This was my third race weekend in a row, but I decided to take it easy this time around and just do a half marathon 😉 The truth is this wasn’t so easy for me, but I was pretty pleased with my final time considering how slow my training runs and other races have been lately.
This race was only an hour’s drive away, so for the first time in three weeks I didn’t have to get a hotel for a race weekend. Instead, I just had to wake up about 5 hours earlier than I would have liked in order to get ready and get on the road. I decided to pick up my packet the morning of the race, and packet pickup was supposed to close by 7 (with the race set for 7:30), so I left the house at 5:40 a.m.
It was pretty much dark the whole way until shortly before I arrived to my destination – on the way I ate half of a regular bagel with PB.
Parking was easy and after picking up my packet at a church by the start, I sat in my car for a little while until it was close to starting time, because pre-race temperatures were cold, around 40 degrees. The race was supposed to start at 7:30 but we didn’t end up starting until about 15 minutes past that, so I had to stand and be cold a little longer than planned. But once we started running, it warmed up really quick.
The sun was out and high, and the course offered little shade. We headed out on Maplewood Drive, a four-lane highway where much of the race would take place. I assume the name of the race comes from the fact that we start near sort of a park (or at least trees surrounded by a walking path) and ran to and around at least two other parks on the course. But mostly we were running up and down Maplewood, with one lane blocked off for us and police there to divert traffic when we had to cross the street. There was one back street that led to the first park which cars were allowed to drive on, and some of them were pretty reckless, going way too fast considering all of the bodies running in both directions around them. At one point I stared at a driver going by way too fast, and even turned my head to continue giving them the evil eye, then said aloud to myself, “Really, person??” Other than that, the course was well-protected.
I tried to keep around 10-minute miles along the way, but I had forgotten to take an energy gel before the start, was running on less than 5 hours of sleep, and maybe – just maybe – am worn out from doing two marathons two weekends in a row. So by mile 5 I was already tired and by mile 10 I wanted to lay down on the ground. My miles got much slower, though I never stopped to walk, mostly because that would prolong the end of the race and I just wanted to finish!
The “medal” was definitely unique, made of wood with the same design as the T-shirt. Speaking of the shirt, I loved it! It not only was a technical T-shirt and had a pretty design, but they had gender-specific shirts which is almost unheard of for a small race, at least the ones I’ve done.
I had to sit down as soon as I crossed the finish, and I was offered both a mini Powerade and water. They were serving what smelled like jambalaya inside the church, but I wasn’t too hungry, so I went back to my car and changed into flip flops, took a few pictures of the race area, then headed home.