29 Half Marathons Later…

April 17 will mark five years since my first half marathon.  It’s hard to believe it’s been that long! I’ve had the most success with the half marathon distance…and we like what we are most successful at right?

Just kidding, I like half marathons because there is enough time to warm up during the race but they aren’t neverending like a marathon.  Thinking out loud, the training for a half doesn’t consume you.  If you have a bad half, you can recover quickly and race again relatively soon.

Until I compiled this list, I had no idea how many I had actually run so I hope I didn’t forget any.

Beginning of the race (20k and half starters)

2011: 
April 2011 Plattsburgh (1:41) PR
April 2011 Flower City (Rochester) 1:39 PR
May 2011 Run for the Dream (Williamsburg, VA) 1:36.56 PR

At my very first half marathon, April 2011
At my very first half marathon, April 2011
2012: 
March 2012 Shamrock (VA Beach) 1:33.29 PR
April 2012 Plattsburgh (1:27.17) PR and Win
April 2012 Flower City (1:29)
May 2012: Run to the Sun (Watertown, NY) 1:33 Win
May 2012 ZOOMA Annapolis (1:31)
Sep 2012: Turning Stone Utica (1:33.33) 2nd Female

mewinning123

2013: 
Feb: Lake Effect (1:31)
March: Shamrock (1:25.15) PR
April: Nike Women’s DC (1:24.49) PR
May: Run for the Dream (1:28) Win
Sep: RnR VA Beach (1:28.39)
Sep: Scallywompus (San Antonio) 1:28.30 Win

With the famous dadLOLZ
With the famous dadLOLZ
2014: 
Feb: Lake Effect (1:25.32) Win
March: Shamrock (1:25.29)
April: April Fools (1:23.23) PR
May: NJ half (1:28)
May: Run for the Dream (1:31)
Nov: Harbor Lights 1:41 **Training Long Run

Harbor Lights Half Marathon 1

2015: 
Mar: Shamrock half (1:33.04) *Injured
Aug: RnR Va Beach (1:31)
Oct: Runners World (1:28)
Oct: RnR Philadelphia (1:25.45)
Nov: Philadelphia half (1:25.00)

Runners World Half

2016: 
Jan: Carlsbad (1:22.57) PR
March: Shamrock Half (1:26.50)
April: April Fools Half (1:24.04) Win

Some random fun facts:

Hottest: Scallywompus

This might be the only one I raced in just a sports bra.
This might be the only one I raced in just a sports bra.
Coldest: Lake Effect 2013

And maybe the only race I wore pants in...
And maybe the only race I wore pants in…

Worst Weather: Shamrock 2016: Pouring rain, 40 degrees, and windy
Shamrock

Best Swag:

  • Scallywompus gave out a huge growler for winning.
  • Run to the Sun gave out wine tour tickets.
  • I think in general the best race swag comes from the Shamrock races.  On top of a t-shirt, medal and four free beers they typically give out an additional item.  It’s been anything from a hoodie to towel to blanket.

Best logistics: Any race that I don’t have to take a bus or shuttle. (This probably includes all of the smaller ones).  For the amount of racers, most of the RNR have been good. The only race I didn’t care for the logistics were Nike Women’s, but I am not a city person, and DC overwhelmed me.

Best Value: If you register early you receive a lot for the Shamrock races.  There is lots of food, beer, heating and everything you could want in a race.

Worst Value: Carlsbad.  I found the race to be poorly organized, and there wasn’t a heck of a lot for the price of the race.  Since it was 120+, it was expensive.  I don’t race for “free things” but the race was unorganized as well.

Biggest: Nike Women’s DC (15,000), RnR Philadelphia, RnR VA Beach

RnR Virginia Beach
#TBT to when my husband wasn’t in shape and ran my pace…now he is too fast😉
Smallest: Run from the Sun (Probably around 300-400 racers?)

My brothers, dad and I all ran it before my college graduation.
My brothers, dad and I all ran it before my college graduation.
Best On Course Aid: Shamrock, Nike Women’s, RnR.  (The pricier ones)

Worst On Course Aid: Run to the Sun: It was a smaller race, but it was hot, and you end up in the middle of cornfields and don’t know if you are going the correct way.  I distinctly remember being thirsty during the race, and that doesn’t happen often.

Coolest Medal:  Lake Effect 2014 or RnR Va Beach

**Nike Women’s gave out a Tiffany and Co Necklace, but I haven’t worn it.  It’s not for me honestly.

Most Zoned Out: Shamrock 2014 or 2016 Where did this race go?  In the blink of an eye, I was done.  

“Felt like it was never going to end”: Turning Stone Half Marathon and NJ half marathon

Both races I had stomach issues.  I stopped to use the bathroom during the Turning Stone half, and I felt like I was going to projectile vomit red velvet cake during the NJ half.

Nj half race
But you can’t even tell I’m about to voms
Overall Favorite Races:

  • Shamrock 2013 It was a lot of fun to watch my dad run the full marathon, hang out with my friends, I Pred and the race is fabulous.  Shamrock 2014 and Lake Effect this year are very close runner ups
  • Nike Women’s Half because I wasn’t expecting a PR.
  • April Fools half 2014 because it gave me the confidence that my fitness was still there.
  • April Fools half 2016 because I redeemed myself from my Shamrock and I didn’t talk myself into a negative race.  The weather was awful, but I got over it.nikerunning

Regretable Races: Shamrock 2015.  It’s the only race I ran injured, and it wasn’t a smart decision.  It set me back in recovery.

States Raced in: NY, VA, TX, MD, NJ, PA (also DC)

Placements/Awards:

I’ve won 6 (Plattsburgh 2012, Run from the Sun, Run for the Dream 2013, Scallywompus, Lake Effect 2014, April Fools 2016)

Winning my very first goal race: Plattsburgh
Winning my very first goal race: Plattsburgh
I’ve placed second or third in 5

I’ve come in places 3-10 in: 7 (My most notable is 9th in Nike Women’s)

And most half marathons I’ve had no placements at all.  

Debut half marathon:  The Plattsburgh half marathon in April of 2011.  I didn’t know what to expect honestly.  With less than a full year of running and never having done more than 10 miles beforehand, I had no idea what to expect! I took it out at a pace that seemed maintainable, and it was.

Hilliest:

  • Flower City (2014)
  • Run for the Dream. I would honestly say that Run for the Dream felt a little harder, but that is because it’s also hot and humid.
    Finishing on the track
    Finishing on the track
  • Runners World (Curse you Bart)
    Still one of my favorite photos of Allison and I
    Still one of my favorite photos of Allison and I

Most Surprising time: Lake Effect Feb 2014

Most Surprising placement: Nike Half Marathon I was 9th overall.  It was not expecting to PR and honestly wasn’t even sure I was going to go all the way to DC alone to race.  It was at the peak of my anxiety, and I’m so glad I did.

Worst Chafing:

  • Flower City 2012 (cotton top…armpit chaffing)
    I raced in a men's cotton top.
    I raced in a men’s cotton top.
  • Shamrock 2014 (thigh chaffing was awful)
  • Run for the Dream 2014: (Thigh Chafing)
  • Shamrock 2016 (Heather can validate)

Questions for you:

Have you run any half marathons?  How many?

What is your favorite racing distance?

Dropping 9 minutes from my Half Marathon Time

From September until January, I’ve managed to drop about 9 minutes from my half marathon time.  I’ve run five half marathons and progressed in each.  Training has had highs and lows, but every training plan and training cycle does.

September: RnR Virginia Beach (1:31.48)
October 17: Runners World Half (1:28.13)
October 31: RnR Philadelphia half (1:25.45)
November 17: Philadelphia half (1:25.00)
January 17: Carlsbad half (1:22.57)

Before recently my half marathon PR was a 1:23.23 (from April 2014). It was on an easy course on a beautiful day.  The April Fools half in 2014 was a race everything clicked.  After that race, I never had one that came close.  I was injured, focused on a full marathon and by the time I knew it, it was over a year later.

After beginning to train this previous May, I started to build my base.  I was coming off of an injury as well as hadn’t run a lot.  It wasn’t smart for me to add speed, mileage and race a half.

From May until July, I added mileage and raced once a week.  I saw slow progression in races but not a lot of racing progress, I was running between 20-20:30, 5ks.  I raced most weekends and kept my mileage between 55-65.  I saw improvements, but it wasn’t as fast as I would have liked.

In July, I began adding one-speed workout weekly. A couple of my favorite workouts include:
4×1 mile repeats with 90 seconds rest
12X400s with 1-minute rest

In September, I raced my first half marathon in over a year.  I had run two since but both were done as an enjoyable training run.  Running in Virginia around Labor Day, is hot, and this was no exception.  Since it was my first half marathon I raced healthy in 18 months; I had no idea what to expect.  I ran a 1:31.48 which I was happy with.  It was a solid gauge for my fitness.

RnR Virginia Beach

In October, I ran the Runners World Half Marathon.  I was an invited blogger to the race series, and I ran both the 5k and 13.1.  While there was a trail race and 10k, I was not comfortable racing all of them because I’m so injury prone, and it was too much for me personally.  After running my first sub 19 5k in a while, I ran the half in 1:28.13.  It was about a 3-minute improvement, but the course was difficult, and I had raced the day before.  I knew I had room to improve.

Runners World Half

Three weeks later, I ran RnR Philadelphia.  Unfortunately, I was becoming sick with a reaction from an antibiotic.  (I’ve never had issues with antibiotics until then).  It was a reaction that took it’s toll on me for about two months. 

The race course and weather were perfect, and you could not have asked for a better day.  I ran a 1:25.45 which was a 3-minute improvement. In fact, the conditions were so optimal over 40 athletes qualified for the Olympic Trials that day!  At the time, I had no idea what was going on, but I felt my stomach the entire time.  I knew I could run faster when I felt better.

RnR Philadelphia
RnR Philadelphia
As November continued, I also ran the Philadelphia Half Marathon.  Despite the race also being in Philadelphia, it was on a much harder course on a much more difficult day.  It was windy, cold and the elevation was challenging.  I took the race out too fast and paid the price but still improved by about 45 seconds.  I ran 45 seconds faster on a much harder course after taking the race out too fast.  My stomach issues were also still lingering.

me running philadelphia

After Philadelphia, I continued with speed workouts and races.  Between October and December, I raced almost every weekend.  The races weren’t meant to be PRs, and I knew that they were however, great speed workouts.  I had some awful races, some good races and I slowly began inching towards my 5k PR.  While I wasn’t Pring, I was getting quality workouts and races.  It built my speed and endurance.  It took me a long time to lose speed, and it wasn’t going to come overnight.

On January 1st, I surprised myself with a 5k Pr of 18:22.  Not only was it a PR but it was 13 seconds faster than my Pr over two years ago.  It was also 25 seconds faster than my recent previous 5k.  It showed me my fitness was where I was hoping and gave my confidence for the Carlsbad half.  I also ran it in a dress.

Thank you Ally for this photo
Thank you, Ally, for this photo
Finally, I ran the Carlsbad half on January 17th and ran a 1:22.57.  The course was much hillier than anticipated.   It was no means a perfect day, but I felt good and ran 2 minutes faster than Philadelphia and almost 30 seconds faster than my PR in April 2014.  It wasn’t perfect conditions, and I do believe I have a faster half on flat terrain.

So what can I relate my progress in the half from?

  1. Consistently running and consistently racing. When I first started running races every weekend, I never expected to PR or be close to my PR.  It was a way to run speed work as well as see my friends and local runners.  Consistently racing for six months was consistently having speed work.
  2. Patience: Patience is a virtue I don’t have. Every high had a low, and I knew if I consistently trained, I would indeed PR eventually.  It was something I reminded myself often when I had a bad race.
  3. Fewer miles and more speed. There was no need to do 20 mile long runs; I’m not training for a marathon or longer race.  I ran a few 15-mile training runs, but I didn’t run more than 12 most of the time.

What is next?
I don’t know!  I’m going to wait until February (and the winter) is over to decide what to train for.  I do believe I have a faster half marathon right now (but don’t we all?).

Questions for you:
When was your last PR?
What is your favorite speed work?

 

Training: From Highs to Lows to Turkeys…

In summary, this week went from a low to a high and back down to a low.

I woke up on Monday extremely sore. I decided it was better if I took the day off instead. I also got a deep tissue massage.

Tuesday was just an easy run. I still felt sore.

Workout Wednesday: Normally on Wednesdays I do a workout. Whether it’s 400 or mile repeats, I do something. I had a lot of things to do on Wednesday, and my motivation was at a low. I realized there was a 5k on base, and since I had no motivation anyways, I decided just to run it. To be honest, if I hadn’t, I doubt I would have done any speed. It was windy, and I had heavy legs, but I was still able to run a 19:23 which I’m very happy with.

A turkey that I won
A turkey

Thursday and Saturday I ran easy and Friday I rested.

On Sunday, I ran the Philadelphia Half Marathon. I finished in 1:25 which is a progression from where I have been racing…however, to be honest, I’m disappointed with the race. If I ran a better race, I might have been faster. In summary, I ended up running an 18:59 first 5k, 39:21 10k and then slowed down a lot. You can’t race a half marathon like a 5k I guess. Bad races are all part of the game and I’ll have a recap of it sometime this week.

A perfect summary to the last 10 miles of my race
A perfect summary to the last 10 miles of my race
Monday: Rest and Deep tissue massage
Tuesday: Easy Run
Wednesday: Base 5k (19:23) Core
Thursday: Easy Run
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Easy Run
Sunday: Philadelphia Half Marathon (1:25.00)
Total mileage: 59 miles

Thoughts:

I’m disappointed with how Philadelphia went. Unless it’s a marathon, there are very few races I’ve wanted to be over as soon as possible.   It caused my week of training to end on a sour note. At the end of the day, I’m healthy and injury free and that is definitely the most important part.  Looking back I can see my legs were heavy and tired the majority of the week.  That probably played a role in Philadelphia as well.

With Thanksgiving next week, my training will be scattered but I’m honestly not that concerned. I’ll do a turkey trot or two for speed workouts.

This week was all over the place from highs to lows to turkeys…

Questions for you:
Have you had a bad race recently?
How are you planning to cook your Thanksgiving Turkey?

Run for the Dream Half Marathon (1:27.53)

I went into the Run for the Dream half marathon as last years overall female winner.  It was the race I broke the tape at for the first time last year.  This year despite being about a minute faster I was the 3rd woman to cross the finish line. 

I guess that must be how Shalane felt after Boston.  She ran a personal best (for me it was a personal best on the course…not half PR) but there were faster people that showed up that day.  Granted I didn’t have the weight of the US running community on my shoulders but unless you’re Jeptoo then chances are there are faster people then you.  They can show up to any race.  I won’t lie that it was hard to experience that first hand but every race teaches you something.  I still had an incredible time and I think Run for the Dream is one of the best and most well organized races I add to my schedule every year.

Tim drove me to the starting line and we had a lot of extra time.  (This barely ever happens). I chatted with several people and by the time I knew it, I found myself runderwear ready and it was time to race.

timandi1

The race started and I found myself immediately third female overall.  I was running faster then I was comfortable at (and I knew there were a ton of hills towards the second half of the course).  My first mile I ran with a few males and we chatted a bit.  When I hit the mile 1 at 6:14 all I could think was that was dumb real dumb.

elevationchart
Course elevation chart from LOLZ garmin

After the first mile, hills began and I was also dropped by everyone around.  By the second mile I had a clearing of .25 miles in front of me and .25 miles after me.  I was running in a half mile space of no mans land the entire time.  (A couple of spectators even said “how unfortunate”. It was okay on the road because I could see people up ahead as well as spectators…but unfortunately that was not the case on the trails and woods.

Mile 2 I hit at 6:29 and mile 3 at 6:26.  I was already feeling the effects of the hills and it didn’t help that I was running all by myself. To me it felt like my own personal tempo run.  It became mentally challenging for the last 10 miles.  It’s never good when you break up a half marathon as the first 5k and the last 10 miles.

Until around mile 5 we were on pavement.  It was somewhere between mile 5 and 6 that we went into some trails.  They changed the course a bit so when I headed down the trails, I immediately fell even more into my own zone.  I went close to 2 miles without seeing a single other person (not a volunteer nor another racer).  The only reason I knew I was going the right way was because of the mile markers.

I found myself needing a forever alone meme. It was so mentally hard to push myself with no spectators and no other racers in sight.  Each water stop gave me a burst of excitement.  I thought about clever things to say at each one.  (I forgot about 90% of them before getting to a water stop).

I just kept trying to tick off the miles.  I found myself looking at my watch a lot more than usual.  I failed to mention that in these woods was the biggest hill.  Mile 9 hit 6:59 and I was going into cardiac arrest climbing up the hills.  I was able to see a spectator and volunteer at the top of the largest hill.  He said good job and the water stop was coming up.  I dry heaved thank you.  I think I could probably have gotten a role as Darth Vader’s twin.

Sadly that water stop didn’t come until mile 10.  I found the human interaction of the water stop the best of anything.  It provided me with Gatorade, some side fives and quick banter.

Mile 11 and mile 12 I spent just focusing towards the end.  Around mile 12, I noticed another female beginning to catch me.  Before entering the track myself, I heard them announce the overall female winner.  You could hear the announcer from about mile 11.5 onward.  That was about 10 minutes of wishing I was laying down on the track past the finish line.

runforthedreamhalftrack

Finally we entered the track for the final 400.  If you have ever run a half marathon where the final 400 is on track…then you understand the pain.  I saw the female catching me…all I could think was…I’ve just run close to 12 miles alone and I’m going to lose a place in the last 400.  I dropped the last 400 at 5:38 pace.

runforthedreamhalf

I was so proud to cross the finish line as third woman overall.  I was then surprisingly greeted by both my mom and dad as well as Tim.

myparentsandi

Cliff notes:

It was mentally tough to accept that faster people showed up that day.  My time was a minute faster then last year but I was higher in places.  I’m not upset and I think I ran an honest race.  It was certainly a new experience to race close to 12 miles by yourself and 6 miles not even seeing anyone else.  Every race has a new experience though.  No more half marathons until (probably)Rock and Roll VA Beach August 31st.  Time to get these ostrich legs a higher turnover.

The Run for the Dream half marathon is one of my favorites .  It has been well organized every time I’ve run it (3 our of 4 years it’s been held).  (No they didn’t pay me to say that).

Questions for you:

Have you ever raced by yourself?

What is the hardest course you’ve run?

This half marathon is a pretty strong contender.  The Flower City half marathon or Turning Stone half marathon (both in NY) are also not pancake flat.

May Training

My training this May was all over the place.  I characterize it into two periods.  The first was finishing my month of rest from the Atlantic City half marathon.  After the Broad Street 10 miler, I took a few days to recover and began marathon training (phase 2).  My marathon training for the next month isn’t really all that different.  I’ve added an additional day of running weekly which has bumped my mileage back into the 70s.  I’ve been trying to get comfortable with running 16 mile long runs in hopes to eventually bump that up to 17, 18, 19 and 20.

Total miles: 297 (no I didn’t feel like running 3 extra miles the night before my half…not worth it)

Total rest days: 7

Total races: 4

Broad Street 10 miler (1:05.20)

merunningbroadstreet

St. Pauls 5k (19:52)

Medford Lakes 5k (19:24)

Run for the Dream half (1:27.53) recap tomorrow possibly (spoiler: the last 400 is on the track)

runforthedreamhalf

Shortest run: 1.7 mile cooldown from Medford Lakes

Longest run: 16.25 mile long run

Range of paces: 6:02-9:58

Most proud run: In training my most proud run goes to my 16.25 long run I did last week.  I’m not in a point in my training that any long run feels great and I really pushed hard (mentally and physically) to finish.

Thoughts:

This month went well.  I don’t have any complaints.  My body is responding how it should with bumping up my mileage.  I’m tired.  My pace has slowed on runs due to heat, humidity and adding extra mileage.  It doesn’t frustrate me because honestly that’s what happens.  While I did take more rest days then I would have liked the last week, my body needed it.  My legs were breaking down and needed a lot more recovery.  It’s a good wake up call for me that your body is not invincible and you cannot get better without proper rest and recovery.

June goals:

I would really like to make that bump and leep of faith over 300 miles again.  I have a couple more races planned this month:

June 7th Scott Coffee Rotary 8k (Moorestown, NJ)

June 14th: CHKD 8k (Norfolk, VA)

Questions for you:

How was May for training?

What is on your schedule in June?

Atlantic City Half Marathon (1:23.23)

This was exactly an 86 second half marathon PR for me and the first PR I’ve gotten since July (technically I got 3 I guess).  After having a frustrating Shamrock race last month, I was looking for redemeption.  I was really hoping that Atlantic City would be that half.  Anyways-

Tim promised that we could stay overnight in Atlantic City.  I didn’t want to drive 2 hours before an “A” race.  I wanted to relax and walk to the starting line (or even driving 15 minutes would be fine too..I didn’t want to drive from my house race day though).  So we splurged and stayed down in Atlantic City.

The race started at 8 am, which happens to be one of my favorite race starting times.  We headed to the race and after finding baggage we headed towards the starting line.  (The mile walk to the start was a good enough “warm up” for me).

At the starting line they were playing one of my favorite songs.  The first row of males were clearly elite.  They were serious…they were in the zone.  The second row of mostly elite runners were also in the zone…except for me I was dancing because it was my jam.  I did manage to “look serious” for the race start so I wouldn’t photobomb the actual first row.

I chatted with Lauren for a bit (who ended up winning female overall!). During the first mile I was just trying to gauge how I was feeling.  I felt really good (apparently) because my first mile was a 6:11.  That was faster than last weeks 5 mile race.

The course was out and back.  With the exception of some wind, it is a fast course.  With many spring coast half marathons, the hardest factor could be the wind (like Shamrock 2013).  While it was windy from mile 5-9, I didn’t find the wind as challenging as other half marathons though (The race was on the boardwalk for the majority of the time).

The second and third mile went by rather quickly.  I found myself in a lady pack with two other women (Lauren, myself and another woman).  There were also two cyclists beside us.  I have to admit the Atlantic City half really knows how to make you feel like a Rockstar.  We ran the majority of the race together.

I hit the 5k in 19:27.  That is the fastest 5k I have run since possibly last summer.  Somewhere after the 5k, a male joined our 3 woman lady pack.  He expressed he was quite upset that people where cheering “great job woman, ladies, ect”.  He wanted some great jobs too!  After hanging around for a couple of miles he left and surged forward. I was sad because he was a little more chatty.

Around mile 5 we left the boardwalk and went onto the Atlantic City streets.  It reminds me a lot of VA Beach.

While in the streets, we could see the overall males coming back towards us.  They were seriously cruising and I knew by the look on their faces that it was probably rather windy coming back.

I hit the 10k mark at 39:04 (which is a 10k PR for me too).  Between the 10k and half way mark, I grabbed some water that I spilled half of it on me and probably everyone around me.

I hit the halfway point in exactly 41:45.  Right before the halfway I  saw the male that had previously run with us.  I chanted “Great job man” as loud as I possibly could…he seemed happy.

As we turned around I noticed how windy it was.  It was a cross wind so it wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t enjoyable either.  At this point I realized how toast my legs were.  Luckily we started to see other people going the opposite direction so it was motivating.  The lady pack ended up dropping to just Lauren and myself.  Without her I don’t think I would have held on for as long as I did.

Around mile 9 we headed back onto the boardwalk.  Mile 9 was my slowest mile at 6:29.  At mile 9 I began to wonder if I could maintain this pace.  Would the wheels fall off…I felt awful and 4 miles seemed like a really long time.  I just kept going though and I was still hanging on with Lauren.  I also saw Victoria and gave her a side five!  I had been looking for her for about a mile and was hoping I didn’t miss her.  I needed something (besides my legs) to focus on.

(at the end)
(at the end)

At mile 10 I delayered my dollar tree gloves.  Mile 10 is normally a good mile for me because I remind myself that (hopefully) I have about 20 minutes left.  I can do it.  Today, I was getting tired and worn out. I hit the 10 mile mark at 1:03.10.

Mile 11 was when Lauren began her kick.  I knew at that point she would win the race.  I did not have anything in me to keep up.  I wish I could tell you I did but I gave everything to that race.  I was struggling to stay where I was at let alone hammer down.  I ran 11 at 6:17 and began the long mile home solo.

When I saw mile 12, I knew the end was near.  Though I was running by myself at this point I just focused on finishing.  It could have been the longest 7 minutes of my life.  (Think 7 microwave minutes).

When I crossed the finish line I nearly ran into the people passing out medals.  I am glad I didn’t finish with anyone else around because I probably would have toppled over.

After grabbing a medal, I sat down and just relaxed in the moment.  It was nice to watch several finishers come in and be announced.  I was hoping for a PR and I’m glad I was able to finally achieve that.  Sunday was a perfect day for a race.  I had been on the fence to run either the CGI Love Run (Philly) last weekend or the Atlantic City half marathon but I am so glad (weather wise) that I went for this one.  You could not have asked for a better day.  I had a great time and am glad to finally log a new PR.  (something I haven’t done since my 5k PR in July).

Cliff notes: In summary this race was exactly what I wanted.  A new PR, a great time and an even better end to that week.  I can back with a 10k PR (39:04), a 10 mile PR (1:03.10) and of course a half marathon PR.  (1:23.23).  I should probably do other distance races to work on my other PRs. 

Questions for you:

What is your optimal race temperature?

Have you ever run in a pack with people the entire race?

I thought it was fun.  I just wish I had more people to chat with; it made the miles go by so slow.

 

My Half Marathon Journey

Half marathons are my favorite race distance.  I don’t really have an exact reason why but I have had the most success with the half marathon distance… We like what we are most successful at right?  So I guess I truly believe the reason I love half marathons so much is that I’ve had so much success with them.  There is enough time (for me) to get warmed up and race (5 and 10ks are so short) but neverending like marathon.

I’ve raced a lot of half marathons.  I often forget them all but let me try.   Until I actually compiled this list, I had no idea how many I had actually raced.  I’ve raced a couple of 20ks too but these are all the half marathons.

April 2011 Plattsburgh (1:41) PR
April 2011 Flower City (Rochester) 1:39 PR
May 2011 Run for the Dream (Williamsburg, VA) 1:36.56 PR

Run for the Dream half 2011(Williamsburg) 1:37
Run for the Dream half 2011(Williamsburg) 1:37

March 2012 Shamrock (VA Beach) 1:33.29 PR
April 2012 Plattsburgh (1:27.17) PR and win
April 2012 Flower City (1:29)
May 2012: Run from the Sun (Watertown, NY) 1:33 Win

Myself, dad and my oldest brother Doug
Myself, dad and my oldest brother Doug

May 2012 ZOOMA Annapolis (1:31)

At ZOOMA...
At ZOOMA…This might be my only centered bib ever

Sep 2012: Turning Stone Utica (1:33.33)
Feb 2013 Lake Effect Syracuse (1:31)
March 2013 Shamrock (1:25.15) PR
April 2013 Nike Women’s DC (1:24.49) PR

nikerunning
May 2013 Run for the Dream (1:28) Win
Sep 2013 RnR VA Beach (1:28.39)

lauraheatherandi
Sep 2013 Scallywompus (San Antonio) 1:28.30 Win
Feb 2014 Lake Effect (1:25.32) Win
March 2014: Shamrock (1:25.29)

Some random fun facts:

Hottest: Scallywompus

Coldest: Lake Effect 2012

merussianhat

Best Swag: Scallywompus gave out a huge growler for winning.  Also Run from the Sun gave out wine tour tickets so that is definitely a bonus.  I think in general the best race swag comes from the Shamrock races though.  (That is why I keep coming back).  I cannot remember the item from 2012 (edit: It was a sweatshirt!) but last year we got a blanket and this year was a towel.  (On top of a tshirt and medal and four free beers)

lolz
lolz

Best logistics: Any that I can physically park near the start or finish.  (This probably includes all of the smaller ones).  For the amount of racers Shamrock is very good at parking and logistics too.  Actually any of the races except for DC have been great logistics wise.  The only race I didn’t care for the logistics were Nike Women’s but I am not a city person.

Biggest: Nike Women’s DC  (15,000)

Smallest: Run from the Sun (Probably around 300-400 racers?)

Best On Course Aid (water, fueling, ect): Shamrock, Nike Womens, RnR.  (The pricer ones)

Worst On Course Aid: Run from the Sun had 2 water stations and you end up being in the middle of nowhere without a single person in sight.  There were several times I hoped and preyed I was going the right way because I really didn’t know.

Coolest Medal:  Lake Effect 2014 or RnR Va Beach

Most Zoned Out: Shamrock 2014.  Where did this race go?  In the blink of an eye I was done.

**Nike Women’s gave out a Tiffany and Co Necklace but I haven’t worn it.  It’s not for me honestly.

Overall Favorite Race: Shamrock 2013 .  It was a lot of fun to watch my dad run the full marathon, hang out with my friends, I PRed and the race is fabulous.  Shamrock 2014 and Lake Effect this year are very close runner ups.

Least Favorite: While I don’t have a least favorite or any I regret doing, The Turning Stone half was pretty miserable.  Also Run for the Dream 2012, my ipod broke at the starting line.  The race was hot, hilly and it was the first race EVER that I did without music.  (It is the reason I no longer race with music and haven’t since).

So glad t have finished this one.
So glad to have finished this one (Turning Stone).  This smile is a dirty lie…or the smile of I’m going to the casino now.

States Raced in: NY, VA, TX, MD (also DC_

Placements/Awards:

I’ve won 5 (Plattsburgh 2012, Run from the Sun, Run for the Dream 2013, Scallywompus, and Lake Effect 2014)

Finishing Plattsburgh
Winning Plattsburgh 2012

mebreakingtape1

I’ve placed second or third in 3.

I’ve come in places 3-10 in: 5 (My most notable is 9th in Nike Womens)

And I’ve had multiple half marathons with no placements at all.

Debut half marathon:  The Plattsburgh half marathon in April of 2011.  I didn’t know what to expect honestly.  With less than a full year of running and never having done more than 10 miles beforehand I ran with friends.  I took it out at a pace I thought that seemed maintainable and it was.  I felt so confident crossing the finish line that I could achieve more.

Hilliest: Either the Flower City Half marathon in Rochester or the Run for the Dream half marathon in Williamsburg.  They both have long rolling hills.  I would honestly say that Run for the Dream felt a little harder but that is because it’s also very hot and humid.

One of my first half marathons (Flower City, Rochester).  I was in the top 10 with a time of 1:38 and I was proud...on another note that top gave me the worst chaffing I've ever had in my life.
One of my first half marathons (Flower City, Rochester). I was in the top 10 with a time of 1:38 and I was proud…on another note that top gave me the worst chaffing I’ve ever had in my life.

Most Surprising time: Lake Effect Feb 2014.  I was absolutely not expecting that time at all.

lakeffectwin

Most Surprising placement: Nike Half Marathon I was 9th overall.  It was not expecting a PR either.

Worst Chaffing: Flower City 2012 (bad top…armpit chaffing) or Shamrock 2014 (thigh chaffing was awful).

Regrettable Races: Although I didn’t have the most desirable race at Turning Stone, I’ve fully enjoyed each race.  I don’t regret any races I have ran because I have learned from each one.

Questions for you:

Have you run any half marathons?  How many?

What is your favorite racing distance?