Life, Running

The Best and The Worst: Half Marathon Memories

Hi Friends:)

I’ve been living that #injuredlife for a couple of weeks now, so it’s been tough coming up with content for running-centric posts. I’ve been hitting the pool hard to keep my fitness levels up, and I’ve got to say, it’s nice to feel confident in the water for the first time in my entire life. Perhaps there’s a triathalon in my future…?

Anywho, I have run no less than ten half marathons. Possibly eleven; I’ve lost count. I’ve completed races in at least five states, running alongside a number of friends, through rural areas and city streets. There have been really good times, and also really rough times. So I wanted to share my hights and lows from my many races so far. 

 

 

Best Pre-race Expo: NYC Half, 2014. I GOT SO MUCH FREE STUFF. So many lara bars, and packets of leg cramps tablets. It was here that I first saw a fuel belt.

Worst Pre-Race Expo: Delaware Running Festival 2017; the expo was set up outside, and it poured so hard that the only vendor braving the near-hurricane conditions was the one selling the taurine energy gum.

Best Signage: NYC Half 2014. So many spectators, so many hilarious signs!

Worst Signage: Ipswitch Ale Half Marathon 2017, because there were almost no spectators and my race day buddy forgot this AMAZING sign at home.

 

 

Best Fuel Station Set Up: Boston’s Run to Remember 2014,15,16; The water tables are perfectly placed and super frequent along this course, and they even give out gels!

Worst Fuel Station Set Up: Ipswitch Ale Half Marathon, 2017: It was hot and there was only water (no gatorade or gels), and fairly infrequently. There was also a lack of mile-markers so I spent most of the race wondering where I was and how long I could go on like this.

 

 

Best Medal: BAA Half Marathon, 2016 {distance medley completion} I ran the BAA Distance Medley last year, so I got a GIANT combination medal at the finish line of the Boston Athletic Association Half Marathon this past October.

Worst Medal: NH Half, 2015. This is one of my FAVORITE races, but they give out tiny medals that remind me of the ones I got for participating in my elementary school’s read-a-thon.

 

 

 

Best Organization: Boston’s Run to Remember, 2014, 2015, 2016; The Run to Remember’s start and finish lines are unfailingly organized and runner-friendly. My mother usually comes as my race buddy for the RtoR, and she always complains that it’s tough for spectators to make their way around after the race. That said, finishers have a designated indoor area to wait for their friends and families, stretch, and refuel after the race, which prevents so much confusion.

Worst Organization: NYC Half 2014; Ahh, New York City, my former home. Like my entire NYC experience, this race was crowded, the people were rude, and I was confused a whole lot. At the starting line we were supposed to start in waves, but the waves plan dissolved and it took well over an hour for me to cross the start in 30 degree temperatures.

 

Best Course: New Hampshire Half Marathon, 2015; I love this hilly, rural, autumnal half marathon! It’s so pretty you don’t even notice the elevation gain.

Worst Course: NYC Half, 2014; Holy moly, did my knees hurt after running on the West Side Highway. The pavement there is actually harder than normal pavement, which makes it so, so challenging. Also, they make you walk nearly a mile after you cross the finish line before you can exit the corral and find your family.

 

 

Best After Party: Ipswitch Ale Half Marathon, 2017; There was beer in goblets (that I didn’t drink since I don’t do the gluten) and music and snacks, all right on Crane Beach in Ipswitch Ma! It was awesome!

Worst After Party: YuKanRun Holiday Half-Merrython, 2013; This was my first ever half and it was December and literally 21 degrees out. When I finished, I was handed a frozen water bottle and a piece of icy cake and told to head straight to my dad’s car so as to avoid hypothermia. My dad brought me hot soup and tea, though, so it was alright.

 

 

Best Overall Experience: New Hampshire Half Marathon, 2015; This race is meditative and empowering and so, so fun. It goes right past my parent’s house in New Hampshire, and alongside Newfound Lake. The small town of Bristol truly loves having all the runners for this one weekend a year, and treats them so well. I’m running this one again in fall 2017, and I can’t wait!

Worst Overall Experience: NYC Half, 2014; There were just too many people. I spent the first three miles shoulder to shoulder with other runners, being jostled all over the place. People love this race (which is why over 30,000 runners sign up every year) but it just wasn’t for me.

 

Hope you enjoyed reading about my best/worst half marathon memories!

Now….

Have you had any REALLY positive/REALLY negative race experiences?

What do YOU think makes a great race?

Let me know in the comments!