So now that the weekend is over and I am home again, I wanted to give the actual race recap.
The whole weekend in and of itself was a great experience for me. A lot of fun, a lot of learning for me through observation and conversation and a lot of good memories made.The town is built on a place of history, where steel was made and produced especially during WW2, but all through our nation's history. It was really neat to learn about the city and see the historic buildings.
When race day came along, I was ready.
In this town of Bethlehem, PA, which sounds like small town USA but really is not, there is no flat ground. In looking at the elevation chart, I knew that this was going to be a race full of hills (let's be honest, compared to Ohio, they were mini-mountains) but you can't change it, so you just gotta embrace it. Once we got to the city, driving the streets told me even more about what I was going to experience.
But I was ready. Perhaps not hill ready, but mentally ready, to run, no matter what.
The morning was absolutely perfect as far as temperatures go. High 40s. Not overcast. No wind. Absolutely beautiful. There ended up being very many less runners than I had expected. This race had a little over 2,000 participants for the half marathon. Small compared to many events I have attended and run, but often times smaller is better.
In my head, I wanted the goal time of 2:30. Not a PR, but not too bad considering what my pace has been in training. However, I knew it was going to be a challenge with all the hills. (Little did I know how much it would challenge me.)
The first mile was pretty easy- partly downhill and around a little park. But then we began a climb, over a bridge and around construction (side note: Bethlehem, PA infrastructure was pretty bad and there was construction and closed streets everywhere. Never have I seen such bad construction or crazy drivers. Literally.)
That being said, what had been discussed amongst the runners was the mile 3, 5, and 7 would be the bad hills and then it was "all good." Guess what? It was never "all good." Meaning... there was pretty literally never a flat stretch on the course. And I am not talking dinky hills here.
Mind you, I didn't hate them, knowing hating them wouldn't change them. Hills don't scare me. But by mile 8 I was thinking to myself that it would be nice to have a small stretch that was not a hill.
Anyway, I was on par for that 2:30 roughly through the 10K split. Here and there I would lose a little ground, but then make it up. However, by mile 7, I could not maintain it. I dropped about 20 seconds almost per mile at that point. As frustrating as that was, I also knew I was giving it my all so it was ok. We crossed through the historic downtown Bethlehem, which was pretty neat, full of old shops and some brick streets.
We ran through some neighborhoods. And as we came down mile 11, we began to make our way towards the finish line, which was lined with giant steel stacks that were somehow beautifully historic and a very cool site to take in.
I was bound and determined by mile 12 that I could do it in 2:33, but half of that mile ended up being a climb, and I just couldn't make the pace I was trying to keep. The people (to whom I referred in my blog yesterday) kept me going , but it was still a challenge, to say the least. As I turned the bend towards the finish line, where I can usually have a little burst left, I was pushing with all I had in me. It was nice to have Rob at the finish line, waiting on me, knowing that he would understand this run more than most anyone could. I crossed that line in 2:37.
It was not my best race, but it was one of my best in the sense that I gave it all I had, left it all on the line, and knew that in spite of the challenges I faced, I did it. It was a good event. Not my favorite, but nonetheless a new experience where I learned more about myself, about the running industry, and about my future running goals.
I wouldn't go back and run it again... but I am glad I had the chance to do it this weekend. It was a fun run, as fun goes, and the weather was perfect. I was able to learn new things about the running community and industry. I experienced a new town. I ate some good food. And all in all, I had a good race.
A few highlights to share:
We ate a place called the Bolete Inn. It was a restored 1790 Stagecoach stop. The food was tremendous, so much so that words won't do it justice. The atmosphere was neat. And it was worth it.
We visited a little cafe called The Lodge. Truth be told, the coffee wasn't all that great. However, I fell in love with the little shop because their whole purpose was to help people have stability who fight mental illness. They had paintings of people like Robin Williams and Abe Lincoln, who fought deprsesion/anxiety. And the newspaper clippings on the wall told stories of the place. To me, it was inspiring. And completely relatable.
We saw new things inside the expo and observed interesting people.
For me, every race, every travel brings on new learning. And I do love to learn. I am not going to critique the race itself, that's not what I do. I simply try to take in and learn. And share how I grow through all of it.
One race, one travel, one story, one step, one day at a time....
|Runner's World Expo|
|Art Steel Statue, pavers had steel worker's names.|
|The Expo Center|
|The view outside the expo center.. you can kind of see the mountain|
|Hustle and Bustle of the finish line|