Category Archives: Half-Marathons

Mad Half Recap Part II

Need to read Part I? Get it here.

So remember how I said our room was an excellent bear-spotting location?

the view from our room at the White Horse Inn

Well, as my mom and I were snuggling down in our beds the night before the race, we heard a metallic banging sound. My mom excitedly looked out the window and spotted the silhouette of a bear running back into the woods! She was pretty psyched to have seen it, and we went to bed dreaming of friendly Vermont bears (the kind who don’t attack innocent runners who stumble into their midst). 🙂

Some of my best friends are runners.

Before I knew it, it was 5:20 and the alarm was going off. We dressed quickly and headed down to the dining room to check out the early morning spread for the runners. While there were plenty of freshly baked muffins, raspberry oat squares, bacon and pancakes, we sadly opted for bagels with a smear of peanut butter, a breakfast we know works well for us on long runs.

At the start/finish area of the Mad Half.

At least we knew there would be coffee nearby at the finish.

Excited to run! (Not at all scared about those hills, no not us!)

Excited to run! (Not at all scared about those hills, no not us!)

We then headed out to the starting area, about 5 minutes down the road. The race had only 1,000 runners, split between the marathon and half marathon distances. The great thing about there being so few runners – parking was a breeze!

After a little stretching, it was time to go. The National Anthem was sung, the gun went off, and we headed out! There was excitement in the air, and it was a sunny beautiful day to run. We crossed the first of several gorgeous Vermont covered bridges-

Crossing the first of several covered bridges in the Mad Half

and then the hills began.

My mom and I did our best to alternate power-walking with a light jog up the worst of the hills, and this seemed to work well. We weren’t setting any speed records, but we were enjoying the moment and the prospect of bagging another state (as a sidenote, we met many other runners who were also attempting to run a marathon or half in every state! So maybe we’re not that crazy…?)

You don't run the World's Most Beautiful Marathon without stopping to take a few pictures!

You don’t run the World’s Most Beautiful Marathon without stopping to take a few pictures!

Another beautiful view of the mountains from the Mad Half

Another covered bridge.

Another covered bridge.

We kept climbing and climbing- but what goes up must come down! While I deeply appreciated the fact that I was no longer running uphill, we had hit a fairly steep downhill stretch that must have lasted a good ten to fifteen minutes of running. I love me some down-hills, but this was brutal on the quads and ankles after a while.

Eventually we passed this sign, which made me laugh out loud (and pause to take a picture).

A sign along the Mad Half course read "Keep running, cows are watching"

Keep running cows R watching. We did see plenty of cows along the course, and many DID appear to have an ominous glint in their eyes. We successfully avoided all dangerous cow-runner interactions though! Phew… 😉

Our run-walk strategy worked pretty well, although we definitely modified it on some of the hills, walking a little bit more than the 6 minutes run-1 minute walk plan we had agreed on. Nevertheless, we managed to maintain a pace right around 10 minutes/mile.

Our mile splits from MapMyRun

On one of our uphill walk breaks, we fell into step with a young woman, commiserating over the ridiculous hills. She was running her first half-marathon with her boyfriend (who was running ahead). After chatting for a few more minutes, we wished her good luck and continued on.

Another view from the Mad Half

Just after mile 10, we hit another beautiful downhill section, and my mom and I were able to turn on a little more speed. My mom showcased her abundant energy in this crazy pic-

Running the Mad Half with energy to spare

At the bottom of the hill, we had only a mile or so left, and feeling strong, I pushed the pace a bit more, getting back down into the 8 minute/mile range.

Finally, after 2 hours and 14 minutes of uphills and downhills (and stunning views), I crossed the finish line, my mom only moments behind me.

the Medal from the Mad Half Marathon in Waitsfield, Vermont

Post-race treats-

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Cold apple cider and cider donuts. They were AMAZING after such a long, sweaty run.

While we were hanging out near the finish, waiting to cheer on the first finishers of the marathon, who should come over to us but our new friend from earlier in the race! She was very excited to have completed her first half marathon (and much faster than she had expected!)

alison

Congrats Alison!

Runners World writer and speaker, Bart Yasso was also at the race, having run the half marathon.

Bart Yasso at the Mad Marathon in Vermont.

What a great race! It was definitely one of the smaller ones we’ve run recently, but it was well-organized and fun. The views truly were gorgeous, and I had a blast, despite my griping about all the hills. I’m not sure it’s the race I would choose to run 26.2 miles (those marathoners looked tired!), but it was perfect for 13.1 miles. 🙂

After cleaning up back at the White Horse Inn, my mom and I drove into Montpelier to walk around a little bit. Not too long given how tired we were though! We did a little shopping, then headed back into Waitsfield, where we had a great dinner at the Akes’ Den.

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We shared salmon with a sweet potato crust (top) and crispy fish tacos (bottom). Both were insanely good. 🙂

That night, we watched a little tv and then zonked out pretty early.

Monday morning, we slept in and took advantage of being able to eat the wonderful breakfast provided at the inn.

Breakfast at the White Horse Inn

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French Toast from the White Horse Inn

Popover eggs scrambled with Vermont cheddar and French toast. And more bacon, naturally. 🙂

After the crazy-good meal, it was time to head home. Hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th weekend, and ate some yummy food too!

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Mad Half Recap Part I

Well it is safe to say that “The World’s most beautiful marathon” (as it is described on the website) was also the hilliest half marathon my mom and I have ever run! The world's most beautiful marathon- the Mad Marathon in Waitsfield, Vermont. Despite all the crazy changes in elevation on the course, my mom and I had a FANTASTIC weekend and successfully bagged another state! 🙂 We kicked off the trip by first stopping by the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, Vermont. There was a bit of a summer crowd and we probably waited on line for 30-45 minutes, but our ice cream was well-worth the wait. Our visit to the Ben and Jerry's Factory in Vermont. After that, we got back on the road to go to Waitsbury and pick up our race packets before navigating our way to the little bed and breakfast we were staying in, the White Horse Inn. This little inn was adorable and so reasonably priced that we were able to stay for two nights, rather than just the one. There was a white carousel horse statue in the foyer, freshly baked cookies at all times (which were almost too yummy!), and a warm, cozy atmosphere that you just can’t get at a hotel. The owners were very friendly and gracious, and gave us a heads-up to keep our eyes out for bears! Apparently for the last month or so, bears had been visiting their dumpster, tempted by all the delicious smells. My mom was very excited when we realized our room had a nice view of where the backyard met the forest- and the dumpster. A prime bear-spotting location! After settling in and unpacking our things, we set out to explore the little downtown area and to drive the half marathon course. mad elevation I had looked at the elevation map provided on the race website, so I knew we were in for some hills, but boy oh boy, driving that course really brought those hills to life! The worst hill of the Mad Half! Are you seeing this hill?! My reaction on seeing this as we drove the course – “Are you KIDDING me?!” Sure, it had this nice downhill bit, but after that, it just goes up and up and up. Basically, we were going to have to run up a mountain.

There were some scenic views along the Mad Half course too.

the Mad Half Course

I will grudgingly admit that it was pretty darn beautiful, despite all those stupid mountains.

After seeing that course, we knew we were going to have to take it easy and not make the same mistakes we had made during the Heartbreak Hill Half (namely, getting a little too excited and going out too fast). We decided to try to stick to a run six minutes-walk one minute plan. By inserting more walk breaks earlier on, we hoped to maintain a strong pace through to the end.

Once we had finished driving the course (and thoroughly psyching ourselves out!), we grabbed dinner at a nearby restaurant, where we sat outside, enjoying the beautiful Vermont weather.

The all-important pre-race dinner.

The all-important pre-race dinner.

I’m not usually a burger person – but this burger, topped with bacon, cheese, and caramelized onions served on a pretzel roll drew me in. I can honestly say it was probably the best burger I’ve ever eaten. My mom had steak with a creamy cheese sauce, and she said that was really good too. For two people who generally stick to a more veggie-based diet, we sure enjoyed our beef! We went to bed early that night, since we had our race at 7 am the next morning. Thankfully, the inn was pretty much full with runners, so everyone was very quiet and respectful, and we slept wonderfully in our big, comfy beds (quite a step up from the freezing cold Boston College dorms we stayed in for the Heartbreak Hill Half!).

Stay tuned for Part II to hear how the Mad Half went (and how we survived all those mountains/hills!)

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Greetings From the Mad Half!

Hi there!

Just wanted to post a quick update – we drove up to Vermont today, and we are getting ready for what looks like a beautiful (yet extremely hilly) course tomorrow.

Our lunch today? Well, we stopped by our friends’, Ben and Jerry’s obviously.

Ice Cream at Ben and Jerry's Factory in Waterbury, VermontWhat’s a trip to Vermont without a little ice cream? Also, those waffle cones were INCREDIBLE. And the lady who served us told us we got the last two, so that just makes it even better. 🙂

Some other glorious Vermont sites we took in-

Nothing is more Vermont than this scene right here. :)

Nothing is more Vermont than this scene right here. 🙂

A view of the Green Mountains from the Mad Marathon course

A view of the Green Mountains from the Mad Marathon course

We have to be up bright and early to run 13.1 miles tomorrow, so that’s all for now!

Hope you’re having a good holiday weekend! 🙂

 

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Final Thoughts on Heartbreak Hill From the Other Half

So….just a few thoughts about this race, from the other half of the duo.

overconfidencecropped

Like Nora I was happy about my PR in the Amica Iron Horse half and wondered if I could do it again. ( I was ignoring the little voice inside my head  that said this might not be the course/day to attempt it.)

By morning the little voice was louder. I had been awake (shivering) most of the night and definitely didn’t feel like I had a PR in me. During her talk the day before, Shalane Flanagan had advised us to smile, saying it tricked your body into thinking you felt better than you did. At this point, I was going to need to smile a lot and I wrote the word “smile” in pen on my right forearm: I knew I was going to need frequent reminders.

I joined my pace group, (2:00 hours) and hoped for the best.

It was sunny and hot and beautiful – and by mile four I was miserable and beginning to get a headache. (I had consumed less coffee in an effort to avoid making a pit stop; silly me.) Now I stopped at every water station and drank at least one cup of water. By mile 7, I was all but staring at the inky admonition to smile, and still feeling miserable and really beginning to think that this would be my first DNF.  And then, miraculously, I had walked/staggered to mile 13 and someone was saying it was only a half mile to the finish. At that point, Sia was singing “Chandelier” on my iPhone (I highly recommend it as a workout/running song!), and that voice in my head said something I can’t actually write here and I started to run. I decided that even if I didn’t quite feel like I was swinging from a chandelier (more like I was hanging from it by a noose around my neck!) I could at least run as long as the song lasted.  And somehow, that got me across the finish line – overwhelmed with relief and gratitude and feeling very foolish.

So although this was probably my most difficult half yet, I’m actually really grateful because it reminded me of what works best for me. So from now on, I will always:

Start slow and if I feel good, I will run faster.

I will not keep looking at my watch. (There are clocks on the course for that, and MapmyRun gives me my pace every mile. That is enough!)

I will drink my morning coffee and if I have to make a pit stop, I will make that stop! (in a race approved location!)

And I will remember to smile!!

smile

(Despite the race being a tough one for me, I just want to add that Runner’s World did an awesome job with all of it! The expo and all the speakers were great! The course, though tough, was well thought out and there were tons of water stations etc… As for staying on campus at BC, that was great, too. Despite being cold at night, the rooms were super clean and nice, and all the event locations were well marked and everyone was really friendly. So I would definitely do it again – though next time I will bring a blanket!) 🙂

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Heartbreak Hill Half Part II

Do you need to catch up on Part I? Read it here.

On race morning, my mom and I got up at 5:50. Neither of us slept well the night before, as somehow our room ended up being even colder than it was the night before! My mom had covered herself with a towel and her jean jacket as makeshift blankets, but I don’t think they were all that insulating.

Luckily, we had taken preparations to ensure we got some coffee in the morning. 🙂 We had discovered a nearby Dunkin Donuts the day before, so we each got an iced coffee with no ice (so that way the ice wouldn’t melt and water it down), and stashed them in the fridge. Paired with our bagels with almond butter and raspberry jam, it was a perfect pre-race breakfast.

bfast

After gathering our fuel belt, GU’s, and bibs, we headed out to make the short walk to the starting area. We stretched a little, and then separated to go to our respective pace groups. My mom wanted to go with a pacer set to run a 2:00 time, and I decided to try my hand going with the 1:50 pace group. I think we were both a little too confident coming off our PRs from the Iron Horse Half!

When the horn sounded, we headed out and I did my best to keep sight of the 1:50 sign my pacer was carrying. This came out to being 8:25 minutes/mile. Too fast. In hindsight, I wonder why I thought it was a good idea to try to run a pace I had never run in a half marathon before over a hilly course and on a particularly hot day. Well now, I can tell you from personal experience  – it’s not a good idea.

splits

The first mile was mostly downhill, but I still felt like I was pushing it, and I knew pretty early on I wasn’t going to be able to maintain that speed (I did the first mile in 8:26, yikes!). My usual strategy is to start a little slower in the beginning of a half marathon to let my legs loosen up and to conserve energy, and then to try to gradually get faster over the course of the race. That’s what I did in the Iron Horse Half and it worked like a charm. I should have stuck to what I knew for this race, but I somehow thought that getting another PR would be simple – I just had to stick with the pacer!

By mile 5, I was exhausted. I had drastically underestimated the course. Everything I had read talked about how Heartbreak Hill was the last of a series of 3 hills, and was not even particularly steep. This had led me to believe that the course had only 3 hills total. I guess I didn’t think about how the course was an out-and-back loop, so any section that was downhill one way, ended up being uphill the other way! By this point I had completely lost sight of the 1:50 pacer, so I let go of the idea of PRing, and tried to enjoy my surroundings. I got high-fives from a gorilla (or at least, a man dressed in a highly convincing gorilla costume!), and little kids. I also pulled out my phone and snapped some pics while I ran!

race1

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It was very, very hot though, and eventually, I started taking frequent walking breaks. A lot of runners were doing the same. There were a whole bunch of runners who would pass me while I was walking, and then I would start running again, and I would pass them walking. This back-and-forth passing kept up for pretty much the whole second half of the race.

Just after mile 9, I came running around a corner to find paramedics and an ambulance helping to transport a runner. I hope he ended up being all right! It’s so easy to push yourself a little too hard and in the really warm temps, it can end up being disastrous. I tried to remind myself of that every time I felt guilty for walking.

FINALLY, just around the 2 hour mark, I passed the 13 mile marker, and knew I was almost there! The crowd support through the BC campus was fantastic, and I pulled out my earbuds to take in all the cheering, music, and energy as I ran my tired legs to the finish. Official time – 2:06:00. Well off from the 1:50 time I had been thinking about, but honestly I was happy with it. Over that course and in that heat, it was actually a pretty darn good time.

My official results

My official results

My mom's official results

My mom’s official results

My mom finished just a few minutes behind me in 2:09, and we flopped down in the shade with our Gatorade, water, and post-race food to trade stories. She had given up on staying with her pace group too, and we laughed at ourselves together for thinking that had been a good idea.

post race

Well, live and learn right? There will be plenty of half marathons to try to PR on (I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we still have quite a few states to check off!). What’s most important is to run your own race. Know what strategy works for you, and stick to your guns. We thought it would be cool to try out the pace groups (the Shamrock half was the only other race we’ve done that’s offered them), but we should have trusted our own experience. Still, Heartbreak Hill was a fantastic race and weekend! Runner’s World did a great job organizing it, we learned a lot, and had a whole lot of fun. What more can you really ask from a race?

shirtA really nice shirt. There’s basically no point to doing a race if they don’t give you a shirt. 🙂 Luckily, the shirts were great too.

Hope you had a fun weekend!

 

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Heartbreak Hill Half Part I

What a whirlwind weekend!

The weather was absolutely gorgeous!

The weather was absolutely gorgeous!

The Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon and Festival was so much fun and a really incredible experience. It was, as I put it to my mom, like “going to running camp”. We stayed overnight Friday and Saturday in the dorms at Boston College. It was very nice for a dorm room, but the beds were certainly not the comfiest, and our room was freezing, despite the warm temps in Boston. Weird.

Our common room area

Our common room area

We drove into Boston on Friday afternoon and after checking into our room, headed to the expo  to pick up our race packets and check out the vendors.

We even picked up a little souvenir for one of our biggest fans!

expo1

The rest of Friday afternoon we had to ourselves since all the running seminars were scheduled for Saturday. We went to Brio Tuscan Grille, a nearby Italian restaurant. My mom and I split the field greens salad to start and it was delicious! We followed that with some generous servings of pasta, which were also very good.

salad

On Saturday, the 5K and 10K races took place, but we weren’t running either of those, so we were able to sleep in a little bit before the seminars began at noon. When we woke up though, my mom and I were faced with the pressing difficulty of having NO AVAILABLE COFFEE! The horror!! So after showering and getting ready, we found the closest Starbucks and made the fifteen minute walk over.

Successful in our coffee quest!

Successful in our coffee quest!

 

After getting our coffees, we headed over to the start/finish area in time to see the end of the 10K and the Eukanuba 2-Mile Dog Run!

start_finish

dog run

This was absolutely the cutest. The race directors were also really good about ensuring the safety of all the dogs, given the warm temps. They filled big tubs of water and had the owners get their dogs soaking wet before the start of the race, and were advising owners over the loudspeaker that it wasn’t the day to “put the pedal to the metal”. Even so, some of the dogs sure seemed like they wanted to gun it!

dog run3

dog run2

After watching the start of the dog race, my mom and I headed over to a seminar all about running for women. It featured four speakers – including Shalane Flanagan! For those who don’t know, Shalane is an elite long-distance runner who won the bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics for the 10,000 meters. In this year’s Boston Marathon, Flanagan ended up placing 7th, after leading the pack for 19 miles. I was so excited to hear her speak.

shalane1

She didn’t disappoint. She was funny, down-to-earth, and a pleasure to listen to. She talked about how hard it hard it had been for her to lose the Boston Marathon this past year, but how the winner Rita Jeptoo had thanked her at the end for setting such a fast pace. Shalane’s response? “Thanks, now you owe me a glass of wine.” Hehe. She also mentioned going on a donut binge where she ate five donuts during a meeting with her trainer. Her advice was not to do that though! All the women were great speakers and so fun to listen to. It was inspiring to hear how much running meant to these women, and how it had helped them through times of crisis in their lives.

My mom and I also went to a seminar on sports nutrition, given by Nancy Clark. She was very informative, and definitely gave me a lot of ideas about things I can do to improve my diet! One of the things she said NOT to do was what she called “crescendo eating”. This is when you eat a small breakfast, but end up starving by dinnertime and overeat as a result. She suggests breaking up your food for the day into 4 small meals so that you’re eating every four hours or so. This is best for sustained energy (very important for endurance running and athletes in general) and hunger control. I ended up buying her book, Food Guide for Marathoners. I’m still browsing through it, but I’ll be sure to post a full review once I can explore it in more detail!

food gude

After the nutrition seminar, I went to a seminar on fitness blogging (it was a busy day!). I got to meet some of my favorite bloggers, including Julie from PBFingers. The panel of bloggers included Katy Widrick of katywidrick.com, Matt from No Meat Athlete, and Karla from Run Karla Run. They definitely gave me some ideas for sprucing up my blog, so don’t be alarmed if my site looks very different in the coming days!

My mom and I then went for an early dinner, because we were hearing Sarah Reinertsen speak at 7. Sarah was the first woman amputee to complete the Ironman triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, topped off with a 26.2 mile run).

We wanted to stay nearby to make sure we weren’t late, so we grabbed some Mexican food for takeout at El Pelon Taqueria, a restaurant about five minutes away from BC. I’ll admit, I was a little nervous about eating Mexican the night before our race, but it was delicious and didn’t cause any problems on race day (thank goodness!).

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My mom and I both got the fish tacos and a side order of rice and chips and guacamole. It was all so fresh and authentic-tasting! If you’re in the Chestnut Hill area, I highly recommend checking this place out!

A little before 7, we headed over to hear Sarah’s keynote speech. Again, she was wonderful to listen to. At just over 5 feet tall, she was this tiny ball of energy – so dynamic and with such a powerful story! She talked about having her leg amputated due to a tissue deficiency at the age of 7, and not knowing how to run and play with the other kids. She talked about a soccer coach who wouldn’t let her scrimmage with the other kids during practice, and instead made her kick a ball against the wall by herself. This was all part of what fueled her to run marathons and eventually to compete in triathlons, including the Ironman!

 

sarahRRR

I bought her memoir, In a Single Bound, and was even lucky enough to get her to sign it after her speech. I certainly have my summer reading cut out for me!

sarah

Race day recap coming soon!

P.S. – Props to you if you read this whole post! It was another long one 🙂

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Amica Iron Horse Half Marathon

Well, one down, and one to go! 

title

My mom and I survived the first half marathon in our crazy 2 half marathons- in-2-weeks quest!! I really shouldn’t even use the word “survive” – that conjures up images of us weakly crawling across the finish on our hands and knees – we actually thrived, with both of us shaving 3 minutes off our best times for new PRs! But I don’t wanna skip ahead of myself, so I’ll go back to the beginning  – 3 am when our alarms went off. 

It was  brutal getting up at that hour, but luckily my mom and I were pretty organized, and had packed everything we were going to need (GU’s, race belts, sunscreen) the night before, so we just had to get dressed and get some coffee in our systems before hitting the road.

coffeeselfie

Don’t mistake my crazy expression in this photo – that’s not energy, it’s a lack-of-sleep induced delirium. I do have to say though, driving at 4 in the morning has its benefits!  The roads were completely deserted!

Totally dark out and the only ones crazy enough to be awake!

Totally dark out and the only ones crazy enough to be awake!

We made great time, and ended up arriving at Iron Horse Boulevard in an hour and 50 minutes, giving us plenty of time to pick up our race numbers and shirts (which are GORGEOUS by the way – definitely one of my favorite designs ever!).

While we were hanging out, waiting for the races to begin, we ended up chatting a little with the ladies of Willow Workout. They’ve designed this neat looking tool to use for resistance training and stretching.

willow workout

I tried to use it to stretch my legs a little, but almost fell over (not being the most flexible person in the world!). The wooden limbs are designed to bend when you push on them, allowing you to get in some resistance training without going to the gym. A pretty cool and unique concept!

After taking some pictures, my mom and I made our way to the start line. The pre-race photo –

I'm all squinty-eyed because we're looking directly into the sun. My mom is cheating by wearing sunglasses.

I’m all squinty-eyed because we’re looking directly into the sun. My mom is cheating by wearing sunglasses.

The 10K runners had already left, and the half marathon was scheduled to start 15 minutes later, at 7:45. It was pretty brisk that early in the morning, and my mom and I were both shivering. Finally, we listened to the Star-Spangled Banner, and then… we were off!

starting line

Almost immediately, my mom and I separated. I had told her in advance that I was hoping to potentially PR, given the flat course and comfortable temperatures. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to though, as I had taken my last dose of medicine for a sinus infection that morning! But I was feeling pretty healthy and thought it might be possible, so I figured why not go for it.  My plan had been to ease into the course and to run 9:30 minutes per mile for the first three miles, just to get warmed up. Well let’s just say I’m a little competitive and have a tendency to get sucked into the excitement at the beginning of a race, and that combination is a recipe for running faster than you’re supposed to. According to MapMyRun, I ran the first mile in 8:50. Oops…  After that first mile, I realized I was running way faster than I had planned, but I felt good! The pace felt comfortable and natural, so I completely threw out the little plan I had put together in my head and decided to just run the pace I was running for as long as I could.

I ended up doing a great job keeping my splits consistent, even speeding up a little towards the end!

I ended up doing a great job keeping my splits consistent, even speeding up a little towards the end!

(*Note – MapMyRun got a little messed up on the distance, it was 13.1 miles, not 13.4.)

When I wasn’t calculating mile splits and finishing times in my head, I did really appreciate the beauty of the course. It went through some lovely residential areas and past farmland, complete with horses and a very cute donkey (according to my mom… somehow I completely missed seeing the donkey). Boy scouts and girl scouts manned the water stops, and also had water guns that they would splash you with if you gave them the thumbs-up! I didn’t take them up on this early on when temps were still in the 50s, but towards the end of the race, it was super refreshing and a welcome relief!

course

Achilles International, an organization that brings together people with disabilities and helps them participate in athletic events, was there as well. I ran behind a blind runner and his guide, both members of Achilles for a while, and it was so inspiring! They held a band between them which they used to maneuver past other runners and obstacles. Both guide and runner seemed completely relaxed, and were chatting the whole time I was within hearing distance! One runner’s comment as she approached from behind and saw the two of them – “That’s freaking awesome.” And that seemed to be how everyone else felt too. 

The course consisted of a few loops, so that you ended up passing the finish area once around mile 8, before actually finishing. Right as I was coming into this loop the first time, the announcer said over the loudspeaker that the first finisher for the half marathon was within sight, and the crowd really began cheering. While I still had several more miles to run, it was pretty exciting and gave me a nice adrenaline boost (even if they weren’t cheering for me!).

By mile 10, I was definitely beginning to feel it, and while I had done well keeping my pace up throughout the race, I was beginning to feel paranoid that I wouldn’t get my PR. I just tried to keep pushing myself, knowing that I was so close to being done. At mile 12, I passed one of the race clocks that read 1:46, and it was then that I felt pretty confident I could get my PR – I knew it wasn’t going to take me ten minutes to run that last mile. I tuned out the discomfort in my legs, and gave it everything I had in that last mile, and boy, was it worth it! I crossed the finish line in 1:55:23, a new PR, and a very satisfying result!

I grabbed a water and my new medal and went to stand near the finish line, hoping to grab a photo of my mom as she crossed the line. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it!), she ran much faster than I expected and crossed the line in 2:01:36! I saw her right after she had crossed, but wasn’t ready with my camera. Darn it.

My mom and I then checked out the post-race food, and got some granola, a banana, and our choice of either a grilled cheese or hot dog, both cooked by a local boy scout troop. We picked grilled cheese, and I think it was the right choice! I’ve never had grilled cheese at the end of a long run before, but it really hit the spot! Those boy scouts knew what they were doing. 

food

Finally getting some rest!

Finally getting some rest!

We then took a picture over at the Amica Victory Podium, where we posed with the sign we had made. Connecticut: check.

Amica Victory Shot

We had just started to walk away as they were announcing the women’s age group winners. BAD DECISION. My mom got third in her age group, and was so disappointed when she realized she had missed out on the glory of walking up to the front and collecting her prize (who cares what the actual prize is, she really wanted the recognition!). We will have to make it a point from now on to always listen at the awards ceremony!

simsbury1

simsbury2

After switching into sandals and dropping our things off in the car, we walked through Simsbury’s town center a little, but were disappointed to find it didn’t offer much in terms of touristy boutiques or stores! We had been hoping to pick up a little souvenir, but there wasn’t much of anything besides restaurants. It was very scenic though! We ended up getting iced coffee and iced tea at Dunkin Donuts, and then a magic bar at a different little café, and then heading home.

magic bar

Overall, a very successful (but exhausting) day! I curled up with a blanket, and was bummed when I had to get up to help make dinner. 

sleepy me

 

Now we can just hope that the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon goes as well as this one did! 

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Filed under Half-Marathons, Races