Tag Archives: half-marathon

America’s Friendliest Half-Marathon

My running buddy, aka Hubby, has gone from a non-runner/exerciser to an occasional marathoner and frequent half-marathoner in the course of two years. It’s amazing. And when I say frequent, I mean frequent. The American Family Fitness Half-Marathon in Richmond, Va., a couple of weeks back was his 19th half of 2012. I think that deserves a guest post, don’t you? …

This is what happens when you don’t run with a camera! You get a logo.

When you run a race, you always want to do your best, and there are so many factors that come into play as to your results. Shoes, temperature, maladies, crowds, hills (so many hills) … or even if you’ve just made a bad choice on your playlist.

Sometimes, though, in spite of all these things, you are handed a race course that you just want to complement with your best possible run in spite of everything else. I found one of these in Richmond, Va., at the American Family Fitness Half-Marathon. It was a mostly flat course through wide, quiet streets and a scenic park, with a downhill finish – and not just a moderate downhill. No daredevil kid would ever take a go-kart down this without ending up with some part of him in a cast for all his friends to sign.

Speedy Richmond

Richmond is a running city. It is home to a group called Sports Backers, who put on a swag of great events. Among them is the Ukrop’s 10K. This is a race that everyone should run at least once. Given the wave start system – 46 in total – if you were absolutely keen on doing it twice, you could pull off the feat in the same day. You’d just have to pony up for the registration fee two times … or three if you were super keen.

The half-marathon was part of a trifecta of races put on for the Richmond Marathon (marketed as “America’s Friendliest Marathon,” and I will not argue with that). As well as the marathon and half-marathon, there was also an 8K. After the cancellation of the NY Marathon due to Hurricane Sandy, the numbers for the marathon rose by another 1,000. Folks determined to race after all their training. I am sure a few of them will choose Richmond over NYC next year.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 43: My second half-marathon. I’ll drink to that!

I have been known to whine about running. This past weekend, my running was all about wine. It was bound to happen eventually.

Wineglass Marathon

“It’s just a 5K with a 10-mile warm-up.” Heehee.

We had been very excited about the Wineglass Marathon and Half-Marathon in Corning, NY (the town that glass built). Not only was this point-to-point event associated with sparkly adult beverages, it promised a mostly downhill route. That’s right: wine, and hills at the good angle. It was already my favorite run. The fact that it was another half-marathon had somehow managed to escape my addled 5K brain until last week. I really wasn’t prepared for it.

We made the 6.5-hour trek from Boston on Saturday to pick up our goodies at the expo. The organizers were clever. They had orchestrated it so the runners collected their packet in one location and their souvenir wine glass and bubbly (that’s right: wine glasses and bubbly!) at a separate spot, in downtown Corning, thus ensuring a steady stream of people that day onto the main street. Genius.

I knew we had to get up before the roosters the next day to drive, park, and hop on a bus to be shuttled to our respective start lines (me: half; hubby: full—his first!). But that advance knowledge didn’t make it any easier when morning came around, neither did getting smooshed on to a smelly school bus in the dark. (My early-morning grouchiness and anti-school-bus sentiment—I have no nostalgia for American school buses, for obvious reasons—are no reflection on how amazingly well this event was organized. It was brilliant all around.)

Wineglass Marathon

It’s waaaaay too early for this!

The half-marathoners were dropped off at a high school a couple of towns over, where we were ushered into the gym to wait (it was 6.30). It was beyond chilly outside (can you believe it?) so I was grateful for the indoor holding pen even though it was rough on the keister (I realized later there was a huge pile of gym mats outside the door that some people had availed themselves of to take a nap; dang my lack of knowledge of American high schools). By the time we were told to line up at the start, I was ready to sleep for a week. An enthusiastic early-morning runner I will never be. How the heck was I going to stay awake let alone upright for 13.1 miles?

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 37: Rock ’n’ roll ’n’ run ’n’ relay

Rock N Roll Half MarathonRelays, where have you been all my life? I can’t believe this hadn’t occurred to me before: I can get the T-shirt, the medal, and the beer, and I don’t have to run the whole way! Genius.

I experienced this fabulousness first-hand last weekend at the Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon in Providence, Rhode Island. I wasn’t keen on doing another half so soon after the SeaWheeze, so Hubby and I signed up to run the two-person relay. In keeping with the rock ’n’ roll theme, we declared that we would tackle this race in jorts.

Rock n Roll Providence Half-Marathon

Rock ‘n’ finish (uphill) in downtown Providence.

Yes, you read that right. Jorts. We had been looking for the perfect run to send some denim love the way of Jill at JoggingJeans.com, running blogger nonpareil, and this was clearly it. Also, we’re not very rock ’n’ roll, so we needed all the help we could get. The situation clearly called for cut-off jeans.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 35: SeaWheeze recap, aka, does this half-marathon make my butt look big?

It took no less than Lululemon to get me to run my first half-marathon. I guess I was going to have to do one eventually, but I probably would have put it off a while longer had the prospect of running among the Lulu faithful in lovely Vancouver not presented itself.

I forgot, however, that the “Lulu faithful” means predominantly 20-somethings with perfect yoga bodies. And this event brought them all together. Way to make a girl feel as though she doesn’t work out enough. Even though I, um, don’t work out enough. (This fact presented itself at mile 10, but more on that soon.) Oh, and speaking of girls, there were six of us for every guy at the SeaWheeze. Somehow, I don’t think the boys were troubled by it …

SeaWheeze Lululemon Half-Marathon

There were no bibs to sully all the fancy run wear. Instead, we had wristbands and a timing chip for our shoes. The chip featured a picture of Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon. We’re convinced he founded the company for this very reason.

This run was two things. It was a brilliantly organized event (and I’m not saying that because I am currently overwhelmed by brightly colored stretchy fabric), and it was physically the toughest thing I have ever done. It was also the 35th run in my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge. OK, I guess that’s three things.

I wasn’t really sure how to approach the race. If I had been more consistent in my training I probably would have had a sense of how fast I could go out and how my stamina would hold up. But I had never run longer than eight miles, so I pretty much had to wing it. Next time, I’ll be better prepared.

SeaWheeze Lululemon Half-Marathon

The start line was under a giant piece of watermelon. Sticky. How did I manage to capture two people not wearing Lululemon?

Thankfully, it started early (7.30), and Vancouver turned on a magnificent day for us. Sunny but not searing, with a lovely breeze along the water. After the past few months of insanely hot runs in New England, this was a rare treat. Or maybe I’m just – shock – getting used to it.

SeaWheeze Lululemon Half-Marathon

Lots of sea exposure.

When you’ve gotta go …

I began quite slowly, hovering around 12 minutes per mile. I figured if I could keep up that pace for the full 13.1, I’d be very happy. (I walked the Mad Half at a 13.50.) Then at mile three, semi-disaster! I had to, er, go. There was a line-up, and it cost me a good four minutes. Four minutes!

Once I recovered from this unsettling diversion and got back on track, I felt decent. I got through the first 10K in about 1.18. Not bad for me. There were unexpected hills though, so I walked a chunk of it. But at least I wasn’t bothered by the heat. (There’s a first time for everything.)

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I’m about to run the SeaWheeze half-marathon. No, really …

Don’t worry, it’s making me laugh too.

We arrived in Vancouver this morning for the SeaWheeze Lululemon half-marathon (my first half as a runner!) after a three-hour delay late last night in Boston followed by an early-morning delay in Toronto that involved us getting off one plane and on to another. Now I feel like I have jet lag, even though I don’t actually have jet lag. Not a good start.

SeaWheeze Lululemon Half

Goodie bag.

Still, nothing like lovely, temperate (wooo) Vancouver and a Lululemon-themed race expo to cheer you up. I’m partially convinced that now the Lulu overlords have cleverly gathered all the fanatics in one place, they are going to round us up and transport us to a remote Canadian compound where we will be forced to power small countries by running on treadmills and performing hot yoga all day long.

Heaven help the person who shows up tomorrow not wearing Lululemon.

… and they were never heard from again …

Anyway, today we picked up our wristbands (instead of bibs), and lined up to get into the expo so we could buy stuff and line up some more to pay for it. We had received our training shorts in the mail a few months back – which of course I used many, many times* – so there wasn’t a SeaWheeze branded T-shirt. That made me a bit sad. I clearly don’t need a T-shirt, but still, sad.

We did, however, each get a pair of flip-flops by Native Shoes that are very cool.

SeaWheeze Lululemon Half flip-flops

Fish-flops!

The Lulus have clearly put a lot into this event. There was yoga going on outside the convention center, folks giving runners massages, and a dude giving a talk on race nutrition. Tomorrow, we’ll be fed brunch, and then entertained by fun., the band that’s so trendy it needs a period after its name and doesn’t believe in capital letters.

SeaWheeze

Getting ready for hot yoga.

SeaWheeze

Massages, and whale watching.

However, there is one thing hanging over all this festiveness.

It’s my fault, but I’m really not ready for this.

So with that in mind, my goals are simple: finish, and run as often as I can. If I do both of those things, I’ll be thrilled.

Wish me luck!

* May not have used them many, many times.

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 34: Blistering! (And I don’t mean my pace)

I think I’m still traumatized after this past weekend’s double shot of runs, the Shark Weekend 5K in Nahant, MA, and the YuKanRun 5K in Cape Ann, MA. Maybe I am suffering from residual heatstroke that manifests itself in the blocking out of salient yet humiliating details, but both runs have managed to blur into one.

If I hadn’t set myself this insane 52-week challenge, there’s no way I would have been outside exerting myself in such conditions two days in a row, especially when I could have broken a sweat just by standing still. It was my most grueling race weekend ever.

Good thing I am about to run a half-marathon on Saturday. What with the lingering trauma and all …

Shark Weekend 5K

This way for sharks!

These runs weren’t just hot. They were also hilly. Swear-inducingly hilly. I’m normally not allowed to complain about hills, but this is an exception. It was comedy. A hill lurked around every corner, meaning maximum grouchiness and slowpokery on my part, especially during the YuKanRun 5K. About a mile into that one, I expressed myself in a manner not fit for a family blog.

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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

Hilly!

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