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The Montour Trail Half Marathon – A Ranty Recap

While I hesitate to make my return post in such a negative tone, I simply cannot complete this recap without some sort of cynicism towards running today. It was both on my part, and the organizers. Simply put, this race has gone way, way downhill since I first ran it three years ago.

Three years ago this was my very FIRST half marathon. Three years ago the conditions were far from perfect (muggy, rainy and a torrential downpour at mile 10). However, three years ago I was so blown away by the sheer effortlessness of this race that I have continued with distance running. I do not, however, think that the way this race is being managed right now would encourage new runners to continue with the sport.

I’ll get to why I’m so negative in a moment, but first I actually should recap my own experience.

I woke up at 6am, played on my phone in bed until 6:30, and finally managed to get up and get clothed. I didn’t eat anything until 6:50, and scarfed it down when my ride was there at 7. We arrived at The Robinson Town Centre Mall at 7:30, and searched for another friend of ours who was running. This run was not any sort of PR race by any stretch; In truth, it was a training run that we paid for.

When the gun went off (or should I say, the lady yelled “Ready, set, GO!”) we were off. And second to last in the pack. I have NEVER been this far back before, but today I didn’t care. I was in no shape to be running 13 miles, just coming off a week and a half vacation and barely a carb eaten in the days leading up to the race.

This race starts in a mall parking lot. You then run around a half mile out of the mall, down a hill and onto the crushed limestone trail. From there, it is an out and back style course with the turnaround point at mile 7.

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The race all around sucked. If I hadn’t been running and BSing with my friends, this would most certainly be a wash. We incorporate walk breaks into our long runs since it seems to help keep us injury free, and today the humidity and sun was killer. At mile 10 we phoned it in and began walking nearly every mile marker, sometimes at every half mile point. We didn’t care, it was simply TOO hot and all we wanted was our brunch of chicken and waffles at the end.

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2 hours and 55 minutes after the “gun went off”, we crossed the finish. We were first greeted with a lukewarm water bottle and NOTHING else. After a half marathon, I’d appreciate some sort of sustinence. Heck, at that point a piece of bread would have sufficed. Also, no finishers photo. Would it have killed someone to have an iphone out or something? This race hired photographers in the past. Anyways, we kept walking towards the busses back to the starting line.

By the time we reached the mall parking lot, the food for runners was already packed up. That’s right, we made it under 3 hours (the cut-off time for this race), and there was no food left for us to eat. I paid the same amount of money as the people who finished in half my time, where’s my food? I don’t think it’s really that much to ask to have a banana or bagel sitting out for me to grab. In fact, dare I say it’s dangerous for them to NOT have them available?

Keep in mind, we were FAR from the last finishers on the course. After we saw them packing up the food, we were absolutely disgusted. We discussed this being the ‘last time’ we run Montour, and that sealed it. No respect for slow runners. That along with no medal, and I’m sorry …my training runs will best be left as just that, training runs.

Again, I apologize for the sheer negativity in this post ….but I absolutely just hurt for the people who’s half marathon this was their first. It was appaling and poorly mismanaged. I’m not sure what happened with it, but it’s not what it used to be.

The Half Marathon Recap

Miles Today; 13.1

Miles This Week; 18.2

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You may want to sit back, grab a bowl of popcorn and beer, and get comfortable. This is going to be a long and picture heavy post.

This morning I woke up at 6am. Actually, I was awake since 5am but I forced myself to “sleep” until 5:45. I sat on running blogs until 6am when I finally got up. My first order of business was grabbing my coffee. I decided to do some multitasking and drink my espresso in the shower. I know, crazy. I wanted to give the most amount of time between waking up and the race for the coffee to “do it’s thing” ….i.e. clean out the system.

After the quick and actually useless shower, I got ready. I heard thunder as I was getting ready and kind of freaked. I hadn’t planned for rain. Lucky for me though, I had my Solomon jacket. I broke rule number 1 of running and that’s to NOT wear something new on race day. It worked out OK for me but I was a bit worried. I decided on wearing a visor as well, and again, this was a smart decision. I ate a Honey Stinger waffle and was out the door by 6:30.

Pre-soaked, I had no idea what was in store for me this morning.

When I arrived at the mall it was 7am. I was pretty loose actually from doing a bit of “sticking” in the morning, but I decided to take a quick walk around the mall as a test run for the jacket. I actually ended up not using my Spibelt for my gels and instead threw all my gels and phone into the pockets on my jacket. Again, good decision.

It was so dark out, it was almost weird. Before I took my quick walk I made sure to hit up the porta-potties. Again, good decision. This whole post should just be about my good decisions from the day. The lines got SUPER long as it neared 7:45 ….like, I kid you not there were maybe 100-150 people in line. I was super happy I decided to get that out of the way.

I’m not really sure why but I was shocked at the amount of people at this race. I think they said there were around 1500 runners, and for whatever reason I just can’t fathom what that amount of cars looks like. Evidently, it’s this amount.

After my quick walk it was back to my car to sit and warm up a bit. It was a bit windy and sprinkling and I wanted to take in as much heat as I could. As I sat in the car I contemplated not wearing my jacket ….SO glad I did (more on that later).

I lined up at the start around 7:55. The race began a bit after 8, but nothing crazy late. It was actually different that the other races I’ve ran because there was no National Anthem….we just kind of began advancing forward. Weird. But we were off!

The first mile was all down hill. The race begins in the mall parking lot and the first mile leads down to the trail. I tried my best to stay slow going down and not beat my legs up. This part seemed to go by forever though …and when we hit the bottom of the hill I SWORE we had already done 2 miles. Yeah …not even one mile yet.

That’s how the first few miles felt to me. I felt like I was running much faster than I was and that we were farther along than we were. I specifcally remember looking down at my Garmin at the 2nd mile thinking….wait, only 20 minutes? Really?!

After hitting mile 3 was when it finally hit me that I was running a half marathon. Before this I’ve only done a 5k ….I remember thinking “Well, this sucks.”. I didn’t really HATE the fact I was still running, but the fact I still had nine miles to go was not the best thing in the world. Then another thought popped into my mind ….my fueling. I need to drink water with my Clif shots and GU’s, so I had to wait for the first water stop. I didn’t know when it was …but was praying it was soon because I could already feel myself running out of gas.

Mile 4.5 was the first water stop I used. Except, I accidentally grabbed gatorade. Oops? I didn’t want to drink that and my gel, so I just drank the cup and figured the next stop I would take my gel. It was lemon lime gatorade which I ABSOLUTELY HATE, but for some reason it was like nectar of the gods at this point.

Mile 5-6 was when I was feeling really good. After I took my gel around 6.5 I started really chugging along. Getting to mile 7 seemed as if it took forever though. The course is an out and back so you begin to see the elite runners coming back. I kept trying to see where they were coming from and if it was close …but it just kept dragging on and on and on! Finally I hit the turn around and this is where I began to hit the proverbial wall.

My back was KILLING me and it was obviously from bad form. At this point I allowed myself to walk at all water stops and all mile splits. I would stop, stretch a bit and be on my way. Mile 8.5(???) was the next water stop and I actually took two gatorades. Again, the lemon lime tasted supreme. I wanted more!!! Miles 9-10 were painful and I just wanted more than anything to walk and be done.

And then ….it happened.  Torrential downpour.

THIS is why I was happy to have my jacket. The whole race I saw people who had their jackets on prior had ripped them off and thrown them. I kept mine on …I saw the sky, I KNEW something was coming…and it did. At this point I wanted to say “fuck it” and just walk the rest, but I couldn’t let myself do that. I kept thinking “Just a 5k on tired legs, that’s all!!!” It worked until about mile 12.

I kept pace with one other girl for a while who seemed to also be having back issues. She will never know but she got me through the back end of the race. There were puddles inches deep and at points I couldn’t even run on the trail. My jacket was soaked and my socks and shoes were so heavy …yet I kept trudging on.

Mile 12.5 was where I kept thinking HOW am I going to finish. It was only .60 from the finish but I could NOT keep running. I just stared at the ground and counted my steps til the end. Finally, at 2:33:44 , I passed the finish. I actually passed the first pad and walked to the second. I was so out of it ….I grabbed my medal, two gatorades and headed for the bus pick up station.

I was actually so out of it I forgot to get my chip taken off, oops!

I also forgot to shut my garmin off at the end …I actually let it go for the duration of the walk to the bus….oops! But I WAS DONE!!!! The worst part was walking to the busses. While I understand the premise and why it was necessary to walk, IT STILL SUCKED! I Just ran 13.1 miles, I don’t want to walk ANYMORE than I need to !!!! Haha. The bus also didn’t smell wonderful either, but oh well!

Awful, awful AWFUL pacing, but I was just glad none of my miles ever hit 13 minutes. I FELT like I was running 10s after the 6th miles, but boy was I wrong!!!

When we got back to the starting area it was actually kind of dead. That was the sad part of this race is that everyone kind of cleared out since it had been pouring. I actually didn’t even get a picture out there because I was so cold and needed to change. That’s another thing, I was reaaaaaaally hoping for those space blankets (I read from those in the past they don’t give them out so I didn’t hope for much) But boy did we need them today … I was shivering the entire walk to my car!

But I did it! My first half marathon, and while it was tough, I will definetly be doing another one! I just simply cannot imagine a better feeling than crossing that finish line today. On more than one occasion I thought of my celebratory Blue Moon and sushi that was awaiting me.

Icing time, take 1!

Assuming my favorite post-LR position; leg drain on the wall!

Post run foodage …Blue moon and sushi with Miso. MMMMMM!!!!

Jordan also ran a half marathon, he was very sleepy.

And that was my show. I had a great time, will totally be back next year if time permits …Weirdest of all, I can call myself a half marathoner. Hope you all had a great Saturday!

2:33:44

I’ll post a recap once I have fully recovered from the highs, lows, and dried off from a downpour. For now, I finished. I survived….and surprisingly want to run another half.

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I am a half marathoner. What?!

“No One Told You When to Run….”

I am still in disbelief that the day I’ve been training for is TOMORROW! Tomorrow, I can finally call myself a “half marathoner” (question, do people ever refer to themselves as this? lol). Needless to say I spent the majority of the day prepping my body (see, carb loading and nuun-chugging).

I sported my trusty Aspaeris shorts and ProCompression socks under my work attire for some added boost. Lucky for me my black socks were clean, because I was hurting for a pair and almost had to resort to my purple ones …heh.

After a mentally draining day of work, I decided to head out to a sushi place my by house to carb up. The last time I ate sushi before a race I fared pretty well, and who doesn’t love just mounds and mounds of rice?

I got two California rolls, a salmon roll and a HUGE bowl of rice. I still have most of the rice in the fridge as I was pretty bloated up after all this delicious sushi.

After that I decided on a quick bath with some blog surfing. Note, sleepy dog next to the tub. He loves to watch the water go down the tub when I’m done.

Who, me? I don’t do childish things like that anymore. I am not a puppy, I am TWO!

Laid out all my stuff for the early morning alarm. I’ve come to the conclusion that I tend to gravitate towards my blue UA shirts ….I think I’ve worn that one in 3/4 races, haha.

So that was my day and prep in pictures. I plan on waking up at 6am tomorrow, getting all ready and hope to be out at the mall by 7am. WISH ME LUCK! AHHHH!!!