As I have mentioned before, lucky AJH got us accepted in the VCM relay. I was surprised and excited. I have heard so many good things about this race.
We named our team: Age Groups Rock (Bib #6084) after AJH’s blog.
Since this half marathon was unplanned and I have another one in 3 weeks, I planned to run this race for fun – Just enjoy the experience and the scenery without the pressure of a getting a certain finish time.
I also developed a sore foot during my last half so my training had been not been spectacular. In fact I haven’t run more than 3 miles at a time in weeks.
Plus spending 8 days with 9 of your closest friends and playing tennis, shopping, going to the beach, restaurants, etc. is exhausting.
AJH was nice enough to let me stay with her the night before so I didn’t have to do the long drive in the morning and could go to the expo.
It was about a 3 hours drive from my house. So I arrived in Vermont on Saturday around 11 am. What a beautiful drive. AJH really lives in the country and the scenery was gorgeous. After I arrived, we immediately headed to the expo.
I had never done a race this big and the energy was contagious.
I took advantage of ALL the free samples and only bought a VCM tee shirt and hat.
The highlight however was a chance meeting of Deena Kastor and getting her autograph.
After the expo, I got a brief tour of Burlington which included Church street.
Then we went out to lunch at a restaurant called “The Skinny Pancake.”. We needed to start carb loading for the next day.
Then we walked around the waterfront where the Marathon would finish the next day.
Soon it was time to head home and get our stuff ready for race morning and have our pasta dinner at home.
We got up early the next morning (around 5 am). I was still pooped from my Florida vacation and I never sleep well before a race or in a strange bed so I was nervous.
Would I have enough energy to run? And my feet? Would they hurt less than my last half!! Would I not keep AJH waiting too many hours?
I had my usual breakfast of oatmeal and tea and we were on the road by 5:45.
I had asked AJH if I could do the first half since I would be too nervous to wait around… She’s done the first leg before and was nice enough to agree.
We got there early and got a great parking spot and walked to the start. It was quite cool – in the 50’s with a breeze but the weather was predicted to be sunny and 80 degrees.
I did keep my jacket on until the last minute and then handed it to AJH with a bag to bring to my finish/her start.
Believe it or not, in a crowd of thousands, I bumped into Andrea, my roommate from the Love Run Half last year.
She was running the full. I also got to see her finish.
Soon it was time to line up. I started with the 10 min pace group and chatted with a lovely lady who was running the relay with her daughter.
It was very crowded and it took me almost 3 minutes to pass the start line and even longer to start actually running.
I was feeling great at the start. Unfortunately that didn’t last. But I thoroughly tried to enjoy my experience at this race in spite of anything negative I was feeling physically.
I saw AJH and her friend Heather twice at the beginning and Heather once later. The crowd support was amazing. The best I have ever seen at a race!
I didn’t see any the photographers but there were some near the start for the first leg and near the finish for the 2nd. I never really looked at them but it seems that I was happy the time I passed them. That will change as you will see.
I loved running through the streets and neighborhoods of Burlington. The enthusiastic crowded really helped to make this a great race.
Eventually we would leave the crowds and run on the Beltline – 2 miles out and 2 miles back. This was my least favorite part. It seemed like a endless uphill. It wasn’t steep but it was long and there weren’t many supporters.
The good part was that the predicted warm sun left us. It was cloudy, breezy and a little chilly.
The bad part was that my left foot (the one I thought would hurt) felt fine but right one which is always uncomfortable was painful the whole race. And at this point I was feeling my lack of training. The missed long runs was causing me to slow down and walk. But I was ok with walking the hills and the water stops. I had no time goal for this race and I wanted to enjoy it. On this part of the course, you got to see the fast runners and then after the turn you got to see the runners behind you.
Finally we left the Beltline and returned near the start. The crowded were back but I was tired!!!
No more smiles!! I wanted to done. And now it was raining on and off. Sunny and 0% of rain???
So I walked more and more. There were lots of water stops and in addition to ones organized by the race, there were many in between by supporters.
The worst part of the race for me came at little after mile 10. I got really bad stomach cramps. (Never had that happen during a race.) I did make to the finish without a disaster but it was not fun. I could barely run for the last 3 miles.
Finally you can see the finish line but you have to run around the neighborhood with an annoying uphill before you get there.
I was happy to cross and my time wasn’t as bad as I had feared. I handed my wristband to AJH and she gave me our bag of clothes.
Then I got my medal.
At this point, the sunshine and warmth that they had predicted arrived. I was worried about AJH having to run in these temps. But she was fine.
After using the porta-pottie, I grabbed some food but really was not feeling hungry – there was fruit, chocolate milk and bagels.
My feet were toast but I had to walk a long way (a half mile that seemed longer) to catch the shuttle to the finish. After the shuttle dropped you off, you had to still walk more. Oy!
I passed the drummers which was cool.
When I approached Waterfront Park, I was overwhelmed.
Wow, was it crowded! I instantly felt better. The enthusiasm from the finishers and their supporters was contagious.
I wandered around searching for the food tent. Everything was so organized. In addition the usual, they had a bag of Moe’s and pizza. There was also a beer tent.
I walked and walked in order to find a spot at the rail to watch the runners approach the finish line.
I think I was here for about an hour and really enjoyed it.
Of course, you got to see the 5 person relay racers who looked still energetic and some of the marathon finishers who looked like death.
I got to cheer on AJH
and Andrea who was finishing the marathon.
I then met AJH at the food tent. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much left.
So we stopped on the way back to the car.
AJH told me about her leg of the race. I almost regretted my choice to start first. I would love to run along the bikepath and I think finishing along the water would be nice.
So if I do this race again (and I want to), I would like to try the second leg of the relay:
At the half-way point of the course, enter Oakledge Park and run alongside Lake Champlain for 2 miles. Mile 15 brings the Assault on Battery; 6 blocks climbing Battery Street. You’ll see musicians and throngs of spectators to inspire you up the hill. The next 6.5 miles take you out North Avenue on gently rolling terrain through many shaded neighborhoods. A steep downhill at mile 21.5 brings you to the Burlington Bikepath, which provides beautiful lake views and flat to slightly downhill terrain over the last 4.5 miles. Your finish and all post-race festivities occur in Waterfront Park where you’ll be greeted by thousands of cheering spectators.
All in all, I am satisfied with my time. I didn’t train well. I had foot and stomach issues and I didn’t let them ruin the race.
mile 1 – 10:02
mile 2 – 9:46
mile 3 – 9:59
mile 4 – 9:49
mile 5 – 10:17
mile 6 – 10:50
mile 7 – 11:09
mile 8 – 11:48
mile 9 – 12:35
mile 10 – 11:11
mile 11 – 12:44
mile 12 – 13:21
mile 13 – 13:03
.14 – 9:42
Chip time – 2:25:24
As you can see, my race went downhill after mile 6 and got ugly after mile 10.
Well, there will be more races…like in 3 weeks. Gulp! I also have one scheduled for Oct. 10.
This was my 13th half marathon – 6 have been faster and 6 have been slower.
If my feet continue to fail me, I may just have to settle for running shorter races. And that’s not so bad. It’s still running!!!
Happy Running! Anyone run the VCM or another race this past weekend?