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.
Miles 11-13: 7:42, 7:47, 8:04
Final Time: 1:52
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.
Oh, and if you run both Lancaster county half marathons in one year you can win a road apple award…
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.
Another highlight for L: a giant whoopie pie (Lancaster specialty, basically chocolate cookies with icing in the middle).
And I got to meet my friend Jen, from Miles and Blessings, who finished 3rd!!
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?