Hershey Half Marathon

25 Oct

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.

Since it was a small race it went pretty quick. Race swag included a pretty sweet tech shirt, a few random things and a personalized 13.1 sticker.I thought this was such a unique idea.

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).

Final official time was 03:13:22. Not a personal worst, and I did finish. Two out of four goals achieved. I blame the stupid hills.

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15 Responses to “Hershey Half Marathon”

  1. Amanda @ There Are Two Sides October 26, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Nice work! I have never run a race with hills (we dont have them in NW Ohio at all) so I can’t imagine how hard that is!

  2. mizunogirl December 29, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    Oh Wow. I am considering this race as a tune up for my Fall Marathon, but I am recovering from Hip suregery and the doc doesn’t want me to run really hilly stuff. It didnt look that bad on the elevation profile…are the hills like rollers? or steep? I love a course with rollers. I admit it.

    • Becca December 30, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

      You may be more prepared than I was since you’ll be training for a marathon at the time 🙂 I trained purely for a half. In adition, I do think the elevation chart is a little bit deceiving – I really felt that when you weren’t running uphill you were running down, but I think if you do a little bit of hill work in training knowing this you should be fine. There are a few steeper hills and then rollers in between – so a little bit of both I’d say. 🙂

  3. Amanda January 2, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    Congrats on finishing the Hershey Half! This race was my very first Half-Marathon, and I agree that the hills were crazy. My only goal was to finish, and I did – in 2:56. The chocolate bar at mile 9 saved me!

    • Becca January 4, 2012 at 9:07 am #

      It’s reassuring to hear that someone else thought the hills were nuts. 🙂 Chocolate always helps!!

  4. Stacy October 22, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    First off congratulations! I just completed my second half marathon at Hershey yesterday. I too felt absolutely horrid by mile 6.5, I just kept thinking there is no way physically possible that this is ANOTHER hill. I wanted to quit by mile 7 but I wanted that medal more! My first half marathon I ran it in 2:38 this one….3:27. I was throwing up felt like I was going to faint by mile 11 and ran the last .5 but only at a very slow pace, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I watched the videos online but it did NOT indicate that many hills. The only “flat” areas were in the parking lot and I think that’s being generous. Usually on a downhill I can open my stride and get some good speed without using any energy. WRONG! I was trying not to fall flat on my face that’s how hard the down slope was. I’m just glad to have finished even in the time I did and won’t be going back to Hershey to do it again. Too advanced of a course for me. I’ll stick to flats.

    • Becca October 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

      I feel your pain, but great job on finishing! it is a tough course for sure.

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