Monday, October 15, 2012

GMAA Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, October 14
South Hero, VT
Half Marathon #70
State #50!!!
Weather - very chilly with strong winds, overcast (very light misting mid-race)

Originally state #50 was supposed to be West Virginia, because we had been planning on running the "Mad Half" in Vermont in July. But airfare was ridiculous and we could not make it work. We found the GMAA half marathon and registered... it was some ridiculously inexpensive cost like $30. Well... airfare is NEVER cheap to Vermont from Colorado, so we looked at surrounding airports and booked our flights through Hartford. Which... if you recall our St. Louis/Cincinnati drive, they LOOK close on a map, but they really aren't.

Travel Day

L and I are not on the same flights. I booked as soon as I found reasonably priced legs. By the time she booked, the same flights were NOT the same price, so she was on completely different airlines even. My first leg to ORD (Chicago) left Denver at 8:47 am. I left the house just after 6 and got there in plenty of time. First flight was on time. I somehow got put in premium seating. This was one of the best flight experiences of my life. I had a footrest, a super reclining seat. My own tv with FREE movies (I watched Rock of Ages - best movie I've seen in ages). To tell you how much room I had,  I could stick my legs straight out in front of me and not touch the seat. Also, I had to unbuckle my seat belt to reach stuff under the seat. Honestly.

We land on time in Chicago and it is FREEZING AND COLD AND RAINY. Blech. My flight out? Delayed. Obviously. We left about an hour late. (L's connection was in Midway, also Chicago, and her flight left on time and landed early). So L had to wait for me in Hartford. The car rental facility was off site (of course). By the time we got the car, it was 5:40 pm. We had about a 4 hour drive to Burlington, Vermont, and we still had to stop and get dinner.

Luckily, we found an Applebee's in Massachusetts. They were packed, but we were able to get seated at the bar. I have a cold, so I didn't notice, but L said the food tasted funny. Great. Since L had come straight from work to the airport, she had not slept in some ungodly amount of time. I had the drive to the hotel. Thankfully, it was all interstate, so we didn't get stuck in traffic of any kind. We stopped at ONE Walgreen's just inside the border of Vermont and were able to get our souvenirs (way too easy). We arrived at the super classy Econo Lodge in Shelburne just before 10:00 pm. Not impressed with the weather forecast:

The race was about 30 minutes away, but didn't start until 8:30, so we did not need to get up crazy early. We did, however, have to make sure we were packed and ready to go since we would not have time to shower after the race. Yuck.

Race Day

We got up around 6:15 and left about 20 minutes later. We have gotten really efficient at getting ready after doing this so many times. We stopped and put some gas in on the way to the race. They information we had received warned about parking filling up close to the start/finish area, so we wanted to get there early so we wouldn't risk the "up to one mile away" parking. No time for that. We got the LAST SPOT in the close parking lot. We went inside and got our bibs and pretty cool long sleeve shirts. Nothing to do now but sit around for an hour.

View from the best parking spot - PRETTY trees!
I spent this time looking at the weather. Damn. Cold and SUPER WINDY. Around 7:30 it started raining. THANKFULLY it stopped again after about a half hour. We hit the bathroom lines a couple of times, and headed to the start, getting there ONE MINUTE before it was supposed to start. The race info stated NO early starts allowed and that it would start "at 8:30 sharp." Well. It started about 5 minutes late. Really cutting into our travel time. It was so cold, we both kept our awesome throwaways on. Mine even had a faux fur hood. I hope someone got a picture of it. We kept these on until the first aid station at mile 2. (Edited to include picture of awesome sweater):

The course, as I found out the day before we left (yeah, yeah, I probably should have LOOKED at it), was an out and back along the bay (a bay?). It was VERY windy and very chilly. By the end of the race, L would say that it was our coldest yet.

Anyway, the first 2 miles were on road, and then we moved to a hard dirt packed road. It was pretty hilly, which we expected. Again, we we were NOT prepared for the freezing cold gale force winds.

The course was very pretty, but it was slow going. Well, except for the Vermontians. They were crazy fast. We were back of the pack the entire race. My knee held up mostly ok, but between being extremely fatigued and the cold I had developed on Friday, I was just TIRED. Obviously I knew we didn't have a lot of time to be screwing around, I just couldn't seem to make myself go faster. I'm glad I did not look at my watch during the race because I really felt like I was running harder/faster than I apparently was.

L had custom designed shirts for us and we had TONS of runners and volunteers congratulate us and want to talk to us about our journey. It was pretty neat. There was thankfully a downhill finish, and we crossed the line together for state 50!!

Official Time - 2:31:04
Overall Place - 279/313
Division Place - 49/59
Garmin Time - 2:31:25
Garmin Distance - 13.18 miles
Garmin Pace - 11:30
Mile 1 - 10:46
Mile 2 - 10:35
Mile 3 - 11:21
Mile 4 - 11:15
Mile 5 - 11:32
Mile 6 - 11:12
Mile 7 - 11:15
Mile 8 - 11:37
Mile 9 - 12:35
Mile 10 - 12:16
Mile 11 - 11:36
Mile 12 - 12:49
Mile 13 - 10:50
Mile 13.1ish - 9:55

We got our water, grabbed our bags out of the car, got a random kid to take pictures of us with our medals and headed into the school to change. The bathrooms were locked, but we found an unlocked janitor's closet and changed there. (I could not make this stuff up). We left the school at 11:20. We estimated about a four hour drive, and L's flight left first at 5:10.

Thoughts on the race:
  • Plan for cold and wind. It IS October. I don't know if this weather was normal or not, but I'm really glad I had a throwaway. At first I was concerned I hadn't brought capris, but that ended up being ok.
  • Aid stations every 2 miles. Very well stocked with water and Heed. They gave Hammer gels at mile 4.
  • VERY friendly volunteers.
  • Easy and basic pick up (but if you want a close parking spot DO get there early, or you are parking further away and ON the course so it is harder to get out)
  • Inexpensive and still got a unique shirt AND a medal - this was the 42nd annual running of this race, they must be doing something right.
  • VERY VERY pretty scenery. If you can get past the cold and the wind.
  • Would recommend, just maybe make better travel arrangements than I did :D
We got on the road, stressed out. But not too stressed to stop for DUNKIN' DONUTS. You have to understand that we don't have them in Colorado. I got a delicious white chocolate pumpkin and we got a box of donut holes (which included little pumpkin donut holes). Delicious. We figured the sugar would hold us over until we got to Massachusetts, where we were hoping to have time to stop at Five Guys before heading to the airport.

The travel gods were on our side and we got to Five Guys (20 miles from the airport around 2:40) with "plenty" of  time to get burgers and cajun fries. We ate in the car, and dropped off the car around 3:20. PLENTY OF TIME.

Breezed through security... until my bag got flagged for additional inspection. Ha ha, the joke is on you. Go ahead and take out my race clothes. Blech.

Had about 20 minutes until L's flight left (her connection was in Charlotte). My flight left on time, and I was pretty distraught to learn it was almost a 4 hour flight to Dallas. Gross. We watched the Amazing Spider Man, and then... 2 hours still to go. I couldn't sleep. Arrived on time in Dallas. I got some food at Pizza Hut (I eat GREAT when I travel), then found an outlet and watched Netflix until boarding time.

At which time I discover the gate has been moved ALL THE WAY TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TERMINAL. Run over there, only to realize... delayed. OF COURSE. I was already on the latest flight out. That figures. Our 10:25 flight didn't take off until after 11 pm. I think I dozed for about 30 minutes, and we landed (late) at 11:45.

I had to wait 20 minutes for a shuttle to my car and by the time I got home, it was 1:15 am. (Which was GREAT considering I had to get up at 5:45 to shower - remember, I still hadn't showered after the run, and get to work).

LONGEST (yet shortest) weekend ever. Waiting for me when I got home?

Thanks, A!
Did I mention that we JUST RAN OUR 50TH STATE?? And now we have no goals and are sad :(


  1. I love your award! I hope L got one too. She wanted a trophy so badly.

    I can not believe how tight your connections were and you still made it all happen. It was fiiiiiiine.

    I especially like that you got donut holes after the race, even though it didn't look like you had time. Did it feel a bit like WV, without me stressing you out? Hehe.

    Congrats again. You guys are amazing. Sit back and enjoy the accomplishment. What a fun ride.

  2. CONGRATS! What an amazing accomplishment! I feel kind of sad that you had to rush your final race :(
    Can't wait to hear about your next adventure though.

  3. That's really, really pretty.

    we don't have DD either, I would have totally stopped.

    Nice clock :D

  4. Wow, that is soooo amazing!!!! CONGRATS on 50 states!! YOu guys rock!

  5. Congrats on your last state and the end of an exciting journey. Something tells me you'll have something else planned very soon!

  6. Congrats on finishing it. I remember telling you back in 2006 or so that you could do anything you put your mind to, and I am proud to know you made it.

    Next up? 50 Marathons in 50 states?

  7. Congratulations!! That is pretty amazing!!

  8. congrats!!! it’s time to make a book out of your race recaps. then you can look back and laugh on all of the insane travel adventures! so happy for yall!

  9. its like... an end of an era. its so exciting for you guys- can't wait to see what you come up with next--- then again, you deserve to rest and race like normal if you want that too!

  10. Congratulations! Amazing feat, Becca. I'm happy and sad at the same time, but mostly happy and wanting to run some of those fantastic races. You're inspiring me!

  11. That's pretty damn awesome! Make another goal ASAP-- I'd be a mess if I didn't have "one more marathon" to do... Btw, we did have Dunkin Donuts in Denver a very long time ago; apparently I didn't do enough to keep them open!

  12. Holy crap, you're done!?

    Damn. That is impressive.

  13. Congrats! What an awesome accomplishment. NQ

  14. Congrats! What an awesome accomplishment. NQ


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