8- 6:35.  Back on track with my pace and closing the gap between me and the third place female.
Mi 9. 6:29.  During this mile I moved into third place female.
Mi 10- 6:36.
Mi 11- 6:39.
Mi 12- 6:38. I was so tired at this point but counting down minutes.  I knew I could hold on for a few more minutes!
Mi 13- 6:26. Finish strong!
Mi 13.1- (5:41 pace).

Official Finish Time- 1:26:08 (6:35 avg.). 3rd female. So close to sub 1:26. (I blame mile 7!)  But VERY happy with this time.  It’s actually my fastest half marathon time for 2014!

A little side note- the fourth place female finisher who I passed in Mile 9 just had a baby 4 months ago.  She ran a 1:27:40!! Amazing!

With Kem and Natalie
Kem won Masters and my friend Natalie placed 2nd in her AG
My CASA Half Marathon plates are proudly displayed in my kitchen! (2013 on the left and 2014 on right)

Post Race Thoughts:
I’ve run 6 half marathons this year and after the struggle I had with plantar fasciitis the majority of the year, I feel good about ending a little ahead of where I started. 2015 is going to be a great year!

2014 Half Marathons
Finish Time
Little Rock Half Marathon
Germantown Half Marathon
Doc Rock Half Marathon
MidSouth Half Marathon
St. Jude Half Marathon
CASA Half Marathon

Now I’ll close with some random pics from life this week:

It’s gingerbread house time in first grade!

A little belated birthday/ Christmas shopping with my “running girls”
My son led the closing song at church Sunday night. I was so nervous but he did great!
John and I at an Ugly Christmas Sweater party.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to convince John to dress up!

Any other CASA racers out there?

I know Heather from Where’s the Beach did and she also set a 3 minute PR! Way to go Heather!
Also, Tara from Running N Reading ran CASA as well. She is getting ready for the 3 Bridges Marathon in just a few weeks! 

13 thoughts on “CASA Half Marathon Race Report 2014 – Going out strong!

  1. Congratulations on your 3rd place finish and awesome plate prize, Tia! I love how you have them displayed in your kitchen because cool awards like that are so fun to put up in the house. It’s so amazing how well you’ve recovered from PF but also how balanced you are with life and positive despite injuries and not always running your best times. It looks like you guys all had fun at the race too and it sounds like it was a really neat one with cool swag (can’t say I’ve ever gotten a cookbook). Glad you girls got to share the race memories together!

    1. Thanks Amy! I think this is the only race I’ve ever done that gives out cookbooks. A half I ran in the spring have out mixing bowls and spoons though! It’s fun collecting different race memorabilia like that! Thanks for your sweet comment!

  2. I’ve said it before, but you have some great swag in Arkansas! We are very lucky to get some hideous socks. Too bad; I love swag. I know it makes no sense, but nice swag makes the race worth it!
    Congrats on another lovely dish – those are gorgeous!

    1. Thanks Gracie! For real! Sometimes I add up all the stuff we get and I honestly don’t know how races even make money?! But this one said they made close to $20k so I guess they’re doing something right!

  3. I LOVE the plates you won – those are so awesome!! I’d proudly display those too. 🙂 Great job on your race – I’m so amazed at how FAST you are! It gives me hope that I’ll break that 1:30 mark yet. 🙂 So glad things are going well for you and you closed the year out strong. You’ve had a great attitude through your injury and though I know it has been very frustrating, sounds like you have put yourself in a great position for a really strong 2015!

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