Mountains To Main Half Marathon – Race Recap

If this camera man didn’t catch such an epic finish….I don’t know her but I think we’d be fast friends!

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This past weekend was mine and Adam’s last long race of the season (we’ll probably do some 5k’s over the summer but nothing over that). The fact that I had just run the Diva’s Half two weekends ago and that it was going to be literally so so hot, we threw the goal of a PR out the window and set out to just have a good time.

There were 400 runners, which is a relatively small half. I believe this was only the second year of this race. There was a triathlon on Sunday as well for this event, but I heard it was cancelled due to rain.

 

The Expo:

The expo was Friday from 2-6 (though I think you could pick up your bib race morning), which was kind of inconvenient. I like to usually go during my lunch hour and spend some time perusing the vendors. However, I just popped over at 2 to grab our numbers and shirts. Let me just say I LOVE the shirts we got.

There were a lot of vendors set up outside of where packet pickup was, but since it was pushing 90 degrees that afternoon, I skirted out pretty quickly. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t seen before.

 

The Race:

The course itself was nothing we hadn’t seen before. It started in Travelers Rest and did about a two mile loop before heading down the Swamp Rabbit Trail towards downtown Greenville. The only difference between this course and the Swamp Rabbit Half we did back in February was the beginning loop and this race did a loop around the Furman Lake, which included a massive hill but it was a nice change of pace from the Trail. Otherwise, it was a pretty familiar run for Adam and I. It was no surprise around mile 11 when we ran head on into a snake making its way across the trail. They are out in full force right now so I was half expecting it. Luckily there were a handful of people around and it was right by an aid station so I felt better than if it were just Adam and I. It was probably just a harmless black snake but honestly we didn’t stick around to find out. Adam handled it like a champ (despite snakes being his biggest fear) and led a group of lady runners across the threshold. He picked up the pace a little after that ;).

We gel’d twice, once at mile 5.5 and then we split a gel at mile 9.5. There were also aid stations about every mile/mile and a half. I think there may have been more setup than the race website originally said, which was good for the heat. They also served gatorade and water at everyone and the website said there would only be water. We got water at every stop to make sure we didn’t dehydrate and like I said, we weren’t going for time.  

The sky stayed pretty overcast most of the race but by mile 11.5 the sun was out in full force. We pushed through the last leg. At the finish shoot we saw a couple in front of us and I looked at Adam and said “let’s beat ‘em!”. So we ran ahead and the woman decided she didn’t want to go out without a fight so she kicked it into gear also. We raced across the line neck and neck hearing the crowd cheer us on. We crossed with huge smiles on our faces, laughing and gave a big high five and congratulations. That is why we run.

 

Post Race:

Post race was awesome. They handed out waters at the finish line along with our medals and then it was just a short step over to the fuel tent. There were plenty of post-race recovery options, along with a ton of food and BEER! Each runner had a food ticket and a drink ticket and everything was also available for sale for spectators. We didn’t use our food ticket because we had planned to eat afterwards but we used our drink ticket!

 

I think we’d be interested in doing this one again next year. As long as you’re prepared for the heat, it’s a fun run and it was well supported (logistically, not so much crowds). But that’s the good thing about running with Adam. We don’t necessarily need the crowd support because we have each other. This was my 8th half marathon and my 6th medal this year #irunforthebling. It was a great finish to the season, especially after starting the year not really knowing where running was going to take us. I am proud of how much we’ve accomplished already this year and am excited to find out what miles are next!

 

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Cruising to the finish!

 

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Adam’s 5th half!

 

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My 8th half!

 

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My 2017


 

Divas Half Marathon N. Myrtle Beach – Race Recap

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This weekend was one for the books. I love this race so much, and I would definitely love to experience some of their other event locations at some point. Maybe wine country of DC or Puerto Rico! Regardless, this event is about women supporting other women, achieving an amazing goal, and having fun! It is full of pink and tutus and I hope that me and my mother can do it again sometime sooner rather than later.

Mom had a bit of a confidence struggle mid-race, which we knew she would. Hopefully I talked her off the ledge when she was feeling down on herself. She was afraid she would disappoint us, even though we all told her that she got to the start line so no matter how the race went, she was NOT a disappointment. I am so proud of how she persevered. She’s had so much going on the past few weeks and it would have been easy to call a quits. I know it wasn’t easy on her having to get up and run, work a full day and then run across town to the hospital for a visit. But she put in the miles and we all knew that. We had no doubt that she’d finish, and she did and she did it running across that finish line!

In terms of weather, I couldn’t have asked for a better morning. The race starts at 7am which helps when it comes to the May beach heat. But it was mid-50s and breezy when we started and I don’t think it really got above 60.

 

The Expo

The expo was pretty big, as I remember it was two years ago. It was not well marked in terms of bibs were at the back of one room, and shirt pickup was in a different room. But there was a lot of merchandise to look at vendors so visit. I ended up buying a singlet for BOGO, so mom got one too. The one I bought two years ago is one of my favorite running tops to wear so it’s wearing thin and I needed a new one. Plus you really can’t beat $11 for a tank. Other than the shirt I bought, I didn’t see a whole lot of “Divas” merch that I loved. A lot of their stuff seemed to be heavier, cotton-type material that I do not prefer to run in.

There was a Fleet Feet table set up and we were able to buy our Huma gels at buy 3, get 1 so we stocked up since they are so hard to find. We snapped a few pics but really didn’t stay too long.

 

The Event

Parking was easy. The race sends out acceptable parking lots and we were able to find one just a few blocks from the start and finish with an easy exit to the interstate. There was a buzz before we started and everyone seemed genuinely excited to be out on such a beautiful day.

The 5k event went off at 7am and the half started shortly after at 7:10. There are no corrals but there are pacers and timing markers at the start line.There were ample water and aid stations and the course was pretty well supported.

This race was pretty easy for me in terms of actually running the miles. By the end of it, I honestly felt like I could have done it again. It was a confidence boost in terms of my physical fitness and for next week’s half that I have mentioned before, the one where Adam is really hoping for a PR…I love the fact that I can go out and run 13 miles while barely breaking a sweat ;). I loved that I got to wear my tutu the whole race. I thought to myself that if there was ever a time, that was it. It was so fun to just be carefree and enjoy the moment. My dad and Adam said they had a great time and they were awesome support. We saw them at the start and finish and then three other times throughout the race. It was nice to have extra encouragement out on the course. 

We came in at 2:31:53…two seconds off from our time two years ago. If that isn’t a testament to my mom that she can do it, then I don’t know what is! I am so proud and will cherish these memories forever!

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TBT: April 2015 to mom’s first half and our first Divas experience!

 

Reedy River Run 10k – Race Recap

 

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This past Saturday Adam and I ran…our first official 10k race! As crazy as that sounds, we have never run a 10k race before. The Reedy River Run is one of Greenville’s largest races throughout the year and we were excited to be a part of the event. This year was actually the 40th anniversary. We had a work dinner for me on Wednesday night last week and stayed out probably a little too late, so all time goals for the race were thrown out the window then, but we did still want to break an hour if we could. Greenville is hilly and this course was no slouch. Apparently it’s the 10k state championship?? So there were a lot of elite athletes and fast runners. We had originally wanted to run the 5k and aim for a PR but with Diva’s in two weeks I needed more miles, and also they handed out medals to the 10k runners.

We did not make it to the expo because there wasn’t anything that we needed and it was honestly just out of our way to get there before Saturday morning. We had no trouble picking up our shirts and bibs on race day, though. We signed up just two weeks before the race and the shirt sizes were limited at that time. The do send out emails beforehand that if you register by a certain day, you’re guaranteed the correct shirt size. We didn’t sign up by then though haha. Anyways, Adam was still able to get his size and I scooped a ladies large. I’m not sure if because we signed up late we got shafted but they were NOT tech tees, they weren’t even a tri-blend. So my large was able to really shrink down in the wash, which is good because now it fits. But I was really looking forward to the tech tee they described.

The course was decently spectated. There were parts of downtown that had cheer squads but the parts through the park were not well spectated. There were three water stations for our course which was plenty. I’m glad they were there though because it was hot. We snagged a Gatorade cup at each one.

I looked at my watch at mile 4.5 and thought to myself “we can break an hour, but it will be close”. And then we strolled in at 57:26 officially. (Our previous unofficial 10k PR was 58:29, so we really kicked it’s ass!) I was so proud of our time. It had been a loonngggg week (due to the mid-week outing) and I would not say that I was totally prepared for that strong of a run. However, in true fashion, my watch clocked in at 6.19 so Garmin didn’t accept it as a PR. Smh.

The route ended on Main St. and all runners were given their medals and shuffled down to the park for the post-race party. Yes, DOWN to the park. A lot of stairs down meant we had to climb them to get back. There were plenty of stations with water, Gatorade and coffee set up and Jersey Mikes was there handing out free sandwiches, of course Adam devoured his.

I’ve got an 11 miler planned for this Saturday but at a slow, steady pace and then Diva’s is next Sunday. Then, Adam and I are closing out race season with the Mountains to Main half on the 20th. He wants to PR, but we’ll see about that.


 

Greer Earth Day 10 Mile – Race Recap

As I said yesterday, Adam and I ran a 10 mile road race up in Greer this past Saturday. It was a Greenville Track Club event and they also held a 5k and 10k.

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The first thing I loved about this race was the t-shirts. Adam and I signed up late (Thursday afternoon) because we were watching the weather to make sure it wasn’t going to rain. Often times when we sign up so late we miss out on the t-shirts, which is a bummer. I had seen the shirts for his race online and they were great tech tee’s. So, when we went to pick up our bibs Saturday morning at the start line they informed us that though we wouldn’t be getting tech tee’s that day, they were doing another order for those who signed up late and we could pick them up in a week or two. It was a small part of the race but it made us so happy. We want our race shirts!!

I had seen online that there weren’t a whole lot of runners for the 10 mile race (and not really a whole lot for the other two as well) so I was immediately reminded of the Green Valley 10 Miler we did back and February and wondered how this one would be organized with so few runners. The 10 mile was set to start at 7:30 but I guess because it was colder than expected, the director wanted to wait until the sun rose to start, so we let off at 7:45. We were told at the start line that the course on the website was not what we would be running (something having to due with the city but I wasn’t overly paying attention) and that the roads were not blocked off so we should just “stay to the shoulder”…we were just hoping to 1. Not get lost and 2. Not get hit by a car.

Honestly, we started out fast. Mainly because I did not want to get to the back of the pack and risk getting lost. We knew it was going to be a hilly course. We hadn’t been doing a whole lot of hill training so we were really just out there to finish, get a good run in and collect our medals.  That being said, perfect negatives and a PR were not our main focus. It was a new course for us so all of the sights were different, which is always a plus.There was zero course support and I’m not sure that I would recommend this for those who don’t like running alone, but because I had Adam, it was just a normal Saturday morning long run for us. There were three water stops, which the website said, but I did not see a bathroom along the course. Luckily there were no issues but I do like to have the option should something come up!

As I said, we did go out fast, but our splits were pretty consistent. We had to walk a little bit during mile 8 but that was mostly because I was bored haha. I was just tired of running and needed a moment. That being said, our last mile was still the fastest and we PR’d our 10 mile race distance by 1:50. I was shocked when I looked at my watch and new that we’d be able to get a personal best. We got our medals and went to check our standings. ADAM PLACED IN HIS AGE GROUP! He got third and received a pint glass prize (which is perfect for him). I was so proud for his first ever race placing. I placed 6th in my age group. Otherwise, we were both dead middle of the pack for overall finishing and gender place.

 

(**side note – I had more pictures to post but I got a new phone Saturday afternoon and apparently the backup didn’t totally back everything up..UGH!)

What I wore:

Asics Tank / Nike 5″ Shorts / Sports Bra /
Pearl Izumi E M3 Running Shoes / Compression Socks 


Swamp Rabbit Half Marathon – Race Recap

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Friday afternoon I was sitting at my desk and thinking to myself “Now I remember why I don’t race for time. Maybe/hopefully it will be worth the goal setting, but for now I just wish we had no expectations of time. I like the only expectation being having fun with my friends.” I was legit feeling so nervous. I had not had pre-race nerves since the New York City Marathon back in 2015. It was such a weird feeling and I had completely forgotten what it felt like to experience pre-race nerves. It didn’t last long but I was still wondering in the back of my mind how I would actually do, being that we were racing for time.

 

Packet Pickup/Expo

The Expo was small. I’m not complaining because it made picking up our bibs super quick and easy, but there were not very many vendors there at all. Again, it was fine for me but we were running with two out-of-towners (and this race draws a lot of people from other states) so it would have been nice to see a little bit more of Greenville’s running community out and about. Otherwise, packet pickup was seamless and I love the t-shirts they gave. They are a tri-blend (much like the ones from two years ago) and are just the most comfortable ever!

 

RACE TIME

There really is not a whole lot to this course. The race starts in downtown Travelers Rest and does about a 3 mile loop out and back before getting on the Swamp Rabbit Trail around mile 3.5. The next 9.5 miles are down the trail towards Downtown Greenville. I do not normally run on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. I have a route that I enjoy doing where I go from Furman to Downtown Travelers Rest, but as far as the parts of the trail towards Downtown Greenville…well, I find them rather boring. However, in a race setting it’s much better. Having the route full of runners definitely makes it more bearable.

The course is not supported great due to it’s location. Especially since cross roads are blocked off for the runners to continue on the trail, it is hard for supporters to get a good viewing spot. The start line and the finish line, however, were packed with spectators and support. The weather was ideal at the start. I did not need to wear a jacket and was more than comfortable. Unfortunately, I knew that would mean I could get warm by the end of the race. And I did. Luckily we missed any rain coming in, but the sun was out in full force and in our faces most of the time. There was a breeze but compared to two years ago when it was 20 degrees, this race got a little warm.

Around mile 4 we latched on to the 2:07 pace group (running at a 9:40 pace). This was a little slower that we wanted our average pace to be, but we had started strong and knew that if we stuck with him for a few miles, we could then pass and reach our goal. It turned out to be a great decision. Not only was the pacer a cool guy and kept us chatting for about 45 minutes, he was encouraging. When we latched on we had told him that our goal was to go with him until about mile 9 and then push through. Around 8, however, he told us that we were going so strong and to pick it up. We did and we continued on at our goal pace.

I was disappointed with the finish line photos. I guess the camera(s) were only on one side at the finish and I unfortunately was on the opposite side. Y’all know how much I live for a race photo.

The upside: WE PR’d!!!!! (By we I mean Adam and I.) We had started strong and about 2 miles in my dad said to us “I’m going to pace us today. I’m going to get us there.” Normally I am a master pacer and don’t mind doing it, but I needed him Saturday. I knew it could be a struggle to reach my goal and I needed him to keep me in line. He knows how to push me to my limits, but keep me to where I won’t burn out. By mile 11 I was struggling. My legs were tired and though I wasn’t having a ton of breathing issues, I just knew I had to dig deep to keep at my pace and hit my goal. Adam was so strong at the end and I was proud of him. He probably could have scooted ahead of me but he stayed back so we could all finish together.  

We crossed the finish line at 2:04:30… 30 seconds ahead of our 2:05 goal and 9 minutes ahead of our previous PR. Our average pace was 9:24. Wow. I told myself Friday that I would have been extremely happy with a 2:05, not really knowing if it was possible or not. I had never run 13 miles at a 9:30 pace before. I didn’t know yet if I was trained to do it. Mentally or physically. I also know that for me, running flats is ten times harder than hills. I have learned to utilize hills to my advantage and the Swamp Rabbit Trail, though listed as negative elevation from Travelers Rest to Greenville, has mile long slogs with no real reprieve at the end. It was hard and when I crossed the finish line I immediately sat on the ground to rest. But, we had done it. We had hit our goal and we had instantly gained so much motivation to keep going and keep getting better.

 

Post-Race

The post-race was great. They had sodas, water, juice, pizza and a ton of snacks. It was really anything that you could want after finishing 13.1 miles. We received our medals instantly and we united with mine and Adam’s moms who were waiting for us at the finish line.

This race was hard for me. I never thought that I would have to walk or quit, but for maybe the first time, I felt like I was literally giving everything I had. In terms of distance and pace, it was probably the best run I’ve ever had, which makes me feel good considering I said that two weeks ago about the Green Valley 10 Mile Road Race. We didn’t have perfect negative splits, but we were so consistent the entire run. Since finishing the race, Adam has talked so much about continuing to train and get better and race together. This half marathon I think motivated him so much. Though I will take fun over time any day of the week, I think all runners that are at the point where we are have an unwritten goal of a sub-2 half. This past weekend we realized how close we are. Sure it’s still a lot of work and dedication ahead to achieve that goal, but we are close. And that amazing goal is within reach.    

 

What I Wore:

Nike Shorts (5″ inseam) / Nike Dri Fit Tank / Under Armour Socks / Sports Bra 

Pearl Izumi E M3 Running Shoe / Visor