Movie Madness 13.1 Recap (That turned into 14 miles)

Movie Madness 13.1 Recap (That turned into 14 miles)

The Movie Madness 13.1 was my 54th half marathon and the first one I ever got lost.

My plans the week before changed multiples times. Instead of doing a long run on the same roads I’ve been running on, I decided to take a short road trip to Harrisburg, NJ. I’ve driven through Harrisburg a few times, but I’ve never spent much time there. It’s a cool city and also the state capital of Pa.

Anyway, the half marathon was $60 when I registered two days before. I didn’t expect roads to be closed or the race be anything more than a no frills race. My goal was to get a strong long run. I wasn’t tapered, nor was I  in a mindset to run my hardest ever. In fact, there was only race day pickup, and you could register the day of!

I arrived at the start around 7:15 am, picked up my number and just relaxed.

The race started 2 minutes early, and we were off at 7:58. Immediately I found myself as third person and first female. I was running with two men and a lead cyclist. I thought I could maybe keep up the other two men but wasn’t sure.

The first mile goes around the stadium. I just felt like I was relaxed and right, where I wanted to be. We hit the first mile in 7:08, and it felt comfortable.

The next mile went over a grated pedestrian bridge. It made it hard to get a groove and wasn’t closed to people just walking. We crossed a major road, which thankfully there were police directing traffic. We made a 180 turn where there was a water stop (no electrolytes).

By now, one male leader was out ahead, followed by another, and then me. We went over a long bridge, and I hit mile 2 in 6:52, which felt comfortable, but I ran alone for the rest of the time.

Around mile 2.5, we got to the end of the bridge, and a volunteer motioned me to go left (and I did). I began running through a neighborhood street which had no race signs, and I couldn’t see much ahead. After about a half mile of seeing no one else, I asked someone doing their lawn if they had seen any other runners and they said no. So I decided to run back to the bridge. With my confusion and stop, I hit the third mile in 7:22.

When I got back to the bridge, a different volunteer was there, and the rest of the runners had gone through the small tunnel and back across the bridge. I looked and could see the other runners I was running with. When I started running over the bridge, I was running with more people and thought: well, at least I can’t get lost now. My watch hit 4 miles in 7:08 and I just kept chugging along.

The next few miles went through the park, and I was in a daze. I was essentially running a long, hard, run by myself but motivated by the race setting. The next few miles, I ran between 7:04-7:08 pace, which is where I wanted to be.  I was running alone and passing people.  As I reached (my) mile 7, I saw the leaders coming back. I counted they must be about 5 minutes in front of me.

As I approached the turnaround, I tried to count the women ahead of me.  There were two more. We turned around, and I headed back towards the start. At the turnaround, I realized it must be about 6.55 miles, and it was going to be “an out and back.” I was determined to retrace my steps and not get lost again.

Around mile, 9, I grabbed water from a volunteer. I passed the two women and found myself back as first woman overall. By this time, it was getting hot, humid, and I could tell I hadn’t fueled well. I needed Gatorade or something with electrolytes. Since I calculated I would be running four more miles, I knew it would be a long 4 miles.

We went back over the bridge, and it felt like the longest mile. I was running alone, and on the bridge, there was no shade or cloud cover. I ran a 7:03 going over and then 7:19 back.

As I came back over the bridge and onto the path, three geese nearly flew into me. Some construction workers were laughing and then yelled: “you don’t think that’s funny”? I wanted to yell something back but ultimately bit my tongue. No, I don’t think almost getting hit by incoming geese is funny.

I grabbed water around mile 12 and did the final u-turn to get back to the stadium. I knew I still had about 2 miles to go. We recrossed the pedestrian bridge. With the elevation change and u-turn, I ran 7:19 and hit mile 13 right at the stadium. There was an easy way to get back to the start and run 13.1. I could just run the opposite direction, but I figured it would be frowned upon. I began making the long mile around the stadium.

I was still running alone. I saw a few people cheering, which motivated me. I ran a 7:04 and crossed the finish line in 1:39.56 as my watched beeped exactly 14 miles.


I could be mad that I ended up getting lost but my goal was to run 15 miles for the day with 13 at a hard effort. I wasn’t in race mode. I ran the race as hard as I had for the day. By about 10 miles, I was underfueled with electrolytes, running alone, and not out to PR. I’m happy with my effort, and it was nice to get a long run in elsewhere.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. This week I talked about why running shoes are so expensive.  Each week in the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. There are often giveaways as well as discount codes.

Questions for you:

Have you ever gotten lost in a race?

Have you ever been to Harrisburg? 



3 responses

  1. Almost got lost in the Colonial 200 Relay a few years ago. I was running the second leg – about 8 miles and I was looking for the sign that marked the turn. I did not see any signs and started to think I had missed the turn and should turn back. About that time a lone cyclist was riding toward me. I asked him if he had seen any runners ahead and he told me they were about half a mile ahead. But for that cyclist, I would have turned back and run the wrong direction. What a Godsend!

    • Oh geez! I’ve actually been in a similar situation in that area when they had the “Run for the Dream” half marathon from William and Mary.

  2. Ugh sorry to hear about that. I didn’t want to say anything when we were chatting on Instagram because I knew you had already paid and signed up, but they don’t have a great reputation locally for their races. I am glad you got to see some of Harrisburg though!

%d bloggers like this: