Oh man, this race was a tough one. Where should I begin.
The race was on Sunday October 16. We drove to Hershey on Saturday afternoon and the first stop was packet pickup.
Our race packets also included two tickets to Hershey Park in the Dark – Hershey Park’s Halloween celebration. So after we picked up our stuff, my dad and I decided to head over there to kill an hour or two and walk around a little.
We rode two roller coasters (the rest had super duper long lines that we didn’t feel like waiting in, especially since our tickets were free) and walked around the park. Then we drove the course noting where the hills were, which didn’t seem too bad when we drove it. Foreshadowing: we were wrong.
Dinner was at an italian place – I had angel hair pasta with an oil and garlic sauce, with lots of veggies. and lots of rolls and a side salad. carbin’ it up! After dinner we went to the hotel to check in and I chugged some more store brand gatorade and water. I was feeling well hydrated.
On Sunday the race didn’t start until 8am so my dad and I got to “sleep in” a little longer than usual – 5:30 am.
Breakfast was in the hotels breakfast area, but I brought my own (never anything new on race day, especially when 13.1 miles are concerned). I had some granola with rice milk and a few small cups of water. After breakfast we went back up to the room to pick up anything else we needed and hit the road.
The race start was at Hershey Stadium (right outside Hershey Park). The drive was quick and we got there a little before 7am. Knowing we had an hour to kill we went to the bathroom and watched the walkers take off at 7am.
We also took a photo.After this photo I realized how cold I was feeling. Luckily I pack every type of running clothes ever when I pack for “destination” races so I went back to the car and switched into a pair of capris. We also swapped out the jackets for garbage bags. It kept us warm and is easily disposable. People kept asking if garbage bags really “work” – yes they do. Try it next time, it’ll keep you warm (especially when windy), promise.
Around 7:30 we stopped at the bathroom again, and got in our corral based on our estimated pace.
My goals for this race were: 1. PR – with a 2:56:something, 2. Come in under 3:00:00, 3. Don’t get a PW (come in under 3:16:xx), 4. Finish
The gun went off and I quickly found my pace.
Miles 1-3 were through the huge parking lot and then the amusement park. I was feeling good. We hit the first hill and I trucked up it because I had known to expect it.
Miles 4-6 the hills just kept coming. I got nervous because my legs were starting to feel tired – something that usually doesn’t happen until mile 11 or so. I was feeling so tired and frusterated for feeling so tired so early in the race that I nearly forgot to take my gel at mile 4. I was getting frusterated so I slowed down my pace and started taking walk breaks. It felt like whenever we weren’t running up a hill we were running down a hill.
When we hit the half way mark at mile 6.5 I was relieved to see a long down hill. Followed of course by another even longer up hill.
It was around mile 7 that I started to wonder if I could do it. Thoughts like “this could be my first DNF” started to cross my mind. Mile 7 is not the place you want to start losing hope!! But the hills were relentless. Thank goodness I was running it with my dad. If I had been alone I’m not sure if I could have kept going.
Mile 8-10 were tough. Super tough. I took another gel. I don’t know why though – maybe because I thought it would give me some energy? Thank goodness for the crowd support. I started playing the “I’ll walk from that tree to that light post” “I’ll run from that light post to the corner” game. It was the only way to keep my sanity.
Once we hit mile 10 I felt relieved and thought that I may really finish the race.
Mile 11-12.5 can only be described as painful. We went through the park again (and more hills) and then through the large parking lot after passing by people going into the finish (boring and de-motivating).
This was a photo taken about mile 11. I remember my dad saying “you have to run by the photographers.” I think I faked it pretty good. hah
I took my last walk break around 12.5 and ran it in.
I saw the finish line (though there was no actual line on the ground) and felt so friggin relieved. I think this photo perfectly sums up the race for me.
We grabbed our medals before picking up our recovery bags (water, pretzels, hershey chocolate bar and amazing oatmeal-cranberry-raisin-chocolate cookie).