Before the race, I did ditch the long sleeve shirt
It couldn't have been a more beautiful day to look at for The Sweetest Half. It was cool, sunny and the sky was brilliantly blue. Unfortunately there was a fairly strong wind. I could not make up my mind what to wear. I decided on my compression shorts but was still undecided about my top. I hate being cold. I had on a short sleeve shirt under my long sleeve. Just before the race began I did decide I could hack it and only wore the short sleeve shirt. It was the right decision as I was never that cold and the second half the race was quite warm.
There were about 500 runners. This race also had a two person relay which was divided 7/6.1. I had a few friends who raced this as their first race longer than a 5K. The course was beautiful. (I heard MANY people talking about this.) The course was hilly. (I heard EVEN MORE people talking about this.) I did not appreciate the beauty as much as I might have, perhaps because I am so familiar with parts of the route. I did certainly notice though not appreciate the hills!
The race was very well organized and started right on time. We headed through Middlebury which is a picturesque Vermont town. We headed out of town eventually going through a covered bridge. I couldn't see the boards well in the dark and was worried I would trip. We went past the Morgan Horse Farm. Again - very picturesque. The Morgan Horse is the Vermont state animal for those of you who like trivia. This was about 4 miles north and we had been running into a wind. We turned west for a short ways before we headed south on a dirt road. All through these miles were some rolling hills, some more than what I think of as rolling! I was watching my splits and realized that as I had thought this would not be a PR. I was trying to run around 9:30 but unlike my February marathon, my miles were all over the place. Most were in the 9s, two were in the 8s, and the last few in the 10s. When I raced in February I managed to finish faster than I began but that was not the case today. I felt like I was working hard the whole race but not getting quite the results I wanted. Enough about that for now, back to the race. We did the 6th - 7th mile on the Middlebury College campus and it is a beautiful campus! This was also the relay exchange. Students were out cheering. I assume a lot of Midd. Kids ran from the cheering I heard for some around me throughout the race.
(When I got there in the morning I couldn't find anyone I knew so I asked a girl I was standing by to take my picture. Instead of simply taking a quick picture she suggested we go over by the race sign to make it better. I was very impressed by this Midd. Kid who was there to support her friends as she was injured.)
Then we went back by the hospital where we had begun. As we ran by the hospital we began to meet runners coming in!!! I kept telling myself that yes I could run 5 more miles. This part was an out and back so as we went down hills we knew there was a price to pay later. Overall the mile markers seem to come quickly but in this section that was not as true. I just wanted to turn around and head toward home. I saw my principal who I will be running my next half with and then I met C at the water stop. This was her first race longer than a 5K and she was beaming. I had not seen B, her relay partner, in the first part. C had also yelled for me as I went past the relay exchange!!! After finally turning around I knew I could do it and I was trying to maintain a decent pace. It took lots of effort to just hit in the 10s. I didn't want to slow down any more so I continued to push. When I rounded the last corner to run the last .1 I did not feel as I had any big kick in my legs. But I did it and was very happy to FINALLY.STOP.RUNNING!
It didn't take long before I was freezing. It was cool and still quite windy. Just putting on my long sleeve shirt didn't quite take care of it but my car was parked about 1/2 mile away. I was in the food line when I had some stomach issues so I got out. When I came back the line was huge. I waited but found most of the food unappealing. The undercooked chocolate chip cookies were the best thing. I ran into a few people I knew since this was a local race. Then I headed home as I was still very cold. I was exhausted, more than usual following a race. When I got home I took a long hot shower to warm up and then crawled into bed!
Oh yeah, the stats! My Garmin time and clock matched exactly as well as the distance. That never happens. My time was 2:06:18 for a pace of 9:39. I had thought going into it that I would be happy with a 2:05 or 2:06. As I was running I didn't think this would happen. This is about a minute slower than my half in February which was a very flat course with no wind. So I am fine with this time.
I was 5/16 in my age group. I was 107/198 women. Overall I was 237/353.
My splits were:
Now I need to plan my next races. There are many many races around here in May. There are at least a couple to choose from each weekend coming up. I may race the next two weekends but I haven't completely decided. Next weekend there is a 5K or 15K and a 5 miler that is a partner race. I have never done a 15K but am not sure I want to do it a week from now. I have time to decide.