TRAVERSE CITY — Consistency was the key Saturday for Caitlin Smith.
The Traverse City West grad maintained an even pace in cruising to the women’s title in the Bayshore Half Marathon.
Smith, 32, finished in 1:19:06.7. Otsego’s Michelle Grevenstuk was second in 1:23:23.3 and Grand Blanc’s Sherrie Teeple third in 1:23:56.1.
Smith’s time was 17 seconds off her personal best of 1:18.49.
“It actually went really well,” she said minutes after the race. “I’m bummed I didn’t hit a PR, but I stayed really consistent out there so I can’t complain.
“I feel pretty good at the moment so that makes me feel pretty happy, too.”
Smith, who won the marathon here last year, had company along the way. Her boyfriend, Sam Robinson, helped her along. Robinson just ran a marathon in Eugene, Ore., this month.
“He’s still recovering, but he decided to join me for the run today,” Smith said. “It was nice to have company.”
“I was the rabbit today, setting the pace,” he said. “It was fun. No wind out there. Crystal clear.”
Runners did have to contend with cold weather at the start which required a longer warm-up for Smith, but once the race got underway the temperature was just fine.
“We lucked out,” Smith said. “A few days ago when I went out for a run it was super windy. It wasn’t like that this morning. It was great.”
Smith, who now resides in California, wasn’t too talkative during the race.
“At mile five or six I said (to Robinson), ‘Pick it up,’ but I regretted that a little later,” she said, laughing.
“It’s my job to crack the whip — ‘come on, let’s go’,” Robinson said.
“I’ll have to go back and look, but I think my splits were really consistent throughout the entire race,” Smith said. “That’s a good sign for me. It shows I’m fit. I feel good about it.”
“Teamwork,” Robinson added, prompting a fist bump between the two.
Although the two do training runs together, this was the first time they have done a race together.
“I thought we had pretty good synergy,” Robinson said.
Robinson said he was still feeling the effects of the Eugene marathon.
“The last few miles my legs were starting to lock up,” he said. “I haven’t run too much since then.”
Smith was grateful for the company.
“I always struggle, end up in no man’s land, when I’m running by myself,” she said. “I’m trying to learn how to run with other people.
“It’s hard. In trail races you’re always running solo so I’ve gotten so used to having space around me that it’s hard being close to other runners. Today helped. Now I think I can go out and do a race and kind of stick on somebody because that really does help pull you along in a race.”
Smith plans to run Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth next month.
“This was a trial to see where my fitness is and I think it was a pretty good trial,” she said. “I’m happy with it.”
Grevenstuk set a personal best in taking second. It was her third half-marathon.