Monday, November 16, 2015

Moose Pond Half Marathon

There are a lot of times where I am uninterested in spending money on a training run. Apparently, this training cycle is not one of those times! Pair a limited amount of training time with a limited amount of daylight and I'm pretty much crying for friends, aid stations (and daylight.)

THIS is the bright portion of my daily run. WOOF.
The Moose Pond Half (and 5k) is basically a stones throw from my home. It was also not terribly pricey so as soon as I discovered that several of our friends would be participating I was ALL IN.

With 2 weeks until Philly I was looking to get in about 18 before declaring it to be taper time. As luck would have it the famous Leslie was planning the exact same run.
I LOVE my running friends. I also love seeing them in real life, which is rare. 
You guys, I'm not going to lie. Leslie is a fast fast woman. I wasn't sure that our 5 mile pre race run would be something that I could handle.... I warned her about this and she was cool- so we pregamed with a brisk dash (for casual, leisurely, long run me) up the "flat" part of the course just prior to the race.
Basically, I ran along at a decent clip and she walked patiently alongside me waiting for my slow ass. Without her there with her 6 foot stride motivating me, I wouldn't have put forth a good effort so I very much appreciated the inspiration (shame) and delightfully amusing conversation!

Proof of the warm up 5. Proof that Leslie is slightly taller than I am. WHAT!!?
Eric was along for the fun and not just as a race supporter, he ran a total of 9.5 miles while waiting for me to finish (including placing 2nd in his AG for the 5k! YAY!)
The 3 of us met up after the warm up run- we didn't have much time but we snacked, changed, took selfies and managed to find the start (success!)

I knew that Jamie of MDI #badasscrowchick fame was pacing the 1:50 group and I made it my goal to finish as close to this time as possible.

Whoot 1:50!! And, randomly, the 2:00 pacer is the person I handed the baton to in run2respond. #smallworld
After the gun went off and I discovered that I certainly had positioned myself in a dumb place. (totally my fault, I was not paying attention... whoops.)  I was completely stuck in traffic and there wasn't much I could do as Jamie's 1:50 pace sign ran off into the distance. (with Jamie attached I imagine.)
Luckily, the crowds thinned out quickly since only about 3 people run in this town so I was good to go! (I'm KIDDING. It was a totally decent sized race, like 250 half marathoners!)

Anyway, at about mile one point something I saw the 1:50 group. The whole entire 250 participants had decided that Jamie was their key to success and so yeah, it was a little crowded.
I decided to ease by them and see what might happen. (well, I knew what would happen is that they would find me in short order.)

This race is a bitch. It goes straight uphill for 6 miles STRAIGHT up. NO down. NOT that easy. Luckily, I knew this and was not going full throttle but still- after a marathon training week(s) that is at your peak mileage, after 5 warmup miles you aren't going to feel all that zesty. Well, I'm not anyway.

Sometime around mile 6, blissfully, Jamie caught me. And it was just her. And This Guy. NOBODY else.
Seriously, I was like "THANK GAHHHHD" when I saw them because I was feeling a little draggy and sluggy and needed friends who would make me feel amused.

And yes. That happened. Jamie was a perfect pacer and That Guy was a freaking riot. Everything became fun. Everything became a That's what she said. I had possibly the best time ever running with them (and I am, once again, thankful for running friends. I would NOT have loved this run if it hadn't been for them!)

Luckily for me and my tired legs and ever increasing hunger the last few miles of the race flew by and before I knew it I was finishing on a horrible uphill-to-the-finish incline (ugh.) Eric was cheering me on waiting to steal my free beer ticket, and Leslie, who had already won her AG, and had time to shower and have lunch brought me water and gatorade and everything a person could need. It was lovely.

Yeah, summer racing attire. In NOVEMBER. Eff, yes!
We all grabbed some free BBQ and stuck around for bit to hang out and watch awards. It's nice when a race gives you a whole meal of food and not a few random bananas so I was a big fan of this part of the day.

I am pretty happy with the way the day turned out. I had a solid final long run at a totally decent pace, over some tough terrain. Seeing friends is a huge bonus and makes for an enjoyable day.
While the elevation profile was almost exactly the same as MDI I thought this was a more challenging course. There could have been many factors playing into this including crowd support, my training cycle timing, the severity of a couple of the inclines and who knows what else.
Overall though, I felt that it was an enjoyable and safe race and the convenience was undeniable.

At this point (as of now) I'm less than a week away from Philly.
If I continue to blog like a responsible person my next post will have some thoughts from this training cycle.
So until then.....



  1. I'm so excited for you to run Philly! It was my first and I LOVE that race! I'm glad the race turned around for you once you caught up to Jamie (without her 250 deep posse!). Congrats on a great finish!

  2. I will be spectating the Philly marathon, as I live less than a mile from the start and finish. I have never met you or commented before, but I will yell "Go Middle Aged Runner!!" if I see you :). And perhaps receive a few strange looks.
    Good luck!!

  3. Another downtown Philadelphia reader who will be trying to spot you and cheer.