Garden Spot Half Race Recap

It was so fun to participate in a race this weekend! I had no expectations for myself, at 24 weeks pregnant, and was looking forward to a fun run with hundreds of other runners.

The weather was gorgeous, and I loved running back through the country roads near where I grew up.  Garden Spot is a really beautiful course- we ran by some farms, Amish homes, fields, and had plenty of hills along the way!

I actually slept great the night before- knowing that I wasn’t “racing” helped with the usual race day nerves.  I had about a half hour drive from my parent’s house and had plenty of time to pick up my bib race morning and drop off my gear.

Everything about this race was so well run! There was a ton of parking, and dozens of volunteers directing the cars.  (The race benefits the Garden Spot retirement community and I assume many volunteers were residents- the ones I interacted with were some of the friendliest I’ve seen at a race).  The packed pick up was well marked, with many more helpful volunteers.

There were even volunteers by the port-o-pots to help direct runners into the empty ones and keep the line moving quickly.  The race started right on time, with a band (more Garden Spot residents) to send us off.

I lined up behind the 1:55 pacers, hoping to go under 2 hours but really having no idea what my legs would feel like and what was possible.  Most of my training runs were done at a 9:30-10:00 pace.

The sun beat down on us as we waited to start and I realized my light jacket would be too warm.  I ran over to the tent, dropped it off at the last minute (they had bags for us so it was easy to make a last minute decision like that) and then jumped back in.

The race started about 5 minutes later! We started and finished on a relatively flat stretch, but had some really good rolling hills in between.

Miles 1-4: 8:29, 8:21, 8:41, 8:29

Miles 5-7: 9:04 (hill!), 8:09, 7:45

The turn around during mile 8 was down a mile-long hill, with one sharp descent, so after we headed back we knew we had to tackle the short, steep incline followed by a long, uphill climb.

Miles 8-10: 9:07 (pee break), 10:14 (giant hill), 8:45

Finally, at about mile ten we had a mostly flat 3 miles to finish, with a very slight uphill on the last mile.

Garden Spot half finish

Miles 11-13: 7:42, 7:47, 8:04

Final Time: 1:52

Garden Spot half with L

Afterwards, there was a huge tent with tables and chairs and recovery fuel for runners: smoothies, chocolate milkshakes, omelets, wraps, granola bars, fruit, muffins, etc.  Pretty impressive spread.

Garden Spot half with my parents

I was happy to have my parents there!

Garden Spot mother in law

I love that my sweet mother-in-law came to see me race as well!

Oh, and if you run both Lancaster county half marathons in one year you can win a road apple award…

Garden Spot half road apple award
Road apples are a country term for…

Garden Spot road apple

All in all, a really fabulous race.  There were many more tables and chairs out in the sun, and concession stands for family to buy food and help support the retirement community so we all sat in the gorgeous sun for an hour, chatting and snacking.

Garden Spot half relaxing

Another highlight for L: a giant whoopie pie (Lancaster specialty, basically chocolate cookies with icing in the middle).

Garden Spot half giant whoopie pie

And I got to meet my friend Jen, from Miles and Blessings, who finished 3rd!!

Garden Spot meeting Jen

Thankfully, I felt great the whole time.  I did walk a bit up some of the steepest hills, but I felt like the hills around our house prepared me pretty well… or at least, prevented my from feeling too sore the next day.

This is definitely a race to check out if you’re in the area!

Did you race this weekend?

What’s the hilliest race you’ve done?

76 thoughts on “Garden Spot Half Race Recap

  1. Congratulations Laura….just hoping to run under 2:00 and you run 1:52/…..thats pretty damn impressive 🙂 Glad it was so much fun, and isnt it funny how the mindset you have towards the race allows you to sleep or not.

    The race I did this weekend, I approached it thinking it was just to win, but I knew I had a workout after….barely slept. The week before at Cherry Blossom, I knew I was not going to sleep with anticipation so I thought I would just lie there and relax…..slept well! Hahah
    Tina Muir recently posted..Ignite Naturals ReviewMy Profile

  2. Great job! Your splits look great! Ill be running a half in less than 3 weeks at 24 weeks+6days. I had to skip my 8 miler this weekend due to such a busy schedule :/ This post has me excited for my race! (&I need to order that tank!)
    Allie recently posted..21week update + the big revealMy Profile

  3. Way to go!!! You did awesome!!! I feel like there are no flat races around here but one hilly race I remember was a 25k I ran in Gloucester, MA! It boasted 17 hills and they were right!!! Up and down up and down the whole 25k!!!
    Fancy Nancy recently posted..Monday MotivationMy Profile

  4. I love the tank top and the little tidbit about road apples. Looks like the weather was pretty amazing… The hilliest race I’ve done is the La Jolla Half Marathon — it has this climb at the tail end of the half that can be downright discouraging. The San Diego Marathon and the San Francisco Nike Women’s marathon aren’t all that hilly (all they both have a few big rollers in there).
    Marnie @ SuperSmartMama recently posted..Small Running VictoriesMy Profile

  5. Lookin’ so happy! You’re seriously inspirational, rockin’ this like you do!

    Even though I run mostly on hills at home, so far my adult-onset “races” have all been flat, where I feel more confident. However, the breakfast spread at this one looks pretty inviting!

  6. Sometimes the smaller races are the most awesome. That post-race fuel sounds more like a full brunch. In the first picture it doesn’t look like you are showing that much, but the others really show off that terrific bump! So glad you had a great run and good time with your family.
    Coco recently posted..The 30th GW Parkway Classic 10 MilerMy Profile

  7. You did freaking amazing! I think it is so great that you are keeping up with your running while pregnant! You look great!

    I did a 10k trail race over the weekend. In the dark! Myself and two of my frunners got lost and we ended up doing a bit more than 10k. It was super fun and there was a great BBQ after.

    I think the hilliest race I’ve done in the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Fran. 2400ft elevation gain. Texas doesn’t have many hills like that to train on! 🙂
    Jolene recently posted..Weekly Chase 6.0My Profile

  8. Wow really great job. I’m glad you are contining to run during your pregnancy. Maybe I will have to do that half sometime! Though it’s the same weekend as Atlantic City, so I might become a regular at that one. LOL.
    Hollie recently posted..Appreciating the Time OffMy Profile

  9. Wow Laura!!! That is a fantastic time for being so pregnant! Good for you. I can’t wait until the baby is old enough to appreciate that sweaty pic of you with your belly. You are inspiring!
    Very cool that you were able to meet Jen too. I bet she’s as great in person as she is on her blog 🙂
    Allie recently posted..The Rundown: Just the FactsMy Profile

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