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Oct 22 / Jane

Runner’s World Festival & Half Marathon 2013

It all started with this view.

Photo Oct 19, 2 57 17 PM

I arrived at the Runner’s World Festival & Half Marathon just in time to see the end of the 1 mile dog run. I met friends, Sean and Sue (geocaching as Team Divi Divi), along the course and we watched owners run their dogs the final leg to the finish line. From there we headed into the ArtsQuest Building where the expo was held. I retrieved my race bib and headed directly into a line to meet Summer Sanders, former Olympian and marathoner. She was so sweet and so engaging, we took a photo and I asked her to wish me some luck for the half the next day by signing my race bib.

Summer Sander, myself and her OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL!

Summer Sanders, myself and her OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL!

After meeting Summer, I raced over to the Steel Stacks Visitor Center for a seminar with Mark Remy. He spoke about how his column gets made, did a Q&A session, then we headed outside for a raffle, or “crafle” as he called he. He raffled off “crap” his office-mates donated, things on their desks they no longer wanted, etc. It was intense. Sean won the raffle tickets.

Mark Remy's "crafle"

Mark Remy’s “crafle”

Back in the expo building, I completed my packet pick-up with a top-down tour of the building. T-shirts on the 4th floor, then vendors on the 3rd and 2nd floors. I picked up some goodies and some race gear. Injinji finally came out with a sport compression toe-sock, and they were selling for $20 at the expo! I should have gotten two pairs… I also picked up a pair of ProCompression calf sleeves.  Yay, new stuff!

Later in the afternoon, Sean, Sue and I went to the final seminar of the day, “My Life on the Run” with RW’s chief running officer, Bart Yasso. He spoke for over an hour on his running excursions and the amazing people he’s met out running. It was interesting and heart-warming.

Bart Yasso's recounting of one of his more memorable races.  With a donkey.

Bart Yasso’s recounting of one of his more memorable races… with a donkey.

I spent the time waiting for sunset with Meghan from PI on the balcony of the ArtsQuest Building. She rehashed her 10k race from that morning, 7th place woman! We snapped some pix of the Steel Stacks at night, found a geocache nearby, and called it a night.

Waiting for dark...

Waiting for dark…

The Steel Stacks at night, check out that flaming arc!

The Steel Stacks at night, check out that flaming arc!

I was able to get to sleep somewhat early, but I was up before my 5:30am alarm. By 7am I was at the gear check, procrastinating. The sun was not up yet and I was freezing! Shorts and a tank top, what was I thinking?? I reached out to Sean and Sue, left my sweatshirt in my gear bag, and jogged into the lobby of the Sands Casino (across from the start). There, Sean donated a “throw away shirt” to me and we entered the chute with less than 10 minutes to the start.

With 3,500 runners, there were no corrals, just pace markers and pacers for specific finish times. I had no expectations going into this race, the course was hilly and challenging and although I have a goal of running a sub 2-hour half marathon, I didn’t think this was the day. I lined up around the 2:10 pacer, secretly hoping I’d at least beat them.

The start (photo courtesy of Sean)

The start (photo courtesy of Sean)

I kept checking my watch throughout the race, I was running well and comfortably. It was not a steady pace though due to the hills. I lost a lot of time on the uphills, made up for some of it on the downhills, but wasn’t sustaining much of a race-pace on the flats (what little of them there were). But overall, I felt good.

We hit a killer hill before the 6 mile marker. It was “sponsored” by Running Skirts, they had pink signs on both sides promoting their skirts and just making fun. At the top of the hill, representatives from Running Skirts helped runners into a skirt they got to run away with! A free running skirt! Too bad I didn’t realize it until after I ran past. Darnit. So funny!

After the 10k mark, I picked up a running buddy. We chatted race goals: finish for her since she was on race #3 for the weekend having participated in the Hat Trick (and she’s training for the Philadelphia Marathon!), and a possible sub-2 for me (it was looking pretty close at that point!). I lost her for a bit on an uphill between miles 7 and 8, then we discovered we’re practically neighbors, so I invited her to PI.

I hit the 10 mile marker around 1:32. A 28 minute 5k didn’t seem out of the question, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. I left my buddy right after mile 12, where my watch said 1:50… 10minutes for 1.1mi, I tried, but crossed the finish in 2:01:52. I honestly didn’t try as hard as I could have… I can’t explain why, my brain on running works a little differently. I knew I would PR and that was more important than sub-2 at the time. I think?

Oh well, I was happy regardless. I exchanged contact info with my new friend, Emily, collected post-race goodies and my gear bag, and set up along the race route for Sean and Sue to finish. They found me before I noticed they’d even crossed the finish. We took some post-race photos and that was that.

Photo Oct 20, 10 31 04 AM

Yes, I am rocking my SPARTAN headband!

Overall, I’m thrilled. It was an amazing weekend with some incredible people. The expo was well organized with lots of vendors, goodies, and things to do.  The course was scenic and challenging, and full of spectators!  And to top it all off, I went home with a new half marathon PR!

Cheers to another great race!

Cheers to another great race!

2 Comments

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  1. Craffle is cute but I like recoverosa better =) So happy you only had to wait a few weeks to get the sub 2!

  2. Jane / Nov 10 2013

    Recoverosa, I love it!! I need one, haha. Instead I had coffee with Baily’s this morning. Nearly as good, right? =)

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