Hannaford Half Marathon Recap


Image result for hannaford half marathon

October 13, 2019 8 am

It seems like I’ve been planning this race forever. I registered for the NYC Marathon and then when I looked at my race training plan, my 20 miler was scheduled for this weekend. I ran this race back in 2013 (post broken foot) and since I run on this route often, I wasn’t particularly enamored with the race.

However, I did run the Hannaford Half Marathon as my 39th Half Marathon for these reasons:

  •  Many of my running friends were planning to run it. (Though in the end, they could not).
  • It is a popular local race and I would know many runners.
  • I needed a long run as part of my NYC Marathon training. so I could just add 7 to it
  • I found out that blogger and skirt sister Cari may be running it.
  • It is a “relatively flat course.”
  • Most importantly, I needed company for my 20 miles (and it turned to be the right decision since my running friends decided to race the day before.)

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan. I ran my last half marathon in September. I started a 18 week training plan to be ready for the NYC Marathon on Nov. 3.

As with my half marathon training, I did not really care about my week day runs. They were usually 3-4 miles. However, I did try to do longer runs on the weekend.

So I actually was not training for this half but preparing for Nov 3. Technically I was scheduled for a 20 mile run but just adapted the long runs to make this work.

The goal for this half marathon was finishing!! Not to race it and not to get injured!!!

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I learned some valuable lessons about pre-race prep during a previous race-cation — rest the legs and fuel adequately the day before the race.

So I went to the expo early to pick up my bib.  I met a lot runners that I knew and scored some good deals ($5 compression calf sleeves). For a small race, the expo was pretty decent.

Then the hubby and I drove to Lake George to spend a relaxing day on the boat with our friends.

carb loading, of course

We came home pretty early and I got together my race outfit.

Another restless night. I have not been sleeping well lately 😦

Race Day:

I’ll do my best to recap the race below. (Warning: it’ll be long…)

Since the race was supposed to be the last 13 miles of my 20 miler, that meant I had to get to the race start by 6 am and run 7 miles.

So 4:30 am wake up with my normal oatmeal and coffee pre-race meal. It was in the 40s and pretty chilly so I added my DIY arm warmers and gloves to my race attire.

It was pitch black when I started running on the trail and even with my knuckle lights, it was creepy.

So after a mile, I opted for plan B and ran along the main road for the next five miles, watching the sun come up.

Eventually, it was light enough to continue on the trail back to my car.

I ran the 7 miles way too fast since I was anxious about getting back in time, meeting friends, checking a bag.  But it turned out that I returned in plenty of time.

While I was running, I warmed up but now sweaty, I put my arm warmers and gloves back on. Brrr.

I chatted with many runners that I knew. This was a local race and it is very popular.

Soon I connected with Cari who was also running this race since she was here to visit her brother.

We hung out for a while and then headed to the start line.

My plan for this race, as usual, was to stop and walk briefly at every water stop (so I wouldn’t get dehydrated) and to stop and walk longer to eat a GU at every other water stop. I planned to walk whenever necessary and NOT RACE it.

You can watch a video of the course  here – https://youtu.be/DWsqeGaSxr0

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

Miles 1-4:

11:24, 10:10, 9:50, 9:50

Cari and I lined up together but I lost her right away. The race started in Colonie Town Park and we ran around the park for most of the first mile.  It was a bottleneck and you really could not make any headway. And this was the only hilly part of the course.  So after 7 miles, this was a perfect start for me.

After we exited the park, we were running for many miles along the bike path.  The foliage was beautiful and it was a slight downhill.

And as you can tell, I started speeding up and I was running TOO FAST!!

Miles 5-8:

10:30, 10:24, 10:49, 10:57

I stopped briefly at each water stop but by mile five, I was getting pretty hungry so I ate a GU and walked longer.

Eventually we left the bike path and entered the ugliest part of the course. We ran through Watervliet, along the noisy highway and past the Arsenal.

I was feeling great and sailing along until mile 7.  That’s when EVERYTHING started to hurt – my legs, feet, lower back and hips.

So I just painfully trudged along…I was not having fun.

Miles 9-13.2:

11:25, 10:52, 11:11, 11:32, 11:11, (.2 – 8:37)

I stopped around mile 9 for another GU and walked for a bit.  It was still painful to run but I knew I had to finish so I just pushed through it.

At least now we were on the Corning Bike Path with beautiful foliage and views of the Hudson River.

I chatted with a woman feeling the same way but she started walking so I continued on without her.

Finally with a little more than a mile to go, my running friend Chris appeared. She had volunteered to run me in. I told her that after 18 miles (my longest so far), I would no doubt be struggling. And I was.

She ran with me but I stopped and walked quite a few times. The finish line seemed to so distant.

And then I saw it and my running friends with cowbells, cheering me on.  It definitely lifted my spirits and I got a second wind.

I tried to sprint as much as I could (after 20 miles) and I crossed at 2:22:05.

Much faster than I had planned. I was thinking that at marathon pace, it would be around 2:45. It was also a course PR.

After getting my medal and some water. I headed to bag check to put on my race shirt and then to get some food.

I got an additional medal because I ran the Helderberg to Hudson Half in April.

I ate a banana with some chocolate milk and posed for the obligatory medal photo.

I bumped into another friend who is also running the NYC Marathon. She had a PR and was then adding her 7 miles afterward.  Yes, of course, this is what I usually do and the thought did cross my mind so I could have a decent finish time (and win an AG award). But I do think I made the right decision. I was glad to have my 20 miles done.

I headed back to my friends and I celebrated my run with this:

Additional Race Reflections:

The Good:

  • Easy packet pick-up.
  • Decent expo for a small race.
  • Lots of parking.
  • Sufficient number of port-a-potties. At the start and along the course.
  • Sufficient number of water/Gatorade stops) – 1 had Gu
  • Bag Check. Easy pick up at the end.
  • Well marked course.
  • Free Massages at the finish
  • Clocks at several points in the race.
  • Very cool medal.
  • Chocolate milk at the finish.
  • Shuttle bus from the finish to the start.
  • Great weather.
  • Beautiful course in spots.
  • Extra medal if you ran the Helderberg to Hudson race in April.

The Bad:

  • The middle of the course was pretty boring.
  • The course was a little long.

The Ugly:

  • Nothing 🙂

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. It was well-organized. The course was mostly flat and scenic at the beginning and end.

Final Stats:

I have yet to figure out how to negative split a long race.

My finish time was the slowest I’ve had in many years. But not a bad time considering it was a training run. Definitely not complaining. No injuries. (But my first post race discomfort.)

Next Up:

The Big One: NYC Marathon in 3 weeks!!!!!!!!!

Image result for nyc marathon

Nov. 3, 2019


There is a link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).

Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these ladies and you should too.


I’m linking also up with Coaches Corner–Debbie and Marc.

and Wild Workout Wednesday with Nicole, Annmarie, Jen, and Michelle.

Happy Running! Ever run this race? Which do you prefer – flat or scenic? Do you run half marathons as training runs for a full? Please share.

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18 thoughts on “Hannaford Half Marathon Recap

  1. Technically my half PR was a training run for 1812, but then, I never planned to really race 1812, only to finish so it worked out just fine.

    I was always surprised at how soon things started to hurt after 13.1, even at a relatively slow pace. I guess that prepares you (not me) for the marathon miracle, aka the last 10k (that’s what I’ve heard it called, anyway).

    Never done this race. Never plan to. Glad it went well for you & you’re feeling ok.

    Like

    • I was worried since I’ve never hurt after a race or even after the 14,16 & 18 training runs. But I was relieved that the next morning all the pain was gone. Phew.

      Never say never. I love the race atmosphere. I recommend races as training runs (as long as you know that they are not races.)

      If your half was a PR, I doubt you ran it like a slow easy training run. LOL

      I know my time was not SLOW but it was like 6 minutes slower than my PR. So slow and easy for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That had to be tough (mentally as well as physically) running those additional 13.1 miles after the seven miles earlier. But, you pulled it off, and still with a decent finish time. A few years ago, I did a similar thing when I was training for Route 66 and did not want to miss out on my beloved Des Moines 1/2…but I ran three miles before, then the 13.1, then three after (I think?). The post-race miles were slow and challenging LOL Congrats, and welcome to TAPER!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think that you made the right decision to run the miles before the race. That always seems to work better for me because after I finish a race, in my mind I’m done with running for the day lol.

    Awesome job on nailing this 20 miler. You are so ready for NYCM!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! This was your FINAL 13 miles of a 20-mile run? You are doing awesome! I have long wanted to do the Hudson Mohawk marathon, but now I think I may want to do the half instead. Such a pretty place to run.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You did great Darlene! It is hard to do a training run in conjunction with a race whether it is before or after a race. Your finish time is awesome considering you had just ran 7 miles. Bummer you haven’t been sleeping well lately. Hope that changes since you are so close to the marathon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yay on course PR!
    Funny that you felt it was a little long. This was the closest my watch ever came to actual race distance. It was under 13.2, I think.
    I would do this again if the stars aligned schedule wise, but the middle of the course is why I don’t really like the back half of Brooklyn or the Bronx 10. Give me scnenic. Save for the Arsenal, Cohoes/Watervliet were not scenic

    Liked by 1 person

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