Hamden Hills Half Marathon – May 26, 2012 (2:42:49)

I slayed a dragon this Saturday.  I did the Hamden Hills Half Marathon.  This event was run for the first time (same as the Cheshire Half).  It’s nice that there are these events in the area now.  I wasn’t planning on doing this half.  I have my friend Shannon to thank for this (especially as I hobble around today with such sore legs!)  After I completed the Cheshire half I knew I wanted to do more.  There was a flier on my car about this Hamden Hills half but the description said:

“The Innaugural Hamden Hills Half Marathon & 5K takes in the picturesque hills of Hamden’s back-country.  The start/finish is at Quinnipiac University York Hill Campus.  This is sure to be the TOUGHEST Half Marathon and 5K in Connecticut!  I know you are up for this challenge!”

Yea the last think I thought I wanted to do was run the TOUGHEST half marathon in Connecticut.  So I threw the flier away and went on with my vacation which was to start a week after I finished the Cheshire half.  I hooked up with Shannon for a morning of pool time with our kids and we were talking about what races I want to do.  She sent me a link later for halfmarathon.net and the hamden hills was on it.  I told her I had to sleep on it and decide if I can do another one after just finishing my first.  Plus it was hills and my first was mostly flat.  Of course the next morning when I woke up I knew I had to do it.  It was a challenge I couldn’t pass up.  I was worried that having 2 weeks of vacation with light running while on it that I wouldn’t have my training up to par for this one.  She told me that I was already trained and that I could do this.  I waited until I got home to register.  I did a 5K at home with just a decent hill and right after that race I went home and ran hills as well.  Then during the week I did more hilll running.  So I felt comfortable that I could at least finish.

My goal was to walk what I had to and I knew that I was going to be ok with a 3 hour finish cause I knew this was out of my league.  I read a great article by Dr. Rachel Runs about having a personal worst and I was planning on this for the race result.  I was anxious when I approached the race location.  The drive up the hill felt like driving up Mount Washington!  It circled around and kept climbing!  Then at the top I felt like I was in the clouds!  I had butterflies in my gut. I was anxious for the race to start.  Once it did I settled down.  The hills were hard, but I took some advise.  Walk up the hills and run down the hills.  5 miles into the race I saw that it took me an hour.  So I calculated that it took 60 minutes to do 5 miles, so 10 miles would be 2 hours and add 3 more to it and I’ll be close to a 2:45 finish.  I was very surprised at that estimate.  I texted Kevin to tell him when to expect to see me cross the finish line.  The last hill was killer.  It was impossible to run up.  I would run a few steps, then walk.  I mostly walked it, but I was determined to run past the finish line which I did.  2:42:49.  I was very pleased with that time.  Glad I did it, thanks Shannon!


My first run at Disney

Today I went for an easy run while on vacation. We are staying at Bay Lake Tower. So i ran from the hotel towards magic kingdom and then around the contemporary. It was hot out but it was great to be on vacation and still get in some time to run alone. the monorail went by overhead and the steam train puffed by as I was running back towards the contemporary.

I had a beautiful view around the garden rooms at the contemporary. This was around 8:30 in the morning. I would love to get out earlier some time and run longer. I ran for 30 minutes and got in 3 miles.




That is my official finish time of my first half marathon. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect day. I was very relaxed the night before and actaully slept very well. I was surprised at how calm I was. Even for just my long runs at home, I feel anxious the night before. I guess mentally I knew this was just another long run for me and I was prepared.

I woke up before my alarm (which I set but accidently didn’t turn on). I was awake at 5, I really had to use the bathroom. Not to get into much detail, but that was a concern of mine. I wanted to be sure my system was ready before I went to the race. Well my system was a little ahead of schedule. I laid in bed for a little bit after and thought about the clothes I already had laid out. I was going to wear my long sleeve shirt and a fleece vest, but decided to wear a short sleeve shirt and my throw away sweatshirt instead because the sun was out. I got out of bed just before 6. I quietly went to the kitchen, made my tea and went to take my shower. The house was quiet, everyone was sleeping and I was feeling very calm. I took my shower and got ready. My son woke up and found me in the kitchen and we had a few minutes together before my husband and Adrienne came out. I put on my clothes, pinned on my number and went out the door. I was on the road by 7:15 which was my goal. I arrived at the Cheshire High School 20 minutes later, way ahead of schedule. I parked my car and took a walk over to the race location. On the way there I followed two girls on a hunt for a bathroom. After finally finding one I started towards the finish line. I stood for the national anthem right under the flag and then walked to the starting line to see what the timing method was going to be. When I just saw a painted line on the road, I stayed off to the side on a grassy hill to wait for the crowd. While I was up there I spotted Dr. Pat so I met up with him and chatted for a few minutes and told him I wanted to run along the side so I wouldn’t get trampled. After a few minutes the race was on. He ran with me for about 20 yards and took off.

The first part of the race went through a neighborhood and up a bit of a hill, then around mile 3 we entered the canal. That was a wonderful section to run through. It was very flat and shaded. Miles 3 – 7 were on the trail and then we headed to the back roads of Hamden. They were a little hilly, but not too bad. But enough where on the second half of the half marathon they were harder. I had a gu pack around mile 6 and then needed another between miles 10 and 11. My ipod wasn’t properly calibrated so I was starting to struggle because the countdown was saying i had 3 miles left and I hadn’t seen the 10 mile marker yet. I was texting Kevin status updates at every mile to give him an estimate of when I would get there. In the beginning of the race I was pacing the mile markers approximately every 10 minutes. Then I was going through the calculations in my head to guess what my finishing time would be. I was miscalculating however cause I was thinking I would have a 2:15 finish time.

I felt good along through miles 3-7. The crowd was thinned out along the canal. So I was running alone. I felt like I was on a normal training run, but in a different neighborhood. I would pass a certain group of people, then my run/walk/run timer would go off and I would rest for a minute. Then I would start running again and pass them. This went on for most of the canal portion of the race. When I first started the race I felt silly for stopping to run only 4 minutes into it, but I had to stick to my guns and stick with that plan because that is how I trained. If I was foolish and kept running for the first few miles, then I would pay for it at the end of the race.

The day before the race Kevin asked me if I ever thought I’d do a half marathon when I started running. At first I said no. Then a few hours later I had a thought. When I started to casually run on the treadmill all the time I watched the NYC marathon and knew someone who ran it. I always thought that was admirable and always had a little piece of me that wanted to do something huge like that. So in a way, yes I think it is something that I thought I would do; but like many things in life, I think about them, but don’t always do them. When I finished my half marathon, I still had thoughts in my head like it wasn’t enough. Yea, many people don’t do half marathons, but it feels like I need something bigger. Like I won’t feel accomplished until I get that 26.2. So I think it is something I am going to strive for in the next few years. It is a HUGE commitment of time. I have been very fortunate that I had the time to train this past winter and had a fantastic winter to train during.

So now I think what next. There is a 10K in Cheshire on 9/22 that I’d like to run. Cheshire is a nice area to run in so I will do more events there. I may want to do the Hartford Half Marathon, but it does fall on Adrienne’s birthday. I am considering the New Haven Road Race 20K, and would REALLY love to do the Disney Half Marathon next January. I have some things that need to fall into place before I can make that decision, but it is a goal.

This is a video of me crossing the finish line.