Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Half Marathon Unplugged Recap

Saturday was my first Half Marathon of the year. I have spent the winter preparing for it and was ready to take it on. I didn't exactly have a "plan" of how I wanted this race to go. I was not going for a PR yet I did want to beat last years time of 1:44:53. This is the second time I have done this course. It is different in the sense that where you start is literally 13.1 miles from where you finish. The start begins at Airport Park in Colchester, Vermont and takes you on the bike path along Lake Champlain where you finish in Burlington near Switchback Brewing Company. The course is pretty and serene, offering views of the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain.

Pre Race 

The week prior I began my carb loading, resting, and mental preparation for this race. I took two days off of running before race day to give my legs the much needed break before pounding the pavement. I was sure to do some stretching and got in a yoga practice as well with my foam roller. The night before I made myself a dinner with fettuccine with olive oil and pesto topped with spinach, kale and jumbo shrimp. It was delicious and exactly what I wanted.

Runner's World Yoga

I always need to feel prepared and ready for my race. This always includes getting my outfit and running gear together the night before. Everything gets laid out on my kitchen table. This way I can check to be sure I have all the things I need: fuel and clothing.

Have to be prepared!

Race Day

My father was running in this race as well and we had decided that he would park at the end of the race course and bus over while I met him with my car at the beginning. Last year we both bused over then had to wait over an hour in the wind and cold, with no cover, until the race began. Since the forecast was to be over ten degrees colder at the start than the year before we wanted to keep warm until go time. It was a smart decision for sure! On my way over to the park I suddenly realized that my prepared self had forgotten my wallet. I had no money or ID. I called my husband and pretty much demanded he bring it to me (nicely of course). Hubby came to the rescue which also allowed me to see my kids one more time before the race started. I needed that! My children and husband are typically waiting for me at the end but due to the temps I felt it was best they get to stay warm.

Dad & I Pre-Race

I was feeling pretty good! I had showered and had breakfast before I took off (something I do before every race) and was keeping hydrated and started fueling as we waited. It was around 30 degrees out but Mother Nature had given us a little break by bringing the sun out. I was feeling ready and excited. 

I have to admit I was pretty happy to see these when I parked

As I waited at the start with my fellow runners my Garmin decided to lose satellite and go back to the time. It was a clear, sunny morning and I am not even sure why this happened. I frantically started my Garmin again while watching the words: searching satellite and that black bar slowly and painfully loading. The start was declared and off running I had to go while fidgeting with my Garmin. It was around three fourths of the way   on my first mile when it finally started to work. I realized that it was past the point of being helpful for me as far as miles went. This became strike two (strike one was forgetting my wallet) and I wondered what strike three was going to be. I stayed positive and decided I was not going to let that ruin this run. I was still able to use my Garmin to focus on pace and keep myself in a rhythm. 

I started the first couple miles at a 7:30 pace and wondered if that was going to burn me out. I typically run a 8:00 minute mile once I get into my runs. 7:30 pace is something I hit on my speed runs. I knew that I could consistently do this pace for six to seven miles but was not sure I could maintain for all 13.1! I was feeling great though and decided I would stick with it. I kept an eye on my pace, allowing myself some slack here and there. It wasn't until mile eight where I questioned my endurance for another five miles. I knew it was all in my head and I could do it! I had done this before so why should this run be any different. I had trained hard for this race and I was going to finish this race strong. I pushed myself the last four miles to stick to a 7:20 min mile and was pretty thrilled to finish at 1:37:28!

Post Race

The one downer about this particular race is there is no medal. On the plus side there is beer! It is sponsored by Switchback Brewing Company and they graciously had their facility open to runner's post race to eat our food and have a beer. I am a fan of their beer yet had never been inside the facility so it was pretty cool to check out how the magic happens

Check out the Foosball table in the right hand corner. They need to take breaks while brewing right?!  

Not only did we get to check out the brewery but I got to run into one of my favorite people! This chick also broke her own personal PR this day! So exciting to hear of other runner's/friends victories. This sport is truly rewarding

Maureen and I post race
Race Overview 
I had an amazing race. I felt good, I had trained hard, and I performed better than I had anticipated. I beat the previous years time by 7 minutes and I was only 45 seconds off from my PR (1:36:43). An entire year has come and gone and I am able to now look at what a better runner I have become. It didn't happen overnight and I continue to work at it. It has taken dedication and discipline. It has not always been easy, some days I even struggle to train. Getting to where I am now has taken time and patience. It was not an overnight phenomenon that occurred, it was a result of a commitment to myself. My runs are not about who I can beat, they are about becoming stronger and more fierce. The only person I compete against is myself, and I will continue to challenge the woman within with each run or race. Not every race has to be a PR, but every race is about growth and strength.
Post Race Recovery

If I can inspire even one person to reach for their goals, whatever that may be, than that makes me happy. Running has taught me to believe in myself, to push myself to limits I never imagined, and to never give up on a goal or dream. Next stop...VCM on May 29th where I will do my next half splitting the marathon with my father for our third year in a row. This is my favorite event! Time to continue training!

P.S. My hubby did come to the rescue one more time; he made me an awesome dinner with swordfish kabobs on the grill. He's a keeper! 


  1. Wow that's pretty speedy! Nice work. I think the 2 days off prior to your race is so smart and something I have recently realized the importance of.

  2. I am so impressed with your time! That is amazing!! I would be disappointed too about the medal, but yay for beer! Lol Congrats on a great race!