Just keep runnin’, runnin’, runnin’…

This was the mantra of my half marathon on Saturday. If you remember, I signed up for the Camp Chingachgook Challenge on a whim because it was about the same price of the 10k I was going to do the same weekend. I learned something from this experience: a race with the word “challenge” might not just be for alliteration purposes. I’ve never run a course with more hills in my entire running career. In April, I ran the Cooper River Bridge run in Charleston, SC and that was a hill (1 mile to the top)…

but it was only one and I knew it was coming. This race had about 10 hills that were spaced out from start to finish. At one point, I ran past a street sign that said “Top of the world 500 feet ahead” and I thought “that’s it. Next time I see the hubby I’m getting in the car and we are headed home”. But, I just kept running, putting on foot in front of the other and finally I made it across the finish line.

At 5:00 am, the alarm started beeping and I looked at the hubby and said, “let’s just skip the race… please!” I’ve never woke up on race morning and not felt excited, but for some reason, I did not want to run this race. I willed myself out of bed and decided to (in the words of the great Nike)  just do it. It rained all night and it looked like the bottom was about to drop out again which made a great cloud cover, but it was very humid. By 5:30am we were off the Lake George.

We arrived pretty early, but I prefer it that way. I checked in, got my bib + pins, my timing chip + twist ties (huh???) and no t-shirt (huh???).

I’ve never seen a timing chip where you use twist ties to attach it to your shoe. I also did not get a t-shirt because I had “missed the deadline” even though the website said “for the first 250 people registered” and there were fewer than 150 runners registered when I signed up. Not a huge deal because I don’t wear my race shirts often anyway.

The race started right on time (8am) after the race director let us know this was not a race you would set a PR on, so just enjoy the race. What did I get myself into?

How my husband successfully made me look even shorter than I really am is beyond me. 

My first few miles felt great and I was feeling positive. Mile 3 had a pretty big hill, but I got over it just fine.

Mile 1: 8:16
Mile 2: 8:37
Mile 3: 8:40

I know this picture was early in the race because I have a smile on my face still.

Around mile 5 is where I really started to feel tired as I had tackled 2 or 3 hills already. I started eating my shot block and made sure to get a good sip of water at the water stations.

Mile 4: 8:42
Mile 5: 8:44

action shot!

Mile 6 had a few back-to-back hills and my right leg started to bother me. My toes felt like they were asleep, my calf was on fire and my hip hurt. I would have paid a billion dollars for compression sleeves. Luckily, mile 7 and most of 8 (down in a cove and back out) were flat so I was able to recover some.  Those two flat miles were my only saving grace because I was almost to the point of tears every time I saw a hill in the distance.

Mile 6: 9:01
Mile 7: 8:41
Mile 8: 9:11

Mile 9- 10 were more of the same. Long, rolling hills with downhills to recover. Around this time, I used a gel (when you really want it, they are much easier to get down) and grab some water. From that point on, my eyelid felt sticky, so I’m pretty sure I was also wearing some gel eye shadow. At mile 10, the 10k runners joined our course to finish their last three miles. Normally, I hate when two distances are running at the same time because a 10k runner who is only three miles in should (in theory) be running faster than I am ten miles in. However, for this race, it forced me to pick up my pace a little and gave me the mindset that the finish line was getting closer.

Mile 9: 8:55
Mile 10: 9:06

At 11.63 miles, we were heading down a hill when I tried to pass a 10k runner. As I came up to him he asked how far I was (why I remember 11.63 miles) and told me to open it up down the hill. That gave me the motivation to fly down the hill and hit 12 miles.
Mile 11: 9:19
Mile 12: 9:10

The last mile went by fast since there were no more hills. The whole race I kept envisioning an uphill finish… just to be fitting.
Mile 13: 8:51 (27 seconds for the .1)

1:55:46 (official time) I crossed the finish… praising the Lord that I didn’t have to run anymore.

As soon as I found the hubby I let him know how much that course kicked my butt. His response: “I know. I drove it!” I could have punched him right then and there. He did stop every so often to take pictures (and he called his mother!) so I guess I’ll keep him.  Once we made it back to the car, I peeled off my wet clothes in exchange for dry ones while my husband held a towel around me. There was a bathroom at the finishing area, but my dry clothes were in the car and I was not walking more than I had to.  I’m pretty sure he made me moon a family or two during the changing process.

After a successful morning, we headed back home with half marathon #2 on the books. The course was beautiful and I wished I had my camera on me during the race. Luckily, the only way back to the highway was to the drive the course, so I was able to snap a few pictures.

:: Review ::

Cost: $40 for the half marathon and $30 for the 10k
T-shirt: Short sleeve tech shirt. I didn’t get one because I missed the deadline.
Course: Miles were not marked (other than spray paint on the road) and no police were present. Volunteers were at every turn and stationed at part of course where runners had to cross the road. Basically, run at own risk for most of the race.
Pre-race: Bathroom were available.
Finisher Medal: Honestly, disappointed. The 10k and 1/2 marathon finishers crossed the finish line mixed together so everyone got a metal. Not taking away from what the 10k runners did at all, but there was nothing to make my extra $10 worth it (except for 7 more miles of road). My major beef with the metal is that it doesn’t even say the distance on it.
Post-race: Bathrooms and showers available which was nice. For food, they had bananas, watermelon, hot dogs and pasta salad. They ran out of water though.
Award Ceremony: Didn’t stay too long, but male and female winner took home pies.


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