Almost two weeks ago I went to Vermont to run in state #33. Jaime and I had registered for this race back in December and it sold out in a few hours.
My flight left at 7am with a layover in Baltimore and that is where Jaime boarded the plane. I had not seen her since November for the Tulsa Route 66 Half Marathon. An hour later we were in Manchester, NH picking up the rental car and on our way to get something to eat cause we were starving. We found a cute and delicious sushi place not too far from the airport.
Then it was time to head out to Vermont. Beautiful drive!
The race directors did a good job of sending emails on a regular basis with helpful race information. Somehow we missed the part letting us know that bib pickup was only available on race day. Jaime and I arrived in Woodstock (cute little town) only to find out that we were to pick up our bibs the next day. We’ve both run a lot of races and have never heard of such a ridiculous thing. We know some races offer bib pickup the day before AND on race day but never only on race day. Well, since we were there already we walked around for a bit. Jaime found a magnet for her collection. We went inside another store and they were offering complimentary drinks for the customers.
For dinner we went to a Mediterranean place and ate hummus, falafel, zucchini pancakes and a bunch of other things. I had woken up really early that day for my flight and was asleep by 9:30.
My body likes messing with me and I was awake at 4:30 but really it was 3:30 since I was still on central time. An hour later I got up, got ready, and went downstairs to see what was available for us at the breakfast buffet. There was fruit, bagels, cereal, oatmeal and other stuff. My favorite was the pancake maker. I made two of them for me and went back upstairs.
The race began at 8:15 so why the heck were we leaving our hotel at 6am?! Well, we had to drive to Quechee Village Lot, leave our car, and then get on a shuttle bus to take us to the start line at Suicide Six Ski Area. The whole trip from the hotel to the start line took 45 minutes. That meant we had to wait 1 1/2 for the race to start. It was cold. I took a long sleeve shirt and was still cold. I used the port-a-potties after I got my bib and once again before the start of the race. We were both annoyed that we had to wait so long for the race.
Finally it was time to run. I took off my long sleeve shirt and wrapped it around my waist. I knew I was going to be hot once I began running. I had clear instructions from my coach. She told me to run miles 1-5 @11:30; miles 5-10 @10:45-11:00; and miles 10-13 to go as hard as I felt comfortable. I had every intention of doing what she planned for me. Did not follow her plan. I finished my first mile in 9:15. I couldn’t believe it because I did not realize I was going that fast. I did try to slow down and my next two miles were done in 10:07 and 10:28. At mile 4 (10:24) I stopped to take a picture. At mile 5 (10:46) I walked a little bit while I ate my energy gel. My watch lost connection at mile 6.24 and was working again 2 miles later. It was still way off based on the mile markers.
There was this massive hill around mile 8 and I just simply cursed. And I walked too.
At mile 12 there was this woman yelling that we were almost done and I seriously wanted to tell her to shut up. It really bugs me when people are yelling and screaming at the runners telling us we were almost done when we really were not almost done. You can say that to me when I am .25 miles from the finish line but not 1 mile away. I had taken an ibuprofen after mile 6 so my legs weren’t sore. Ha, once that wrote off I was sore for two days. Once I knew I was close to the finish line, I ran as quickly as I could and finished in 2:19:51 @10:41 average pace. I heard the announcer call out my name and said something about Chicago Cubs tickets.
I am very pleased with my finish time. It is my second best half marathon finish time. My PR (2:17:01) is still from the Hartford Half Marathon in 2013.
Then came the tricky part. My cell phone was not working so there was no way to get a hold of Jaime. I sent her two texts but they were taking a long time to get through. I also called her several times but got disconnected. Finally, by some miracle I got her text letting me know that she was next to the stage. I turned around to look for her and saw her walking towards me. In my text I told her that I would meet her by the car. I saw some cars up ahead and assumed that was where we left our car that morning. Wrong. We still had to hike almost a mile to get to the parking lot. Why make the runners walk almost a mile after running 13.1 miles on a hilly course? Plus, we still had to shower, check out of the hotel, drive to Manchester, and eat before Jaime’s 2:50 flight back to Baltimore.
Overall, I thought it was a very pretty course. The weather was perfect during the race. The shaded areas were wonderful. The volunteers were great. Great tshirt color too. However, the logistics were horrible. I am somewhat OK with the flight to Manchester and the 1 1/2 drive to the race location. I did not like the early wake up call (still better than Disney races), the long wait prior to the race, and definitely not the walk back to our car. Jaime and I had talked about doing again some of the races we’re run before such as the Little Rock and RnR New Orleans. The Vermont race is definitely not on that list. I guess maybe I am spoiled and like it when I can walk and it is easy to get to the start line and then back to the hotel after the race. I remember that for the Little Rock Half Marathon the start line was literally outside the hotel. I am NOT saying not to do this race but just giving you a little heads up on what to expect.
What has been your “most challenging race to get go?” Next race is Elmhurst 4 on the 4th. This will be my 3rd year running it and I am looking forward to it.