5 Things in My Bag

Happy Friday (and hello from sunny Florida!)

After reading a bunch of posts by some of my favorite bloggers who participate in the Friday 5 (a link-up with a variety of topics hosted weekly by Eat Pray Run DC, You Signed Up for What?!, and Mar on the Run), I thought it would be kind of fun to join in on the action! This week’s topic is ‘What’s in your gym bag?’ Well, I don’t have a gym bag right now (since I don’t have a gym membership!) But, my mom and I did just pack for our trip to Florida to run the Clearwater Distance Classic Half , so I thought I would share some of the items that are coming along in our suitcases.

Friday 5 Link-Up. 2 Generations Running

1. The Circle by Dave Eggers

“When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency… Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken… What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.”

I found this book in Barnes and Noble on Monday, and thought it sounded like a good read! I’m hoping it keeps me entertained in the airport and then by the beach or pool in Florida. 

New Garmin watch. 2 Generations Running2. My new Garmin GPS watch!

I recently traded in a couple of textbooks back to Amazon in exchange for an Amazon gift card. I put that money towards buying this beauty, and I’m so excited to use it! In the past, I relied on the MapMyRun app for keeping track of my pace and mileage, but it’s a little cumbersome to check that in the middle of a run. So I’m excited to use this in my speed work and tempo runs in the future.

3. My sneakers.

2 Generations Running

Because as beautiful as that looks, I think it would get a little painful after 13.1 miles.

4. My bathing suit/a couple of sundresses.

The weather in Tampa right now is roughly 50 degrees warmer than it is in New England.

2 Generations Running

The last race I ran, it was probably, oh 15 degrees? Yeah, let’s just say I’m pretty excited about 66 and sunny.

5. And lastly, my laptop! It may take a while for a full race recap to be posted, but be on the lookout for some shorter posts this week, as I would like to check in a little. 

Have a great weekend!

Mad Half Recap Part II

Need to read Part I? Get it here.

So remember how I said our room was an excellent bear-spotting location?

the view from our room at the White Horse Inn

Well, as my mom and I were snuggling down in our beds the night before the race, we heard a metallic banging sound. My mom excitedly looked out the window and spotted the silhouette of a bear running back into the woods! She was pretty psyched to have seen it, and we went to bed dreaming of friendly Vermont bears (the kind who don’t attack innocent runners who stumble into their midst). 🙂

Some of my best friends are runners.

Before I knew it, it was 5:20 and the alarm was going off. We dressed quickly and headed down to the dining room to check out the early morning spread for the runners. While there were plenty of freshly baked muffins, raspberry oat squares, bacon and pancakes, we sadly opted for bagels with a smear of peanut butter, a breakfast we know works well for us on long runs.

At the start/finish area of the Mad Half.

Excited to run! (Not at all scared about those hills, no not us!)

We then headed out to the starting area, about 5 minutes down the road. The race had only 1,000 runners, split between the marathon and half marathon distances. The great thing about there being so few runners – parking was a breeze!

After a little stretching, it was time to go. The National Anthem was sung, the gun went off, and we headed out! There was excitement in the air, and it was a sunny beautiful day to run. We crossed the first of several gorgeous Vermont covered bridges-

Crossing the first of several covered bridges in the Mad Half

and then the hills began.

My mom and I did our best to alternate power-walking with a light jog up the worst of the hills, and this seemed to work well. We weren’t setting any speed records, but we were enjoying the moment and the prospect of bagging another state (as a sidenote, we met many other runners who were also attempting to run a marathon or half in every state! So maybe we’re not that crazy…?)

You don't run the World's Most Beautiful Marathon without stopping to take a few pictures!

Another beautiful view of the mountains from the Mad Half

Another covered bridge.

We kept climbing and climbing- but what goes up must come down! While I deeply appreciated the fact that I was no longer running uphill, we had hit a fairly steep downhill stretch that must have lasted a good ten to fifteen minutes of running. I love me some down-hills, but this was brutal on the quads and ankles after a while.

Eventually we passed this sign, which made me laugh out loud (and pause to take a picture).

A sign along the Mad Half course read "Keep running, cows are watching"

Keep running cows R watching. We did see plenty of cows along the course, and many DID appear to have an ominous glint in their eyes. We successfully avoided all dangerous cow-runner interactions though! Phew… 😉

Our run-walk strategy worked pretty well, although we definitely modified it on some of the hills, walking a little bit more than the 6 minutes run-1 minute walk plan we had agreed on. Nevertheless, we managed to maintain a pace right around 10 minutes/mile.

Our mile splits from MapMyRun

On one of our uphill walk breaks, we fell into step with a young woman, commiserating over the ridiculous hills. She was running her first half-marathon with her boyfriend (who was running ahead). After chatting for a few more minutes, we wished her good luck and continued on.

Another view from the Mad Half

Just after mile 10, we hit another beautiful downhill section, and my mom and I were able to turn on a little more speed. My mom showcased her abundant energy in this crazy pic-

Running the Mad Half with energy to spare

At the bottom of the hill, we had only a mile or so left, and feeling strong, I pushed the pace a bit more, getting back down into the 8 minute/mile range.

Finally, after 2 hours and 14 minutes of uphills and downhills (and stunning views), I crossed the finish line, my mom only moments behind me.

the Medal from the Mad Half Marathon in Waitsfield, Vermont

Post-race treats-


Cold apple cider and cider donuts. They were AMAZING after such a long, sweaty run.

While we were hanging out near the finish, waiting to cheer on the first finishers of the marathon, who should come over to us but our new friend from earlier in the race! She was very excited to have completed her first half marathon (and much faster than she had expected!)


Congrats Alison!

Runners World writer and speaker, Bart Yasso was also at the race, having run the half marathon.

Bart Yasso at the Mad Marathon in Vermont.

What a great race! It was definitely one of the smaller ones we’ve run recently, but it was well-organized and fun. The views truly were gorgeous, and I had a blast, despite my griping about all the hills. I’m not sure it’s the race I would choose to run 26.2 miles (those marathoners looked tired!), but it was perfect for 13.1 miles. 🙂

After cleaning up back at the White Horse Inn, my mom and I drove into Montpelier to walk around a little bit. Not too long given how tired we were though! We did a little shopping, then headed back into Waitsfield, where we had a great dinner at the Akes’ Den.



We shared salmon with a sweet potato crust (top) and crispy fish tacos (bottom). Both were insanely good. 🙂

That night, we watched a little tv and then zonked out pretty early.

Monday morning, we slept in and took advantage of being able to eat the wonderful breakfast provided at the inn.

Breakfast at the White Horse Inn


French Toast from the White Horse Inn

Popover eggs scrambled with Vermont cheddar and French toast. And more bacon, naturally. 🙂

After the crazy-good meal, it was time to head home. Hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th weekend, and ate some yummy food too!

Mad Half Recap Part I

Well it is safe to say that “The World’s most beautiful marathon” (as it is described on the website) was also the hilliest half marathon my mom and I have ever run!The world's most beautiful marathon- the Mad Marathon in Waitsfield, Vermont.Despite all the crazy changes in elevation on the course, my mom and I had aFANTASTIC weekend and successfully bagged another state! 🙂 We kicked off the trip by first stopping by the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, Vermont. There was a bit of a summer crowd and we probably waited on line for 30-45 minutes, but our ice cream was well-worth the wait.Our visit to the Ben and Jerry's Factory in Vermont.After that, we got back on the road to go to Waitsbury and pick up our race packets before navigating our way to the little bed and breakfast we were staying in, the White Horse Inn. This little inn was adorable and so reasonably priced that we were able to stay for two nights, rather than just the one. There was a white carousel horse statue in the foyer, freshly baked cookies at all times (which were almost too yummy!), and a warm, cozy atmosphere that you just can’t get at a hotel. The owners were very friendly and gracious, and gave us a heads-up to keep our eyes out for bears! Apparently for the last month or so, bears had been visiting their dumpster, tempted by all the delicious smells. My mom was very excited when we realized our room had a nice view of where the backyard met the forest- and the dumpster. A prime bear-spotting location! After settling in and unpacking our things, we set out to explore the little downtown area and to drive the half marathon course.mad elevationI had looked at the elevation map provided on the race website, so I knew we were in for some hills, but boy oh boy, driving that course really brought those hills to life!The worst hill of the Mad Half!Are you seeing this hill?! My reaction on seeing this as we drove the course – “Are you KIDDING me?!” Sure, it had this nice downhill bit, but after that, it just goes up and up and up. Basically, we were going to have to run up a mountain.

There were some scenic views along the Mad Half course too.

the Mad Half Course

I will grudgingly admit that it was pretty darn beautiful, despite all those stupid mountains.

After seeing that course, we knew we were going to have to take it easy and not make the same mistakes we had made during the Heartbreak Hill Half (namely, getting a little too excited and going out too fast). We decided to try to stick to a run six minutes-walk one minute plan. By inserting more walk breaks earlier on, we hoped to maintain a strong pace through to the end.

Once we had finished driving the course (and thoroughly psyching ourselves out!), we grabbed dinner at a nearby restaurant, where we sat outside, enjoying the beautiful Vermont weather.

The all-important pre-race dinner.

I’m not usually a burger person – but this burger, topped with bacon, cheese, and caramelized onions served on a pretzel roll drew me in. I can honestly say it was probably the best burger I’ve ever eaten. My mom had steak with a creamy cheese sauce, and she said that was really good too. For two people who generally stick to a more veggie-based diet, we sure enjoyed our beef! We went to bed early that night, since we had our race at 7 am the next morning. Thankfully, the inn was pretty much full with runners, so everyone was very quiet and respectful, and we slept wonderfully in our big, comfy beds (quite a step up from the freezing cold Boston College dorms we stayed in for the Heartbreak Hill Half!).

Stay tuned for Part II to hear how the Mad Half went (and how we survived all those mountains/hills!)

Shamrock Half Marathon Part II

The next morning was Saturday, the day of the Shamrock Expo and the 8K race. My mom and I enjoyed sleeping in a bit, and then got up for a little breakfast and coffee before hitting the expo.

coffee breakfast

The expo was held at the Virginia Beach Conference Center, an absolutely beautiful building! We lucked out with the weather on this day – it was sunny, a little breezy, with temps in the low 70s. Perfect for a day of walking around and exploring!


At the expo, we got our race bibs and shirts, and then were free to look around at the huge assortment of vendors, selling all types of running gear. We saw some pretty funny T-shirts- one of our favorites read, “Run a 5K and drink beer like it was a marathon”.

We were tempted by some of these shirts



While we passed on most of the merchandise, my mom and I did make a couple purchases. We were looking at charms for running sneakers made by this company, BeeCause, when my mom spotted a charm that read “Mother Daughter”. It was too perfect to pass up! So we each got one to put on our sneakers.

The Mother Daughter Sneaker Charms!

race day 3

We also purchased a couple of running-related coffee mugs, because well, we do enjoy our coffee! 

After walking around the expo for a while, we decided to head over to the Virginia Beach boardwalk to walk around and take in some gorgeous views of the ocean. We tried to take some selfies too, but the wind made for some interesting hairstyles!

expo 9

expo 8



At least the photos of the scenery came out well! After walking along the boardwalk for a while, we decided to get some lunch. We both settled on seafood tacos – mine were made with grouper (a fish I’d never heard of before) and a chipotle sauce, and my mom’s were with shrimp and a sesame ginger/wasabi sauce. We were both so hungry that we ate them before getting a picture. Oops.


After lunch, we headed back to the expo to hear Runner’s World contributor Bart Yasso give a talk on the joys of running. Being avid fans of Runner’s World magazine, it was so exciting to hear one of our favorite writers speak about his experiences running literally all over the world (including places I don’t think I will ever want to run- like Antarctica!) It was very inspirational, and when we left, I was feeling pretty psyched about running the half-marathon the next morning.

That evening, we hung out and relaxed at the hotel. We had another secret package from my dad to open, so I did the honors…

race day1

More Snickers and peanut M&Ms! Got to get that pre-race fuel you know! After watching a little TV and enjoying our candy, we went to bed, knowing that we would have to be waking up early to take the 6:15 shuttle from our hotel to the starting area.

Before I knew it, my alarm was ringing and it was time to get ready. It was race morning! For some reason, I find getting up at 7 to get ready for class so much harder than getting up at 5 to run a half-marathon. Call me crazy! We made ourselves a little coffee and each had a Clif bar, and then it was time to go down to catch the bus to the start.

Race morning!

It was still completely dark out, but the atmosphere on the bus was cheery even at the early hour. We left a few minutes late, but I wasn’t too concerned. After a short drive, we were dropped off, about ten minutes away from the start. My mom and I started off at a brisk walk, chatting with a fellow runner. As we approached the buses where we were supposed to check our bags, I curiously checked the time on my mom’s phone – 6:56 and the race was supposed to start at 7!! Not wanting to panic my mom, I suggested that we jog the rest of the way. Luckily, there was no line where we needed to check our bags, and we were able to make our way over to the corrals as the National Anthem begun.

In hindsight, we definitely should have tried to get there earlier in the morning. It was a little hectic and stressful trying to make our way to our corral at the last minute. In the hubbub, someone even stepped on the back of my mom’s shoe, pulling it completely off! So she was hopping along on one foot, trying to put her shoe back on, while I was trying to find us a place to stand in the crowd (and regretting that there wouldn’t be enough time to use the porta-potties before the start). What I wish I had known, was that starting in corral 7, we did not end up going until almost 10 minutes after the first corral left! We had a little more time than my mom and I realized, but oh well.

Finally, it was time for our corral, and we were OFF! There were bagpipes, noisemakers, and music, and it was such an exciting and happy atmosphere! People had gotten very festive for the St. Patrick’s Day theme of the race, and it was like running through a sea of green. My mom and I both wore our new green race shirts, but they were covered up under some warmer layers, as the temps had fallen dramatically overnight, going down to the low 40s for the race. A little cool, but very comfortable for running.

The course itself was almost completely flat, which I was thankful for. After winding down some residential areas, we went down a road through a pretty, wooded area. Along one side of the road were signs with Irish-themed jokes and sayings. My favorite was “What’s Irish and stays out all night?”, the answer on the next sign read, “Patty O’Furniture”.  Cheesy I know, but they were entertaining to read as the miles went by. This race also featured more entertainment than any other race my mom and I have done. There were DJs and live bands almost every 2-3 miles.

Apart from a little pain in one of my ankles early on, my mom and I were pretty comfortable through the whole race. Having had a rough winter training-wise, I was content not to push for a PR, and to just try to cruise along and enjoy the experience. I was surprised and grateful that I was able to do just that! Through the first 5 miles, my mom and I averaged just over a 10-minute mile. I was happy to see that I felt good enough to manage a negative split, running an average pace of 9:54 from mile 5 to the end. It’s nice when you’re able to finish a race feeling strong as opposed to crawling across that finish line!

I ran with my mom just past the 10-mile marker, and then surprised at how strong I felt, decided to push myself to run a little harder for the last 3.1 miles. We made plans for reuniting at the finish, and off I went. The crowd support near the finish was incredible! All the cheering really added to the fun of the whole race.

Near the end, I was starting to feel it, and I was thrilled when I rounded the bend onto the boardwalk, with the finish line in sight. It probably wasn’t more than three quarters of a mile long, but the WIND! It was awful; I could actually feel it pushing me. And not in a helpful, tailwind-type way.  Ugh… I ran harder, just wanting to be done at this point, and finally crossed the line in 2 hours, 9 minutes. Not too shabby for my first race of the season! My mom ended up not being far behind, finishing in 2 hours, 11 minutes. We happily claimed our new medals, finisher hats, and some post-race snacks.

nora results

Our final results!

We got our bags from the truck, and then pulled on more layers, as the wind along the ocean was rapidly cooling us. Then, we went to check out the finisher’s party.

post race 1

The tent was packed, a band was playing, and it was a happy chaos. We hopped on a nearby line and got some beef stew. The salty broth really hit the spot after running 13.1 miles. My mom then went to claim one of her free Yuengling beers (Yuengling was one of the sponsors of the race). Sadly, I was not able to join her in having a drink, as I was still TWO DAYS away from turning 21. 

post race 2

I was NOT ready for a close-up after finishing the race!

After hanging around for a bit, my mom and I decided to leave in search of a more substantial breakfast. As we walked along the main road, we cheered for the marathoners who were passing us at around mile 18 in their course and battling the cold winds. We quickly came upon a little diner that was rapidly filling with runners, and stopped in.

New medal!

It felt great to sit down in the warm and cozy restaurant. We sipped our coffee and ordered some pancakes –banana ones for me, pecan pancakes for my mom. In my opinion there is no better way to celebrate a big race than with a nice, hearty pancake breakfast! We were served in no time despite the busy hour, and we devoured those pancakes in even less time. They really hit the spot after running 13.1 miles.

We caught the shuttle back to the hotel after, where we took nice hot showers and cleaned ourselves up. We also caught the weather report – it was looking more and more likely that another big snowstorm was coming, and this time, it was going to hit the midatlantic and southern states. And of course, it was supposed to hit the next day, when we were scheduled to leave and be driving all day. After consulting with my dad on the phone, we decided not to risk driving in the messy conditions and booked our room for another night.

Unfortunately, by this time the weather was already starting to get bad. A light rain had set in and it was getting colder. Not ideal for walking around and exploring.  Instead, we decided to do a little shopping at a nearby indoor mall for my upcoming birthday. It was great, apart from all the walking (or should I say limping).

The following day, we were again somewhat stymied as to what to do as the bad weather continued. My mom and I finally decided our best bet was to go see a movie at the very same mall since it also contained a theater. After some deliberation, we decided to see Frozen. It just seemed fitting with all the weather drama we had experienced over the past days! Apart from two other families, we had the theater all to ourselves.


We had the theater all to ourselves!

I had heard a lot of good things about this movie, and it did not disappoint! It was very cute and the songs were great! It was a really nice post-race day activity.

On Tuesday, we finally made the drive home. Again, it took us 11 hours, which is a long time to spend in a car, but at least the weather had cleared and the roads were fine. When we got home, there was a chocolate cake waiting, to celebrate my 21st birthday!!! (Thanks to my brother for picking out a good cake!).

post race 5

It was a great way to wrap up our first big travel/half-marathon excursion. Despite some snafus with the weather and many long days of travel, this was a wonderful race, well-organized, and filled with friendly people. And, my mom and I are now one state closer to our 50 state goal! Woo!!

Shamrock Half Marathon Recap Part I

Hey there!

WHAT AN ADVENTURE.  My mom and I just returned from successfully crossing off another half-marathon in another state!  This time we tackled the Shamrock Anthem Half-Marathon in Virginia Beach.

Let me tell you, the travel elements that went into this race were pretty darn exciting! The race happened to coincide with my spring break, so the plan was for me to get picked up a couple days before the race by my aunt and to then take the train home the next day. Well that would have been fine and dandy if not for a serious last blast of winter! The day before I left was sunny and mild, in the mid-forties. I went for a last run in shorts! The following day – the worst blizzard in decades. My school even cancelled classes for the first time in years! Luckily, that meant my aunt was able to come pick me up first thing in the morning, rather than waiting for me to finish up my classes. The conditions were becoming slippery fast. By 3 PM, the county closed the roads for travel, and if I hadn’t gotten out earlier, I would have been stuck! It was a crazy way to start the journey.

snowstorm edit

The day after the blizzard, I took the train home. It would have been smooth sailing… except for the 3 hour delay.  Ugh…  It was rough, but I finally made it home, where my parents picked me up and had homemade pizza waiting for me! That sorta made up for the long day of travel.

The following morning, my mom and I got up bright and early to begin our long drive down to Virginia. After a few cups of coffee, we were ready. Apart from some serious traffic on the George Washington Bridge in NYC, it wasn’t too bad. With a few pit stops, it ended up taking around 11 hours. A long drive for sure, but I was excited at the prospect of the fun weekend to come.

I would have to say the prettiest part of the trip was driving over the Chesapeake Bridge at sunset. Not being from the area, we didn’t really know what to expect, but the 20 mile long bridge really took us by surprise. I was able to snap a few pictures of the gorgeous sunset as we drove along.



Another fun part of the trip were the sealed boxes of surprise goodies my dad packed for us to open over the course of the trip. Each box was labeled with when we were supposed to open. We opened the first one at a rest stop in Connecticut and got… snickers and trail mix!! Nothing like some yummy road trip snacks!

Even with the snacks, music, and good company, it was a long drive, but we finally arrived at our hotel around 8 pm. After bringing our bags to our rooms and getting settled, we went to the hotel restaurant for dinner. I had some pasta with veggies (I was in a carbo-loading frame of mind!).

Tired and full from our late dinner, we went back to our room to catch some Zzz’s.

Check back later for Part II on the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon and Half-Marathon Expo and the race recap!

Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon

So we’re back with another half under our belts!

Saturday morning, my mom and I went for our last 3 mile run before making the drive up to Portland, Maine to pick up our race bibs and t-shirts. We’ve been looking forward to this race for a long time, so we were pretty darn excited. We have family friends (and former neighbors) who moved up to Maine so our plan was to spend the night at their house before making the drive into Portland for the race in the morning. So, we got to catch up and visit with them AND run a race – you can’t beat that for a good time!

I had made numerous lists to make sure we wouldn’t forget any valuable supplies at home, and thankfully, we remembered everything- iPods, GPS watch, gels, Clif bars, and of course, our sneakers (I was really paranoid about forgetting these!)

Our extensive supply of GU gels and energy chews!

Our extensive supply of GU gels and energy chews!

After picking up our bibs at a local running store, we had lunch in Portland, putting some of the finishing touches on our carbo-loading plan. I had a delicious pastrami sandwich and my mom had a black bean and chicken burrito. And then, of course, we had to top it all off with some of the best gelato I’ve ever had. Pure perfection!

We explored some of the cute, local shops and then met up with our friends before heading back to their house to relax and cook up some dinner- homemade lobster rolls, potato salad,  corn on the cob and a little green salad (my mom and I tried to go a bit light on the vegetables since it’s not a great idea to eat too much fiber the night before a race!).

Dinner before the race!

Dinner before the race!

All in all, I think my mom and I did a good job maximizing our carb intake and hydrating in the days leading up to the race. This was only my 3rd half-marathon (#4 for my mom), and we’re still experimenting a bit with nutrition and trying to find out what works best for us.

Race Day Recap~

The alarm went off very early on Sunday- 5 AM! We had to get ready, eat our breakfast (a White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clif Bar for me and a PowerBar for my mom), and grab our travel mugs of coffee for the drive into Portland.

My mom drove, I took pictures!

My mom drove, I took pictures!

Thankfully, we had zero navigational issues getting into Portland and found parking easily. Lots of runners were milling around, and it suddenly felt very real- we were going to run 13.1 miles!!

We dropped off our supplies at the bag drop area, and went outside to warm up. The sun was starting to come out in full-force, and it was already beginning to feel warm- a little foreshadowing of the race we were in for!

Before we knew it, it was time. We lined up in the starting chute around the 9:30 min/mile pace group. I was hoping to run roughly this pace through the first 5 miles, before increasing my speed to between 8:30 and 9 min/mile for the last chunk of the race. This strategy has worked well for me in the past, so I thought it could be done. I was a little too ambitious.

The vibe was cheerful and excited, and everyone was ready to go. The gun went off, and we were on our way! Everyone was packed together through the first 2 or 3 miles and in the excitement, I think our 9:30 min/mile group was doing a pace closer to 9 min/mile. But me and my mom felt good, so I wasn’t super worried.

The only problem was that early on, we both realized we were going to have to stop and use a porta-potty. This was frustrating, but I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal. Around the mile 5 marker, we stopped and had to wait in line for the 1 porta-potty that was stationed next to the water-stop. This probably added a solid 4 to 5 minutes onto our time, which made me anxious. We had been making great time up to that point! Oh well, I thought. You gotta do what you gotta do.

After the little pit stop, I felt better, and ran a bit like a crazy person to make up for the lost time. I’m not sure, but I was probably doing around an 8 min/mile pace at this point. I caught back up with my mom, and she told me to run ahead- she needed to go a bit slower.

So I continued on by myself, immediately tackling an intimidatingly steep hill. I was proud of myself for running up it (tons of runners were walking), but when I got to the top, I was out of breath, and needed to walk a little to recover. The worst of the hills were done by this point, but now the heat was ratcheting up. It was well into the 80s with high humidity- basically, anti-running weather.

By mile 10, I was dying. In my previous 2 half-marathons, I had barely walked at all, but this was a whole different story. I would tell myself I only had 3.1 more miles to go- I could easily run that, right?! Wrong. I tried to limit my walking breaks to around 50-100 feet before running again, and this worked fairly well. I was a little bummed that my aggressive pace had fallen off so sharply, but eventually, it just became about finishing. I passed a biker who was being attended to by paramedics- he was lying down in a shady spot with an IV in his arm! My mom told me later that when she passed, he was being put on a stretcher to be taken to the hospital. And he wasn’t the only one- 5 runners had to be taken to the hospital to be treated for heat exhaustion!

I felt like crap and started wondering if I was going to throw up and/or collapse. Not an awesome mindset to run the last 3 miles of a half-marathon with…

FINALLY, I passed the marker for mile 13, and I told myself to limp on just a little bit farther. By this point, I had 2 giant blisters- one on each big toe- that throbbed painfully with every step. Let me tell you, that last tenth of a mile felt like the longest distance in the world. I finally crossed the finish line at 2 hours, 11 minutes (about 10 minutes off my PR). I was handed a cold, soaking wet towel, which I draped over my shoulders and I hobbled away to get some water.

I went back to the finish line, and cheered for my mom as she crossed the finish line soon after at 2 hours, 19 minutes. We had both finished without any serious bodily harm, and that was what mattered.

Post Race~

After drinking tons of water and allowing our stomachs to settle a bit, my mom and I tried some of the free food they had for us runners. We tried the strawberry-flavored Yasso frozen Greek Yogurt Bars- SO GOOD! And just what we needed after that crazy run in the heat. We purchased a little race merchandise, and headed out to a nearby Starbucks for some post-run refueling.

It felt good to finally sit down and change into flip-flops

It felt good to finally sit down and change into flip-flops

Happy to be finished!

Happy to be finished!

We chatted as we walked, and I heard about my mom’s experience of the half- not good. Like me, she had to walk WAY MORE than usual, and also felt pretty darn horrible. But as we talked about it, we realized there was really nothing we could have done different. We had trained for it, and were definitely fit enough to run the distance. The heat and almost-complete lack of shade really messed with us. We’d also had to stop to use the porta-potty which added time. But, you can’t run a PR every single race. For the conditions, we had actually done pretty well.

We proceeded to reward ourselves with some mini (and very melty) Snickers bars with our Starbucks. My mom got an iced coffee and I indulged in a coffee light frappucino with extra coffee. Yummmmmmmm.

Perfect post half-marathon treat!

Perfect post half-marathon treat!

My coffee frappucino!

My coffee frappucino!

Me+Snickers+Starbucks = Happiness!

Me+Snickers+Starbucks = Happiness!

So, it wasn’t our fastest race, but it certainly wasn’t a failure. We triumphed over the crazy conditions and as my blisters heal (and my mom’s toenails grow back!), we’ll soon be ready for our next adventure! I CAN’T WAIT!