Garden Spot Village Half Marathon

Well, here it is, my Race Recap of the Garden Spot Village Half Marathon – and I have two words for anyone considering this race: THOSE HILLS! Yes, oh my God, now I’m saying it too.

When I told people I was racing in the Garden Spot Half Marathon, everyone said the same thing; “watch out for those hills”. I heard that so much so, that whenever I told people which race I was signed up for – I would interrupt them and yes, “yes, I know, hills – but I ran the Hershey Half and dealt with my share of hills”. ¬†I was confident I had trained well and was prepared. ¬†However I learned, confidence only gets you so far.

First off, let me start by saying Garden Spot Village (GSV) does a race right. The venue is perfect, the accomidations Рawesome, the staff and support Рout of this world.  My hat is off to GSV for putting together such an awesome event. I enjoyed every detail before the race, I enjoyed every mile during the race, and I thought post-race recovery was done right.  Kudos to their entire team and sponsors.

Now, let’s get down to business and talk racing. I woke up bright and early the day of the race and had a decent breakfast protein shake (Vega Vanilla and Greens, Banana, Quick Oats, Cocoa Nibs, Maca Powder, and Peanut Butter). After taking the pooch out for a walk I came home and donned my running gear.

Typical of my pre-race ritual, I arrived early.  In fact, I was the first runner to pull up to the empty parking lot at 5:55am.  The parking lot attendants clapped and yelped and told me to park anywhere I wanted.

Arrive Early: Check.
Score Amazing Parking: Check.

I waited in my car, meditated, rested my mind – it was hard since I was pumped¬†up and ready to go. ¬†I waited until about 40 mins before the start of the race to emerge from my car and hit the porta-john before flocking over to the tents and excitement. Not that these are excuses, but I had two¬†setbacks I feel like I could¬†have avoided had I done¬†better preparing on my part. I did arrive early and I made sure to use the facilities when I got there, but I forgot to make one last pit stop before the race started. I wanted to make sure I was hydrated so that extra bottle of water in my belly would come back to haunt me. When the race started I immediately had to pee… ugh, not how I wanted to spend the next few miles. ¬†Every two miles GSV had setup a water station and bathrooms, and of course, the first stop was already occupied. Other than having to pee, I felt pretty good, I was breathing a little heavier than I would have liked, but this was a race after all and I will keeping a good pace of 9:30 min/mile among the crowd.

Miles 1 – 4 are pretty uneventful, aside from having to pee the course was proving to be somewhat hilly and challenging, but nothing I couldn’t manage. As I wrapped up mile 5 into 6¬†and feeling good coming down a huge monster¬†hill it dawned on me that I was going to be turning around at some point and running right back up the monster I just traversed. At this point my body was not pleased with my bathroom choices and forced me to stop at the next water station to empty what felt like a gallon of water – and of course there was a little wait so this added more time to the clock.

Once I exited the porta-john I thought I saw the turn-around and my spirits instantly lifted. ¬†I popped some Honey Stinger snacks into my mouth and enjoyed the sugary high they brought. ¬†My joy was very (very) short lived once I realized that what I saw was not the turnaround, but another hilly drop ahead, with the realization that the second leg of the race was mostly uphill. I made it to the turn around and starting noticing that evil voice in my head telling me to just walk for a few minutes to catch my breath before the hillclimb from hell started. ¬†I did my best to ignore this voice – my average pace was right around 9:45 – 10:00 min/mile and the thought of beating my 2:14:00 finish was in sight… or so I thought.

Mile 7 was the kiss of death, I hit that first steep hill and slugged my way up it. I quicken my pace but then used what energy I had and gradually ended up slowing down faster than I expected. Walking, my own personal no-no. My pace went from 9:53, to 11:26, to 16:00 min/mile and I hit the 9 mile mark with a lap time of 14:24 min/mile.

More Honey Stingers. Check.
More Nuun Water. Check

From that point on my moral hit rock bottom, I tried to quicken my pace to at least finish with my¬†same personal best of 2:14:00, but with each slow step the goal grew further and further. ¬†I finished in 2 hours, 27 minutes, and 40 seconds – 13 minutes longer than my personal best. I wasn’t upset, but I wasn’t happy with that time.

So what did I learn? First and foremost – Not all half marathons are the same! And you can never be too prepared – next year I intend on beating my time as this was not where I thought I would end. ¬†I left that race saying “never again” only to find myself saying “next year” a few days later. GSV Half Marathon is no joke, train for hills… serious hills. ¬†Also, I’m not sure carrying my own water was necessary – with water and Gatorade stations every 2 miles, what was I saving myself by toting that extra weight? Next year, I need to ditch carrying so much stuff. ¬†Pee, pee, pee – make sure you pee right before you race even if you have to force it, bathroom breaks kill me. Oh and arriving 2 and a half hours before the event started was awesome – but being so close to home, it was a little overkill, next year an hour extra should suffice.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the Hershey Half this fall, and I intend on beating my 2:14:00 finish – at least I know there won’t be the same hills as GSV. Now, back to training – The Hard Cider run is just two weeks away!

This Week in Running

Running Log Monday March 20th through Sunday March 26th
Miles Run: 13.3 

Well, I did it, I’ve officially began tapering for my upcoming 15K and 1/2 Marathon. ¬†I’ve been keeping the mileage low to avoid injury and also, let’s face it – I’ve been slacking. ¬†I’ve been struggling with finding the motivation to run lately – and trust me, it pains me. ¬†I’ll jump on Instagram and see everyone’s running pictures and I’ll hear that voice in my head say, “you should be running” and I agree, I should be running…

But I’m not. ¬†So let’s start with the not so good news.

Last weekend I decided to run in some new shoes, since then I’ve been getting wicked shin splints – an issue I’ve never had before. So I’ve been semi-nursing some sore shins while running, trying to “take it easy”. ¬†To snap out of my funk, and while traveling for work in New York City, I thought I would take advantage and run along the East River. ¬†The thought was awesome, but the logistics just weren’t in the cards (early morning start, long and late days). ¬†An inside run in the treadmill would have to suffice, so before the rest of the guys were awake, I hit the gym and pounded out a little over 3 miles. ¬†It was the longest 3.1 miles ever.

In better news, the weather has been cooperating and is fantastically warm outside so here’s the hoping a few outdoor runs are in order.

This Week in Running

Running Log Monday March 13th through Sunday March 19th
Miles Run: 15

This past week was a low mileage week – mainly for two reasons:
One, I am being extremely lazy (haha) and finding it very difficult to wake up in the mornings.
Two, my 15K is rapidly approaching, and the week after that is my 1/2 marathon, so I’m trying to dial back my training to not over do it and to hopefully keep injuries at bay.

Also, I’m in denial that I’m in a “runner’s rut” – for while I was pushing some good weekly miles, but lately I’m losing steam. New running shoes, new running clothes, all these thing “help” add motivation – I just think I need to see some sun.

Relay for Life

I am pledging to cover 50 miles for the Lancaster Relay for Life in honor of my family members that have been lost due to cancer.

I will be walking for Freemasons for a Cure in honor of the following Masons:

    • Kenneth C. Gowton- Member of C. Grant Brittingham Lodge F&AM No. 788, Woodside, Pa
    • Richard Barr- Member of Pine Grove Lodge F&AM No. 409
    • Matthew J. Barr- Member of Virginia Beach Masonic Lodge No. 274 AF&AM

I will also be walking for my family members who have passed away from cancer:
Aunt Gloria, Cousin Shana Geary, Aunt Gail Emmonds, and Richard “Pop” Neumeister (and I’m sorry if I forgot anyone)

Please feel free to donate any amount: Donate Here