Vermont Half Marathon Unplugged Race Recap

Sorry for being so inconsistent with my posts. Some days I post twice because I have a lot to say (like today) and other times days go by of silence! I am working on getting into a groove since blogging is new to me, but I hope you still enjoy it.

This weekend is a long weekend for me, woo! I took Friday off to travel up to Vermont to see my sister. I left Portsmouth around 8:30 and arrived around 11:45 in Burlington. My sister and I ate some lunch and then headed pick up our numbers and then to Boyden Valley Winery, which let me tell you is amazing. They have white wines, red wines, fruit wines, ciders, ice wines and creme liquor. For the tasting you can pick any seven to try. We were the only ones there so we got the royal treatment. They showed us some combos they do with fruit wines and ciders. AWESOME. If you live in Vermont or travel to Vermont, go! All I have to say.

My motto pre-race is always do whatever helps you relax. I do my best in races when I don’t think about it the day before. Sometimes I feel pressured to sit around in my sweatpants and think about my race strategy and drink tons of water and live and breathe running, but I found that doesn’t work for me, I get inside my head. I prefer to carry on as a normal day but a little less on my feet. Well actually a normal rest day for me consists of probably 200 steps total, so that’s nothing to worry about. Yesterday involved a little too much wine, but overall I had so much fun with my sister and her friend, it was 100% worth it! No regrets in that department, well once I chugged some water and ate some breakfast this morning, then the regrets subsided.

Now to the race. It was SO cold at the start and windy! My sister and I left her apartment at 8 and ran down to the buses on Main Street. Luckily we got on the first bus so we arrived at the start at 8:30, just enough time to use the bathroom and huddle for warmth. We took a picture at the start, we are really happy despite the cold and wind. We hadn’t run together since a Thanksgiving race this past year! My sister is getting back into running now that she is in her last month of grad school, she is training for the Vermont Marathon in May (her first)!! As a note this race has two waves, we were in the 9am, but there is also an 11am – each wave had around 900 runners. I decided my goal was to run the first half around 7:20-7:15 and then try to take it down to around 7’s.

At 9am we went off with a bang! I wasn’t sure if I was going to race but whenever I get to the start I always just go, I can’t explain it. Today was also my first day racing with music, I used my sister’s running playlist on spotify and it was on point. Got me through some tough miles where I was running somewhat alone. The first 4 miles I found difficult in this race. You are running loops mainly in neighborhoods and the wind was a factor, so I really wanted to get to the bike path and felt like it was never going to happen. Once I got to the bike path around mile 5 the wind was easier and I picked up my pace a bit.

Around mile 6-7 I started getting some odd stomach pains. I ate a piece of toast with peanut butter before this race, which I was nervous about because normally I have a lot of problems so I don’t eat before. This morning I was WAY too hungry, so that was not an option. I eased back a bit in those miles to make sure my stomach was okay. I honestly didn’t think it would be, but once I hit the halfway mark I told myself to just think about one mile at a time.

Eventually I got to mile 8 and I knew I was going to finish the race, my stomach wouldn’t stop me. I could see a few other runners in the distance so I decided to slowly start catching them each mile, or at least make an attempt to. By doing this I settled more into a 7 minute pace which was what I wanted. The last three miles of the race were pretty windy though. We ran right along the water and the waves were crashing up and splashing the bike path, then the path turned and for a portion when straight into the wind!

The last two miles were the hardest miles of the whole course because they went off of the bike path and back into neighborhoods. The wind was strong again and there were some hills so my fatigue started to get to me and I wanted to slow down. Eventually the neighborhoods ended, as they always do and I was back to the homestretch. As I was coming out of the neighborhoods I passed Megan going in, she was doing awesome!! After giving her a high five, I dug deep and tried to finish strong, crossing the ling in 1:34:54, a PR by over 4 minutes! My last half was 1:39 in the fall of 2016!!

I felt like I was going to fall over after the finish and wondered to myself if there were any medical people on this course, because I didn’t see any! Luckily, I was okay, but my sister had the same thoughts. I went to the end of the home stretch and cheered as she came in at 1:44:34, a PR for her as well by over 3 minutes!! Overall, a successful twin day.

We got food and Switchback beer and then did a slow painful jog back to her apartment. We weren’t sure we would make it, but we did.

Overall, I loved this race. It was flat and fast and the bike path scenery was awesome. I can’t complain about the weather too much because I am just glad it wasn’t snowing or raining! It is perfect as a training run for the Vermont City Marathon, which is the point. So although they don’t have medals or awards, it’s fun to go out and see where you are with your training.

Until next time Vermont, which will be my sisters graduation and the marathon!

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