52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 29: It’s a mad, mad, Mad Half-Marathon world

I’m scheduled to run a half-marathon in Vancouver on August 11. That’s 25 days from now. Yep, 25 days …

My preparations for this run have been what some might call “erratic” and others might term “crap.” I had good intentions, but an unscheduled trip home to Australia knocked me off course and I haven’t quite managed to get back on. So I decided to just “train” at my own speed rather than sweat the fact I’m not doing pickups every Monday and hill repeats every Thursday. I won’t be fast when I finally run my half, but I’ll finish it eventually. Maybe. Probably.

When the Mad Marathon and Mad Half in the Mad River Valley, Vt., announced a walkers division (genius!), we thought it would be a good experiment. If I can walk a  half-marathon, then my running time should be faster. Right? (This statement may fall under the category of “famous last words.”)

Mad Marathon & Mad Half

At the back from the start. The pack has already pulled way ahead.

No running allowed

I was looking forward to not having the pressure of running hanging over my head at the Mad event. On this day, I was among a select group of people who had chosen dignity over beet-face. We weren’t allowed to so much as think about running or we’d be unceremoniously deposited among the speedy folk and left to fend for ourselves. I was going to be at the back of the pack, but it was by design, so I was down with it.

Mad Marathon & Mad Half


Mile 1: It was weird to see all the runners pull away so fast. But at the same time it was nice to know it wasn’t because I was pathetic. I was using the Walk Tracker Pro app (free from Starbucks!) because a certain someone had borrowed my watch. It told me I was doing 15-minute miles. Yikes. I needed to get a move on if I was going to meet my goal, which incidentally was 3.15-3.30. I saw an older woman in pink shorts ahead of me who was walking and going much faster. Had to catch up with her.

Mile 2: Crap. Giant hill. Giant forbidding, butt-busting hill. Thank goodness I was FORBIDDEN from running it. I picked up my pace and was going like stink (as much as you can go like stink when you’re walking). Pink lady still ahead of me.

Mile 3-4: Wheeeeeeee, downhill. Wait, ouch. OUCH. What the heck? Turns out, walking downhill fast hurts like a… OK, it just hurts. Gained on pink lady though.

Mile 5: Finally caught up with pink lady! We exchanged a few pleasantries and then I left her in my dust. Oops. Walk Tracker Pro was feeding me wildly different (and might I say inaccurate) paces. At one point I was allegedly doing a 9.30-minute mile. Uh, right.

Mad Marathon & Mad Half

The vista was lovely. I had plenty of time to look at it.

Mile 6: I was rather enjoying the scenery but my feet were starting to hurt. This was no average stroll. I noticed there was another uber-fast walker ahead of me. Made it my life’s mission to catch up with her.

Mile 7: My wobbly legs started to rebel. I was hitting the wall. It was a very pretty wall. I tried to eat the Shot Blok I had stashed in my pocket, but couldn’t get the dang packet open. Had to scarf down Jelly Belly sports beans instead. Sweet relief. Uber-fast woman still in my sights but pulling away.

Mile 8-9.5: Another giant hill. Thank goodness I was still FORBIDDEN from running it. I noticed that the marathoners had rejoined us. So, that’s why I was among runners again. And here I thought I was catching up with lots and lots of halfie slowpokes. Moment of superiority fleeting.

Mile 9.5-12: The marathoners went left, I went right and all of a sudden I was alone. Crap, did I go the wrong way? The road started to descend sharply and I really wanted to run. No one would know. My big toes, which had been slamming up against the wall of my shoe for the past two hours, were in agony. Every step was torture. Normally I’d be embracing the downhill, but this was not one of those times. OUCH. Still, despite the toe hell, I didn’t feel too bad. Uber-walker had disappeared though. Life’s mission unfulfilled.

Mad Marathon & Mad Half

Mile 10! You’ll never walk alone? I don’t think so.

Mile 12-13.1: I lost my will. The last mile was rough. I was overtaken by the lead marathoner at about 12.5. Pretty humbling. The uphill finish was the icing on the cake. The heat definitely got the better of me.

Mad Marathon & Mad Half

Covered bridge finish!

Still, I skipped merrily* across the cute covered bridge finish line and even managed a smile as Hubby whipped out his phone to capture the moment.

As soon as I stopped, my toes let out a giant yelp (I swear, I could hear them) and I knew I had done some damage. I’m still trying to figure out just how much.

But despite the pain and the heat and the insane hills, this was the most fun I’d had at a race. (Is it telling that my most enjoyable race was the one in which there was no running involved?) It was a brilliant event all around.

Oh, and I came third overall in the walkers division. (It was a small group, but there were more than three, in case you were wondering.) I figure the fact that I didn’t completely suck made this eligible for my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge.

And somehow a photographer snapped me along the course looking like this:

Mad Marathon & Mad Half

I almost look normal! (Am I walking past a graveyard?)

Mad Marathon & Mad HalfThe event: Mad Half-Marathon
The location: Waitsfield, Vt.
The date: July 7, 2012
My time: 3.01.13 (pace: 13.50)
Hubby’s time: 1.44.51 (pace: 8.00; second in his age group!)
The cause: There was no charity, so we gave $25 to Camp Harbor View (awesome 5K; sadly we missed the cut-off this year)
The T-shirt: Orange tech tee
The aftermath: Bagels, chips, bananas, amazing apple cider

* May not have involved actual skipping.


26 responses to “52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 29: It’s a mad, mad, Mad Half-Marathon world

  1. The distance it rolled along
    Finish very strong
    Now walking halfs all day long

    (Fantastic job on making the the finish line. Now you know what can be done)

  2. You look adorable in that picture – and you certainly LOOK like you are having fun!

    • Ha. Thanks! You know, it WAS fun. I honestly think not running made a huge difference! I feel like now that I understand the distance I might be better equipped to run it in a few weeks. Or I might just need to start a new career as a race walker. 🙂

  3. You guys both rock and you have no idea how much I look forward to reading your race reports. You sound just like me when I started running (but you swear less).

    Do you have any ideas what races you’ll do in November? I might have a crazy idea if you and your hubby are up for an adventure with strangers. My sister and I are putting together a team for Ragnar Relay Vegas – a runcation Nov 9-10. It’s pricey but a blast. (warning: most legs are closer to 10k instead of 5k and some but not all have hills.) You can check out the race at http://www.ragnarrelay.com/race/lasvegas

    • Awwww, you’re so sweet.

      Thanks for the invite!! It sounds amazing and we would be totally up for it normally but Hubby is heading back to Australia that month so I don’t think we can swing it. 😦 Would LOVE to do it though. Yay Vegas! Keep us in mind for the future! x

  4. You look awesome in the picture! Know what should make you feel great? Your walking pace is faster than my running pace. 🙂 HAHAHA!

    • Thanks! So sweet of you to say that about my pic. As for my pace, my running one isn’t that much faster, which makes me wonder whether I should just stick to walking from now on!! Definitely a case for the run/walk. Oh, and you’re doing great, btw! Keep it up. 🙂

  5. Congrats! You look so happy in the pic- like it was a breeze! Good for you 🙂

    • Thank you!! I was surprised at how normal I looked in that photo. I was absolutely killing at that point! Haha. But I think I have the wave and smile move down! 🙂

  6. Saving My Belly Button Ring

    Good for you!! I want to do a half where my only job is to walk. And I am with CJ…..your walking pace is faster than my running pace. Perhaps I should just stick with walking. hahaha Love the pic! So cute and happy. 😉

    • Thanks!! My running pace is pretty slow too! Now I am worried I am going to shame myself by running this upcoming half at a slower pace than I walked this one! Ha. I was really happy with that photo though. My face is a normal color. I was so excited about that! Maybe more than finishing the race itself … 🙂

  7. I love the I-must-reel-the-faster-people-ahead-of-me race strategy, – especially if they’re older women with pink shorts. (c: Nice job!

  8. You SMASHED your goal! Congrats! I hope you got a good mental boost for Vancouver. It helps knowing you’ve completed the distance before, and you can do it again. That’s a great pic too!

    Also, I have had the worst time with Shot Bloks. Luckily, the first (and only) time I tried them I was on a training run, because I had to come to a complete stop on the road and spend five minutes trying to tear into them with my teeth. I stick to GU Chomps and Jelly Belly Sport Beans now!

    • Thanks!! It definitely helped me get a sense of the distance. I feel MUCH better heading into Vancouver, although I have a feeling my time won’t be all that different!

      It’s good to know I’m not the only one who struggles with Shot Bloks. It’s like they’ve been child proofed. And it’s not as though you really want to stop and spend 2 minutes trying to rip the packet open! I’ll definitely stick to the beans from now on. 🙂

  9. I thought the second hill was never going to end. That’s when I thought I got off course because I was only seeing marathoners around me.

    That’s a pretty impressive time for walking the half. And your husbands 8:00 pace on those hills is also really strong. Way to go!

    • That second hill was insane!! I am full of admiration for anyone who managed to run it. So great job!

      Yeah, I was pretty happy with my time. I’d love to try and walk another one and see if I can improve on it. Hubby ran the Mt. Washington Road Race recently so I think he was well prepared for those hills. 🙂

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