Race Recap: CHaD Hero Half Marathon and Cam’s Course Fun Run
The morning started out cold. There was ice on the windshield. 37 degrees. It’s been awhile since I have run a race when it’s been this cold so I wasn’t sure how to dress. And, I needed to make sure that I was in my Wonder Woman costume and that my kids were warm and in their super hero garb too. Today was the CHaD Hero Half Marathon and the kids and I would also be doing the one mile Cam’s Course Fun Run. This is a great local event that raises money for the Children’s Hospital at Darmouth, our local children’s hospital. This was my 3rd time running the half. Last year I ran as Bat Girl. We bundled up and headed to the buses for the race. Thankfully as race time drew closer it had warmed up into the 50’s and the sun was brilliant with no wind. It was going to be a perfect day to run!
The atmosphere at this race is nothing but positivity and you see people in costumes ranging from Captain America, to the Hulk, to Wonder Woman. And so many kids. This is a family event and so many family’s from the community participate in the races. There is a 1 mile fun run, a 5K and a half marathon. The 1 mile fun run starts first. My daughter Piper stayed back a bit to run with our family friends’ kids who are ages 4 and 6. Brock wanted to be towards the front so we moved our way to the head of the pack. The race starts off led by Captain America on a motor bike. Brock started off fast and we ran in bursts and spurts never slowing to a walk. He really wanted to be at the head of the race. For me it was a good warm up with little sprints along the way. As we came into the finish he was determined to pass more kids and was so proud as he high-fived the Dartmouth Student athletes as he came into the finish line. Piper was a proud finisher too and had so much fun helping her younger friends to run the race.
After the finish of the fun run my friends and I grouped up. My kids were heading over to a friend’s house to hang out and cheer on the half marathon at around mile 5. I used the time to have a piece of banana and a little water and to use the bathroom. I was happy to see a couple of friends before the start including Sarah, Run Far Girl.
I decided to line up with the 8 minute/mile pace group. Being undertrained to run a half marathon I wasn’t quite sure how the race would go. All of the runners recited the “Hero’s Oath” and then we were off with the start of the starter’s gun. 5K runners and half marathoners started at the same time so it would be easy to get going to fast so I tried not to get too excited with my pace. Surprisingly when I got started running I felt really strong. The weather was ideal and I had made the right choice to run in short sleeves, Skirt Sports shorties with my Wonder Woman tutu and compression socks. The temperature was so comfortable when I was running. The first two miles passed in a flash and soon the 5K runners were no longer running with us as their course had gone a different way. I tried to relax into the pace and not to concern myself with looking at my split times.
When I am running I always try to think of songs that will keep me moving in the course. Currently any and all Maroon 5 songs are what get me moving since I just went to their concert in Boston the previous weekend. The song “Sugar” gets me moving and dancing in my head and has such a positive beat. There is a also a song called “Criminal” by country singer Linsday Eli that currently has me going.
My other strategy for staying positive in my head is to think about each mile as it comes as, “less than ______ miles to go,” rather than, “oh no! I’ve only gone _____ miles.” Flipping this thinking around helps me to focus differently.” After we split off from the 5K runners we had a nice little downhill and a run across the bridge over the Connecticut River into Vermont.
We ran up a little hill and I could see my kids and their friends cheering for me and the other runners up ahead. I was so psyched to get their high fives. I took my first GU right before I saw them making sure to grab one with caffeine for the little extra boost. By this time I had settled in with a group of runners and worked on keeping pace with them. We passed the Norwich green with lots of people cheering and a band playing and rounded the corner for some quieter running before circling back around the green again. After we passed the green again we got a nice downhill reward. I used this section to stretch my legs and to find relaxation again. There was another female runner who looked to be my age who I was trading places with. I wanted to stick with her as best as I could. When we arrived on the flat again she got out ahead of me a bit. Rather than let this stress me out I kept her in my sights and focused on strong leg turn over as well as strong arm swing. I took another GU at this point making sure to get it in before the aid station.
What goes down must go back up again. After the nice downhill and flat we came back across the bridge into New Hampshire to be greeted by a nice hill that took us up through the Tuck Business school campus as we came through mile 9. I knew my pace had slowed a bit at this point so I stopped looking at my watch for a bit. This is where I started to feel my lack of training a bit. We had to pass back through the green and the starting line again around mile 10. I got a little boost when I saw a friend who was cheering for me. I knew that there was a tough hill coming up ahead so I prepared myself mentally. The hill wasn’t as bad as I had remembered. I pushed up the hill digging deep for the strength that I knew that I had from CrossFit. At the top of the hill we turned down Rip Road. I heard the pacers behind me cheering runners on and knew I didn’t want them to pass me. Somehow I dug deep and was able to pick up my pace again and I even passed the woman who I had been trading places with for much of the race. This course is unforgiving. We had a nice downhill and some flats past the golf course but then the finish is back up a small hill and around a corner. I tried to sprint into the finish but my legs were toast. I got some great high fives as I came into the finish line just missing the cutoff to break 1:45.
Overall I was super excited to find out that I was 3rd in my age group (sadly discovered once I was home so I missed out on getting my prize finishers plate). Here is a breakdown of the race in numbers:
Place: 3rd place in Age Group 40-49
Half Marathon Final Time: 1:45.18, Average pace: 7:56 min/mile
7:58, 7:53, 7:44, 7:42. 7:33, 7:42, 7:46, 7:34, 8:11, 8:48, 8:33, 7:52, 8:09
This was by no means my fastest Half Marathon but I am so happy with the results because I ran hard, I ran my own race, I trusted my pace, I listened to my body and I stayed positive. This race left me hungry for more racing and definitely itching to race again soon. The half marathon was also great preparation for the Los Coyotes Trail Ragnar that I will be running in California in November.
What songs are getting you through your races and runs these days? When was your last half marathon?