I ran the Hilly Haunted Half Marathon on Saturday (or was it the Haunted Hilly?). I went in to this race feeling pretty unprepared. I’ve run since the Presque Isle marathon, but not a ton, and probably not more than 7 miles (more like 4 or 5 on average). I knew the course was going to be hilly, too. So I expected to crash around mile 8 or so and end up walk/running the last bit of it. High expectations and optimism, eh?
Saturday morning was cold. COLD. Dave and Leo stayed home because of the weather and I drove the 20 or so minutes over to Bonneyville County Park to pick up my race stuff and get ready… which basically entailed huddling in my car, debating whether I should run in my fleece jacket or not. It was about 32 degrees out with a 28 degree windchill. I finally ended up nixing the fleece jacket, figuring I would get hot midway and then be super annoyed with hauling a bulky jacket around. I wore capris, a long sleeve tech t (a fairly thick one), a short sleeve shirt, my headband pulled over my ears, and thin cheapie gloves.
Around 8am all the racers gathered in the pavilion for announcements and a “costume parade.” The costume parade was pretty unorganized and kind of hard to actually see those who dressed up. Then the race director talked a little, a cheerleading squad from the Down Syndrome Support Group performed (it was so sweet!), and we walked over to the start. There were about 90 people doing the half marathon. We began with a whistle or just a “GO!” – I forget which.
The first couple miles I ended up running with a girl I know – I randomly saw her around mile 1. She lives in Iowa but was in town running with her brother. Around mile 4 or 5 they stopped for a drink and I kept going, running with another guy from Goshen who heads up the running club. He and I ran and talked until about mile 9 or 10. He was good for me in that he kept me going and pushed my pace a little. Around mile 10 he was starting to feel tired, so I pushed on. The hills of the course were mainly in the first 4 miles and the last 3 miles. They were mostly rollers, but a few were pretty big. One was at mile 9 – I ran half and walked half of it – and the other around mile 11.5. Again, I ran half and walked half. About mile 12 a guy caught up with me and we ran the last bit together. I finished in 2:06:22, my best time since having Leo!
I was really happy with this race and really surprised with how I did. The hills – which normally psyche me out at least mentally, if not physically – weren’t a problem. It was really cold at the start and I couldn’t feel my hands, feet, or face until mile 4 (it’s weird to run on numb stumps), but ended up being fantastic weather once the sun rose. It was in the high 30s and pretty perfect – you felt warm but not hot. And my lack of training ended up being no big deal. I felt refreshed and ready to go.
As always, I think “I wonder how I would have done if I had really pushed myself?”, but then sometimes I think I wouldn’t have really enjoyed the race and the experience if I really killed myself. Going for a PR is always good, but it just hasn’t been a priority to me this year, I guess?
I don’t have any pictures of the race but it’s definitely one I’ll keep in mind for next year. Close to home, fun course, and registration proceeds benefit some important area charities. Plus it was really lowkey (I always like that) and the other runners were all super friendly and chatty.