Movie Madness 13.1 Recap (That turned into 14 miles)

me running harrisburg

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? 



  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!

    1. 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!

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