Our day started Saturday with a long ride to Hershey, Pennsylvania. By the time we dropped the dogs at the kennel and drove to Hershey, almost 4 hours had been spent in the car!
We went right to the expo, which was pretty small, and got my bib, tech tee, and other goodies. I got a new SpiBelt: waterproof, GU belts, and the extra little noogies that you use to attach your bib. (noogies is an industry term, lol, I use it for any small object!)
We also stopped at BondiBands to get a couple for a giveaway on my facebook page. Of course, I had to get one for me and one for my daughter! They had a deal, 4 for $25, so it was no hardship lol. I got a yellow one that says "In it for the Bling" in sparkly silver.
Next stop: Chocolate World. You can't visit Hershey and not take the tour, right?
The tour was very cute! You get into a little car, and it takes you through the "factory" to see how chocolate is made. They have some very feisty singing cows, and the bear was at the entrance to the tour, in a S'mores display:
I was in heaven! After the tour, you walk down a ramp to, of course, the chocolate gift shop. They hand you little samples of Hershey Drops as you go down the ramp. We shopped til we dropped and then headed over to the Amusement Park. Part of my goodie bag was 2 free tickets, so we dropped the teenies off and left to check out the hotel.
We stayed in nearby Harrisburg, and by the time we got there, got gas, and checked out the suite, the kids were done and wanted to leave. Back we went to pick them up, and back to the hotel. Luckily there was a Ruby Tuesday's right next door, so the hubs and I walked over for a nice quiet dinner. Back to the hotel again, and we watched the Lost Boys and went to bed early.
I *never* sleep well the night before I race, and this was no exception. I slept like a rock from 9:30ish until about midnight, and then I was up every 30-45 minutes until the alarm went off at 5:45.
The hubs and I got up and dressed and out the door by 6:15. The kids stayed behind and slept. Lazy bums, lol. Luckily, the hotel had some breakfast items out early and Jon got coffee and a banana before we left. I had a trail mix granola bar that I only ate half of, and some iced tea. I met up with the Lancaster Chapter of Moms Run This Town and we took a group photo.
It was still pretty dark at 6:45! If you want to join an awesome group of ladies, check out the website! They have over 300 chapters nationwide, and abroad! WOW!
After our photo op, I made a last minute bathroom stop and made it to my corral just on time! What I loved about the corrals at the Hershey Half was that you chose where to start. They had signs up with pace times on them and you chose the one that you belonged in. I lined up behind all of the 10 minute milers, and waited for the start. They had an adorably feisty 7-9 year old boy from the Children's Miracle Network start the race. That kid must have screamed GoGoGo for 10 straight minutes! I crossed the start after only 3.5 minutes and was off! I am glad I picked the 10 minute group, there were still a few walkers in front of me, but not too much dodging going on!
It was chilly and I actually wore my long sleeved MRTT shirt instead of my Sweat Pink tank. We ran around the arena and out into the parking lot entrance/exit road. We looped around the parking lot and then turned back towards the park. I finally warmed up at mile 2!
Mile 2.3 was the Miracle Mile. There were kids from the Children's Miracle Network lined up and cheering, and they had pictures and signs lining the road. I probably cried for half a mile. It was truly amazing!
After we rounded the bend towards the park, I saw my hubby. At first he didn't see me among all of the other racers, but he finally looked up and managed to get a good pic.
Mile 3 brought us into the park for the Chocolate Mile. We turned a bunch of corners and even ran on some "boardwalk", and after a mile we exited the park and were running through the town of Hershey. Pennsylvania in the Fall is gorgeous, and I was loving the scenery. We passed an enclosure with what looked like Santa's reindeer, and then we turned down another street and saw a church that had some signs that said
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
We ran through some town areas, some residential areas, and then we crossed some wet, scary grass and entered a Golf Course Community. Lots of beautiful houses with long windy driveways.
Now would be a good time to mention the hills. Pennsylvania is very mountainous. The Jersey Shore is not. By mile 3 my butt muscles were *screaming*. By now, I am at mile 7ish and am amazed that my butt stayed with me all this time! The hills were crazy in this community! There were lots of High School kids all slapping hands, and cheering and yelling, lots of crazy support!
I check my watch every mile, and I was amazed that at this point I was still doing well. I went into this race just wanting to finish. It was #3 of 3 Halfs I was doing to get my Half Fanatic Status. In order to join, you need to run 3 Halfs in 90 days. I did it in 36. This was just to be the final race, nothing major, no worries about a PR (personal record).
By the time I left the Community it was mile 10. And I was on track for a PR. I was amazed. Hills and I don't get along, and this was so not something I even dreamed of!
The course wound through town again, and back towards Hershey Park, coming in from the back now. Mile 11.5 was the Chocolate Stop and I was looking forward to my mini Hershey Bar. Instead, they were giving out Reese's Fast Breaks. I took my candy from a giant candy bar, lol, and ran on. Over a little bridge and back onto Hershey property. There was a water stop, but I was afraid to stop for fear of not being able to start running again.
And then there was the hill.
Mile 12, so tired, still on track for a PR.
Until the hill.
I had to walk, it was just too steep and I was so tired!
At the top of the hill we turned back into the parking lot, and towards the arena. That was one long stretch of nothing, let me tell you!
I was kinda bummed at this point and let me tell you why. My parents live in Pennsylvania, and they drove in to see me run. I expected to see them out in the town somewhere but here I was, back in the park, and no Mom n Dad.
I run through the promenade type area, where the trams normally run, and see the hubs.
Pretty scenery, right? I had also just checked my watch and realized that I was still on track for a PR. Still no parents, but just as I turn the last corner towards the arena, there they are! My dad was fiddling with his camera, so I started yelling out to him. My mom got a great pic of me as I went by. My dad got a pic of my body and....his thumb! lol
Just after I passed them I hit 13.1 in 2:25:41 which is about 1.5 minutes faster than my best time. When I race, I always consider my gps to be "my time". This race was just over 13.3 miles. After I hit 13.1 I stopped to walk a bit, and just as I entered the arena, I started running again. My chip time for 13.3 was 2:30. I got my medal and just as i started to walk towards the food, I heard my dad. I went over to slap him 5 and then we set up a meeting place. Our food came in a cute re-useable lunch box and had an apple, pretzels, candy, HUGE cookie, and granola bar inside.
I managed to escape the arena and met up with my parents. It took us a few minutes to find the hubs. He had looked down to adjust the camera and must have just missed me as I went by! He didn't even know that I had finished! One last photo op before I limped back to the car!
While we were waiting for Jon, I got an email and a text from Hershey congratulating me on finishing, and included my chip time. So cool!
We had lunch at the Olive Garden with my parents and then headed back home.
As if this day couldn't get any better, I emailed the Half Fanatics just before I took my shower, and just got my final confirmation. I am proud to say that I am Half Fanatic #3034. That's right, there are over 3000 other people as insane, or more insane, than I am! Woot!
I have probably forgotten a ton of things i wanted to say, lol, but I think I got the most of it down! I have a few small races coming up, and some wicked long runs in preparation for the Disney Marathon!
One final picture....
Did you race this weekend?