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Nov 12 / Jane

Trenton Half Marathon 2012

My first half marathon, and it wasn’t half bad! My goal was to finish, but closer to race day I was really hoping to run 2:15. My college roommate, Jackie, came down to support me, cheering me on and running the 10k while my mom and husband spectated. Mom also got her baby fix watching Jackie’s 1year old son, Jordan.

We had a shaky start, with not really knowing where to park and the actual race start being delayed nearly an hour. I know the delay was nerve-racking on most runners, but I think it really helped me quash my pre-race anxiety. And probably only because my GPS watch, once “READY” (aka satellites acquired), does not show the actual time. Once the Trenton Police sorted out the road closures, three Revolutionary War Re-enactors started the race.

Trenton Half Start

Overall the race was incredibly scenic. It was not crowded, but also not well spectated or supported with volunteers. I don’t think the race was well advertised in the area (being from the area myself) and I think most of the volunteer groups on the roster jumped ship to assist Hurricane Sandy relief efforts (and who can blame them?). I see both of these as major room for improvement next year; but please don’t mess with the course!

First, we headed directly into the Trenton Tunnel. Then, we exited onto Lalor Street and back into the tunnel on the other side of the road and we continued down Route 29 into downtown Trenton. It’s amazing, running in front of the capital building without any traffic! After about mile 4, we headed over the “Trenton Makes, The World Takes” bridge into PA, then ran through Morrisville, up a ridiculously short but inconvenient hill, and back over the Calhoun Street Bridge. The rest of the race was a mix of running down Route 29 and through Trenton, including a killer hill in Cadwalader Park. The finish, brought us back to Waterfront Park, home of the Trenton Thunder minor league baseball team, where we rounded the back field then sprinted up the 3rd base line to the finish line on home plate. What a cool finish; I’m not really a baseball fan, but I can appreciate that.

Start of the race

Start of the race

Out of the Trenton tunnel

Out of the Trenton tunnel

The finish is near!

The finish is near!

Sprinting to the finish, up the 3rd base line

Sprinting to the finish, up the 3rd base line

Almost there!

Almost there!

I drive down Route 29 everyday to get to work, so running down it completely empty was a pretty incredible experience. I was nervous about two bridges both being metal grate and running in Vibram FiveFingers. I did come to find out there is a wooden boardwalk on both bridges for pedestrians, but I opted to try my luck on the grate. And thankfully, it was more like a much-needed foot massage than a toe-eating, race-ending, obstacle. The tunnel at the very beginning of the race messed with my GPS, so I was always a little behind the mile markers. By the time I was nearing the stadium I was thinking I had at least half a mile more, but mom was there telling me home stretch! I finished strong in a time of 2:10:07!

Aside from a little toe pain about 11.5 miles in, I felt great. I thought I can definitely keep going, I can run a marathon. The half really is a fun distance, and this race solidified my decision to race more and longer.

After the race I was handed a medal and a bottle of water. I found mom in the stands and she lifted me off the field to take post-race victory photos with Jackie, who’d finished the 10k in an amazing 52:52. We went in search of bagels, bananas, juice, anything but only found a long line into a little tent full of empty boxes. How disappointing. We headed over to the post-race party at Rho, redeemed our free 8oz (6oz? maybe I’m being generous, they were tiny!) beers. All the food post race was not free and not vegetarian-friendly. We didn’t stay for the rewards since we weren’t getting any, and headed out to Panera for a real lunch.

Finishers!

Finishers! 

My biggest fan

My biggest fan

 

I’m very happy with my first half marathon. The temperature was great, 50’s and overcast. My time surpassed my initial expectations and the course was fun and challenging. Definitely room for improvement, but since this was the inaugural event, I expect better things in the future. I absolutely plan to run with one again next year!

 

Awesome medal!

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