Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Race Recap: Runner's World Half Marathon

This past weekend I took a trip up to Pennsylvania for two important reasons:
1. To see Steven & go to the shiny place. I've been craving some good 'ol diner food
2. To run the Runner's World Half Marathon

It worked out perfectly that the race was happening the weekend I planned to go visit Steven. I was going to be in big trouble if I had to try and find a route by myself to do my long run. I was lucky!

The backdrop for the race was the old Bethlehem Steel. At one point in time, Bethelehem Steel was the second-largest steel producer in the U.S. I thought it was so neat!

The expo was held on Friday and Saturday. We chose to go on Saturday around noon, so we got to also watch the Eukanuba one-mile dog run from above. It was so fun to see all the different breeds of dogs who were running! Everything from a yorkie to a pitbull to 3 golden retrievers dressed as football players/referees.

The expo was inside the ArtsQuest building. It has 4 floors and the expo was spread among them which was PERFECT because it didn't feel too cramped. The first floor was the cafe, some Runner's World gear & books and the bib pick up. The second floor was the shoe lab and a couple of tables promoting Bethelem and local races. The third floor was the "main expo" with things you can buy, free water, Moe's had some food samples, treadmills, bondibands and sweaty bands were there to represent, as well as PRO Compression - which is the only place I bought something. I finally went for it and bought some calf sleeves. I really think they will help - and was told a million times while looking at them - that they will help me on these super long runs. The fourth floor was t-shirt pick up!

The race was Sunday morning at 8:00. I got up around 6:15 or so and ate some belVita breakfast biscuits which I got for free at the expo. OOOOOHHHHH my word. They are amazing. Didn't have any tummy problems running so I give a thumbs up.
We got to the race at 7:00 and found great parking - woo! - then headed to the ArtsQuest building. Did the whole stretch/bathroom/shot bloks routine and then walked to the starting line around 7:40. It was in the 40's so I was trying to stay inside the building for as long as possible!
Steven and I parted ways at this point - he went up to the 1-mile mark to wait for me.

Since I was running this as my "training run" for the week, I settled back with the 2:10 pace. I didn't want to run too hard. That put me at a 9:55 pace, which was perfectly comfortable for a hilly 13.1.
I stayed with the pace group for the first 8 miles, then I picked it up a bit after the big hills were done and ran on my own.
Here is the 2:10 pacer. Shout out to Ingrid! Very encouraging the whole way:
Picture courtesy of Runner's World
If you look under her right arm - the grey shirt is me! Also a bit of my pink compression sleeve between her legs.
Some fun things about the race:
- RW editors running with you!
It was so fun to see Runner's World editors and staff members running the race with us. David Willey just came breezing on through cheering everyone on. Then Bart Yasso was high-fiving at the finish line - and really could be seen everywhere helping out. It was awesome!  
- Guy handing out free twizzlers if you smiled
- "Twerk for a skirt" Free running skirt, all ya gotta do is TWERK IT!
-  Lots of music, cheerleaders, bands along the course
- Lots of support from the town
- Finish is mostly downhill and really exciting
Here I am at about the 10 mile mark:
Kudos to Steven for that picture! Whenever I know someone is taking a picture of me running, I try to do the smile/thumbs up. It says: "Hey, I'm doing fine and having fun!", which is typically the case. Plus I hate pictures of me running where I look MISERABLE. Trash.
My official results:
I am so happy with how I ran this race.  Stayed conservative, picked it up for some negative splits in the end, and still felt like I had some juice in the end. Perfect training run I would say. And I felt pretty darn good for having done 18 the previous weekend.

Overall I have nothing but positive things to say about this race! I am so thankful for Steven who ran around the course to see me at 3 different points - and bless his heart had to sprint to see me at the finish. Shouldn't have picked up my pace... :)

If you're looking for a fun, supportive, beautiful and challenging half-marathon, this is it!
I would absolutely run this race again and hope to in the future!

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