Well, it’s about time isn’t it?
Holy smokes. Really, it’s already been two weeks since my big Runner’s World weekend extravaganza. I can’t believe it. I also can’t believe I haven’t written my recap about the best race ever. What is wrong with me?
Wait, don’t answer that.
I won’t even bore you any sweet spaghetti squash or kabocha squash pictures right now. Just this one because filling up this jar with creamy dreamy ice cream (and a few other goodies) was just that exciting tonight.
Hmmmmm, where to begin? If you missed the other recaps, you can check them out here:
Okay, so back to the night before the race……
It was a long day Saturday as I had run both the 5K and the 10K that morning. I rested for the a bit in the afternoon before we headed back to the expo and to a pre race dinner. While at the expo I met Robert who was the pacer for the 1:30 group.
I told him I was going to do my best to keep up. I’m sure he was thrilled.
I also had a second chance to try to take a better photo for my magazine cover since the first one looked like this.
It came out a little better with the arrow placement. Ha ha.
Afterwards my new FitFluential friends and I headed to the special pre race dinner.
It was my first time ever going to a special pre race dinner. I usually consume an entire whole wheat veggie pizza without cheese on my own the night before a race.
It was a good change though. They even had some crushed red pepper which I’m pretty sure was just for me.
I had some Cholula and nutritional yeast in my purse, but we were sitting with editors and I was trying to impress editor John Atwood and Bart Yasso so I decided to not fly my freak flag for the evening and keep my goods hidden in my purse.
At dinner we got the opportunity to meet Matt Long.
Then after dinner we got to listen to his amazing, inspirational story about the long road to becoming an elite athlete again after a horrific accident. I promise to share more on his story later because it’s just that empowering and I bought an extra little something something to give to one of you. Hint hint.
Okay, so race day morning.
It was a good thing I brought 6 pairs of Pro Compression socks since my race outfit changed at the last minute.
Good thing I had those socks to match.
Good thing I can cook oatmeal and make coffee in less than 5 minutes in my hotel room.
I even had a few extra minutes in the lobby to force someone to take a picture of me. How convenient.
I like to fuel up on the go.
Katherine and her boyfriend, Tappan, drove a group of us to the race.
This time we braved the port a potty lines since there were no other bathrooms in sight.
Have I mentioned before that I love Mizuno?
We made our way to the actual start line with about 15 minutes to spare.
Everything was really well marked. It wasn’t too crowded and it was easy to make our way to our various pace groups.
I thought I’d challenge myself and try to maintain a 7:00 min mile pace. I looked for my man Robert, but found a little someone else instead.
I thought I’d just cozy right up to Shalane since we had met a couple days prior and in my head we hit it off just fabulously. She was just out for a little training run and was going to run an “easy” 7:00 minute mile pace. I decided I wanted to run along side of an Olympic athlete for as long as I could during the race.
I gave myself a little pep talk while trying to maintain my cool and chat up my new best friend a bit. Then I closed my eyes, said my little prayers of thanks and decided I was going to give it my all. Heck, I was across the country, had a big job to do to represent as a FitFluential Ambassador and for goodness sake had to bring home something impressive for STUFT Daddy and the boys since our last texting conversation looked a little like this.
Well, once that start gun went off, that is exactly what I did.
First of all the course was beautiful. Bethlehem is an awesome little town. We got to see all different parts of it. We were downtown for a bit, up by the college, then we went by some parks and some really cute residential areas. I pretty much think I could move there (and work for Runner’s World if they would ever offer me a job).
I didn’t take any pictures along the course because I was in race mode.
I ran side by side with Shalane for the first mile or so. We chatted a bit. when we got to mile 1 and I realized we were running around a 6:47 pace instead of a 7:00 pace I decided that I just might not be able to keep up. I stuck with her up until about mile 2, and then had to slow down a bit.
I have to say, this race was the first race were I was physically uncomfortable pretty much the entire race. I started off fast. Faster than I ever have in a race in fact. It was tough even at the first mile marker, but I just made myself keep going. I was hoping I would catch up to Shalane again or find my pacer friend Robert, but that never happened.
I did my best to keep my head in the race and focus on just keeping my pace. I talked to a few other runners along the way only because I can’t help myself. Plus, everyone was just so darn nice there.
It wasn’t an easy race. It was hilly at the beginning, but then was pretty flat and fast the last few miles thank goodness.
As hard as it was, it felt good to really push myself and to test my limits. I didn’t know what to expect since I hadn’t been training hard and was coming off the Nike Women’s Marathon the week prior, not to mention the 5K and 10K the day before. I didn’t have huge expectations going in, but thought I’d go all out to see what I could do.
When my body wanted to slow down I just kept telling myself that it I could do it. Just one foot in front of the other.
Why hold back when there is an amazing opportunity to prove yourself right in front of you?
I actually remember somewhere around mile 9 I thought to myself that I could just slow down to a 10 minute mile pace and still get a pretty decent time. I was tired. I was hungry. Then someone shouted at me that I was one of the top ten ladies and it was on. There weren’t that many other women around be that point in the race. In fact, I don’t remember seeing any others by then except for one around mile 12. When people on the sidelines would say “Yay, a girl!” when I ran by, well, I felt like I had to represent.
I am one lucky lady with one amazing God given gift to be able to run and to run hard. Gosh darn it, I got a PR of 1:30:49.
Oh, that finish line was a very special sight.
I found my man David pretty quickly. He took such great care of all of us all weekend.
Then I finally caught up to Shalane after trying to catch up with her the entire race.
Check out her “easy training run” time.
Hmm… something tells me she’s not 99 years old. Hey look though, I got 9th out of all the women. Yippee!!!
I also found Dean Karnazes at the finish line.
I’ve always wanted to meet him. He was the nicest guy. We talked a little about Boston and the Boston to Big Sur Challenge. Um, yeah, I TOTALLY want to do it. Like I REALLY want to do it. Unfortunately it’s a bit pricey and I can’t afford it, but Dean, if you need a crazy mama who will run her heart out and join the challenge I’m so in!
I met up with Robin who’s a rock star and got PR herself.
It was a bit windy after the race. Luckily they were giving these cool capes away to keep us warm.
Gotta love races with the warmers at the end. Not to mention Clif Bars and Michelob Ultra.
I didn’t partake in the beer drinking as I had a a plane to catch (or so I thought). I did manage to stock up on more than enough Clif Bars though. I showed Tina a thing or two about how to shove as much as possible in a recycled box.
Oh and hey, I finally found my pacer friend Robert also after trying to chase after him 13 miles. I never did catch him on the course, but happen to find him by the beer tent afterwards. Go figure.
The finishers medal was pretty darn fancy. It just might be the best one I’ve ever gotten. Runner’s World sure knows how to treat a race finisher.
Yeah, so I should’ve left right then to go get ready for my flight, but word on the street was that I got an award. Luckily, the wonderful Katherine stuck around with me to find out and take a million and one pictures for me.
I had no idea I was even in the running for this one, but I got second place overall for the Hat Trick over the entire weekend. (The 5K, 10K and half marathon combined.)
Woo hoo! I was hoping Andrew and the boys might be impressed with my new trophy since Andrew keeps threatening to melt my medals and turn them in for money.
I got to go up one more time to claim my award for 2nd place in my age group for the half marathon.
Oh hey, no one else is coming up to claim their award with me? I‘ll just stand here and try to act cool and smile for a bazillion more pictures.
Well, okay, if you gentlemen insist. I guess we can take one more picture of just us.
Yeah, I’m not going to lie, I felt pretty cool about that one and the next one with editor-in-chief of Runner’s World, David Willey.
A huge thank you to Katherine for sticking around with me forever while I got to get my awards.
I got to take home some good hardware to my boys all because of her.
I can’t even express how truly amazing The Runner’s World Festival and Half Marathon was. It was EPIC.
It was the opportunity of a lifetime.
I loved every single thing about it. I have to say too, that for an inaugural event, it was done really well. The expo, events, seminars, parking, the actual races themselves, the beautiful courses, etc.
IT WAS AMAZING!
I can’t wait to go back.
Unfortunately my trip back to CA was not so extravagant and turned out to be 12 hour ordeal complete with lost baggage.
But…… that doesn’t even matter.
This trip and the races gave me a new spark for racing and running. Not only was the event just incredible, but I really challenged myself and pushed as hard as I could for the first time in a race.
I got out of my comfort zone.
I recently heard somewhere that if you’re comfortable, it’s time to step out of your comfort zone.
I was uncomfortable the entire half marathon, but I proved something to myself. I proved that I can set goals and reach them.
I think the same goes for life in general. We’re supposed to get out there and get uncomfortable. Things aren’t easy.
If there’s something out there that you want, but it scares you or makes you nervous, just GO FOR IT!
Things in life should take work. Certain things (goals and dreams) should be hard and entail some commitment and sacrifice. That’s what life’s about, right?
Oh man, I could go on and on here, but I won’t. Not now. I’ll save that for a different post.
For now I’m signing off.
Thank you to YOU for being with me along for the ride, putting up with a bazillion pictures of me and letting me share my adventures.
Thank you to my family for supporting me, making sacrifices and letting me race and live my dreams.
I am so blessed.
Okay, now it’s your turn.
Find something that’s going to make you uncomfortable and go for it. You’ll never know unless you go after it, yes?