Celebrate Life Half Marathon Recap


Half Marathon Training

Lucky for me, I was able to train well since we had a rather mild winter here in the Northeast. In other words, I was able to fit in ALL my long runs. Since I ran a half marathon 5 weeks ago, I only needed to run 10, 11, 12, 8 miles and I ran 10, 12, 12, 10 so I should have been ready.

As I have mentioned many times before, I don’t ever follow a serious training schedule.  I don’t do sprints, hill repeats, intervals and all those things a runner is supposed to do. I just make sure than I do my long runs on the weekends and run a few times during the week (usually for 3 miles.)

For this race, I should have trained on hills.  But I didn’t so I suffered the consequences.

And of course, I planned my race outfit keeping my fingers crossed that it would be warm enough to wear it.


Skirt Sports tank & new skirt, compression socks, Nike shoes

I mean it had been 80 degrees several days before the race.  But in March, you never know.

Pre-Race Preparations

This half marathon was certainly different.

I usually run my half marathons alone. Most are destination races too.

But this time, I took a bus down to the race with a bunch of old friends/new friends/strangers.

I had even convinced my running friends Judy and Barbara to come on the bus even though they were only running the relay. (It was supposed to be my friend Mary Pat but she got injured at the last minute.)

Last year, it was cold and it snowed so we were fortunate to have better weather this year. It was actually pretty perfect – 50’s, a little sun the first half, no wind.

Below is a map of the scenic course:

cl map

More importantly this was the elevation:

HILLY HILLY HILLY – the hilliest one I’ve ever run

Race Day

I got up early (like 4:30 am) and had my usual race breakfast of cream of wheat and tea. It was nice to sleep in my own bed for a change before a big race.

I met Barbara at the Park n Ride and we drove together to the bus. We were early and the bus left late but I knew people on the bus and before you knew it, we were there.

I had a hard time deciding what to wear.  In the end, I shed my long sleeved shirt and just wore a tank and my DIY arm sleeves.


in front of our bus – that’s the driver behind me

We got our race packets – a sweatshirt, a bag, etc. and then went in search of a restroom.

There were real bathrooms there but the line was very long so we used the one on our bus and then patiently waited for the race to start.


A lot of the race is a blur but here’s how I remember it:

Miles 1 -4:

10:13, 10:35, 9:59, 10:49

There were pacers so I lined up between the 2:15 and 2:30 group.

the start – pic from FB

We began running on a country road. None of the roads were closed to traffic so you had make sure you ran on the right and moved out of the way when a car drove by. (In fact one runner actually got hit by a car and was air lifted to a local hospital.)

Me toward the beginning of the race – pic from FB


Most of these pics are screen captured from GoPro video posted on youtube – Thanks 100 Half Marathon Club member

Soon we passed the stretch of road with all the signs dedicated to persons who battled and/or battling cancer.

I had one for my friend Ava.

And then we started up the biggest hill of the race. It was early on and I didn’t want to zap all my energy so I walked up it as fast as I could.


Soon we entered the part of the course that resembled a park.  Lots of trees.  And rolling hills, of course.


Next came the part of the course with lake views.  But the hills kept coming and coming and coming. It was pretty and the views of the lake helped take my mind off the fact that I hate hills.


My legs are not used to hills and I didn’t feel prepared to run up them so I walked.  I wasn’t alone, many of the runners were doing the same.  And the ones who struggled up the hills weren’t going much faster than me with my fast paced walk.  Many times, I caught and passed them on the downhill.

In addition to the hills, I also stopped at each water stop.  There were at least every 2 miles in the first half and every mile the second.


just posing for the photographer

Miles 5-8:

10:24, 10:42, 11:14, 10:35

Although I took a Gu before the race, my breakfast was at 5 am and I was getting hungry,  So I took another around mile 5.


We ran around Wolf Lake for several miles.  In addition to the lake, there were a lot of interesting houses and cottages.  But the hills continued and continued.  UGH!

And I was walking more and more but still happy to not have any pain. I had quite a few conversations with fellow runners.  It’s easy to do when you are walking so much.


Finally around mile 7.5, I came to the relay exchange.  There I saw Barbara who was waiting for Judy.  She cheered me on.

Right after that, came another huge hill.


my favorite sign

And then there were more.  The hills never seemed to end.


Celebratelife2016-873 (1)

again posing for the photographer

Miles 9-13:

11:54, 10:55, 11:09, 11:14

Around this time, I took another Gu hoping that it would give my legs some pep to power up those hills.


Nope, the legs still wanted to walk up those hills.  Even Barbara who started about 7 minutes behind me passed me by. But at least, I had the energy to run down the hills.


wine, beer and donut holes here!

Soon we were passing those motivational signs again and heading toward the finish.


Every time, I thought that it would be “downhill from here,” there was yet another uphill.

Mile 14:



Eventually, I did see the finish line and gave it everything I had and sprinted across it.


can you see me? behind the guy…

Garmin time: 2:22:40
Gun Time: 2:23:15 (no chip time)


earned this one!!

Both Judy and Barbara were waiting for me at the finish line.  We headed inside where there was a barbecue sponsored by Outback Steakhouse.  We made the mistake of having pasta outside.  With our food band cut off, we couldn’t eat the food inside (which had a much bigger selection.) So I just chatted with some runners that I knew and then headed back to the bus.

Although we were supposed to leave at 1 pm. We didn’t leave until after 2 pm.  I’ll know for next year not to rush. Somebody made cupcakes and passed them around the bus so I was a happy camper.


group pic – we got a trophy for having the largest group

Additional race reflections:

The Good:

  • No rain!!
  • Perfect running weather – cool, no humidity or wind.
  • I knew lots of people at the race.
  • Nice sweatshirt as race swag
  • Warm place to wait before and after.
  • Real bathrooms.
  • Pacers (at 15 min intervals.)
  • People calling out times at each mile.
  • Decent crowd support. A lot of kids high fived me.
  • Many Gatorade & water stops
  • Unlimited Gu packets at one water station
  • Scenic course with lake views
  • Early start for slower runners and walkers
  • Relay option for those who didn’t wait to run 13.1 miles
  • The Bus – nice not to have to drive & find parking
  • No injuries. Nothing hurt.
  • I finished.

The Bad:

  • Pacers were for both early and regular starters so it was confusing to know which was which
  • Unorganized regarding rides to and from the relay transfer spot
  • Uneven refreshment options – pasta did not include what the barbecue did such as bread, salad, etc.
  • I wasn’t sure how much I should push myself on the hills so I walked them ALL…probably could have pushed myself more

The Ugly:

  • the Hills
  • the Hills
  • the Hills

So there are many more positives than negatives!!! Overall, it was a good race!! Running with friends is great. Supporting an important cause is the best!

Would I recommend this race?

Definitely. But you better train on hills.  I suck at hills and next year, if I run this race, I will only do the relay.

Final Stats:


4th in my AG (top 3 were under 2 hours)

And I definitely walked more and slowed down (as usual) during the 2nd half of the race.

I wasn’t thrilled with my results.  But I wasn’t unhappy.  After all, I didn’t train for hills. It was far from my slowest time.  In fact, it was faster than the one in December on a flat course.

Every time, my lower back started to ache, I fixed my form and stopped hunching over my shoulders.  And my awful feet only received some minor blisters.

The day after, I felt great and was even able to go for an easy run.

However, if I want to run another hilly course, I’ve got some work to do…

Deb Runs

Every Wednesday, the Deb from Deb Runs will be providing a word about which to blog. Kind of like a nice little blog prompt. Posts can be fitness or health related, but don’t have to be, so really anyone can play along. Just be sure to link up with InLinkz on Deb’s main post, and share the love by reading and commenting on other’s participant’s posts.

This week’s word is Shenanigans.

The only “silly, high-spirited, mischievous or deceitful behavior” I can think of are those goofy poses during my races (even when I feel at my worse) or racing in a costume (which I have only done a few times.)

Eau Palm Beach Half

This photo was taken during that horribly, hot, humid race in Florida.  I felt like crap and my time sucked yet I gave the victory sign to the photographer…. deceitful or mischievous???

I’m dressed as a “parrot head”


Above are my costumes for Halloween, Christmas and St Patrick’s Day races.  Silly or high-spirited?  Barely…

Happy Running!  Have you ever run a race just for the cause? How do you handle a hilly race? Any shenanigans you’d want to share?





20 thoughts on “Celebrate Life Half Marathon Recap

  1. Well, as we know, if I’d run the full half I would’ve come in far after you and I didn’t walk up the hills (just walked where my watch told me to and through the water stop).

    I really do love the cause for this race. Still working on my own recap, won’t have it up til the weekend at least — but am very glad there was NO SNOW. Except where were the donuts for the relay people, hmmmm?


      • Yeah, I know the donuts were later on, I’m just saying we worked hard, too! I actually think the race was very well done, but I have a few suggestions, too (but I’ll give Myriam time to relax a bit first).

        The brownies on the bus were just fine. 🙂

        I ran/walked up the hills. Whatever my watch told me to do; it works for me. I was not chatting with as many people because there just weren’t as many people around me — but there was still some chatting, and lots of chicken going on.

        One guy in particular kind of annoyed me, he kept almost running into me. I was happy to see that I beat him to the relay exchange (I think he was doing the whole half, but I got to the relay ahead of him).

        Anyway, I’m pretty sure there would have been a major slowdown if I’d done the whole half. I already slowed down mile 7 — usually around mile 8 is where I start to get tired, so you have to remember I didn’t run as far as you did, not by a long shot!


        • Still it was a tough race. Remind me of this if I even mention running it at anything other than a relay.

          I bet that it is really hard to organize a big race. I certainly wouldn’t want to have the responsibility but I think that the food and relay organization could be improved.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, that’s horrible that someone got hit by a car! I always worry about that when the roads aren’t closed 😦 But it does look like a beautiful race. Those hills though. My race was hilly last weekend too. I had done some hill training and I still ended up having to walk a lot of the up hills. Like you said, I felt like trying to run them wouldn’t have gained me much speed anyway.


  3. I just read your reply to the comment above and see that the runner who was hit by the car is going to be okay. Weren’t there cones to keep the cars away from the runners, or did you have to move over to the curb if a car passed? If so, it doesn’t sound very safe.

    Those non-stop hills sound horrible…

    Thanks for linking up!


    • Some parts had cones but most did not and there was a lot of traffic. So you had to pay attention and some runners wear headphones.


  4. Hey…I think I have the same Mizunos you’re wearing in the last two pics…are they Wave Inspire 8’s? Those were my first pair of Mizunos, and I LOVED them!!!! Unfortunately, I can only wear them for very short runs now (but they got me through two marathons and many training miles in between). Hills…..although I sometimes curse them (out loud), I do like the power they give me 😉


  5. Oh man, HILLS. You know they are not my favorite! Congrats on making it through that race…sounds like a tough one! Glad to read in the comments that the runner who was hit by a car is OK – geez, I am always very cautious when I run by myself, but I sort of expect more protection during a race. 😦


  6. Oh Darlene, hills are my nemesis since I have none to train on. I do try to run on some hills when I visit my Mom in MA, but it isn’t nearly often enough. that course had pretty rough elevation, but I am impressed with your results. Great job. You really earned that medal!


  7. You did so well!! That is a lot of rolling hills and few big ones lol I have run a few hilly half’s and I just do it for the fun. It can not be a goal race lol
    I am surprised the race was open road, we have a few of those here, usually 10K’s and I have not run one. That is sad someone got hit. It does look super scenic though, I like course that are relaxing, I think the traffic would get to me.
    At least it wasn’t raining! Always a reason to smile.
    I can’t believe you got stuck behind a nine foot high guy at the finish!


  8. Pingback: TOLT: Every Picture Tells a Story – My First 5K and More…

  9. Pingback: Empowerment & Global Running Day – My First 5K and More…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.