Ran the Garden Spot Village 1/2 Marathon this morning and had a GREAT run.  Woke up  and got out the door by 6:30 am.  The race was in New Holland, PA, only about 30 minutes from where I live.  We hit a little traffic parking, but the race day volunteers were on top of it, directing folks to parking.  Check-in was well organized and I picked up my number no time then headed to a sunny spot to warm up.

The morning was surprisingly cold. The well-planned route was smooth sailing until about mile 3 when we started a long (very long) incline.  I usually hit a few hills in my regular practice runs so I managed it pretty well.  The next hill was not so fun.  It was after the 7 mile mark, just pass the point where the 1/2 marathoners turned around.  It was short, but very steep.  I definitely felt it by the time I reached the top and a short while later, felt the ache in my left knee.  Like any good runner, I ignored it.  It ached, but I was actually feeling pretty good thanks to the Gu Energy gel I sucked down around mile 6 that was finally kicking in.

I refused to look at my watch until mile 10 and when I did….1:35!  I knew if I could kick it up the last three miles I might be able to get it in under 2 hours. Finishing under 2 hours might have brought actual tears to my eyes.  Despite my short quick steps that kept me moving, the wind totally kicked my a$$ the last 1.5 miles and I finished in 2:06.  Oh well.  I’m still feeling great about it and I managed to walk away with pretty minor aches.  A stiff IT band that’s making my left knee ache and an icky blister on my right foot.

This is only the Garden Spot Village Marathon’s second year but the race organizers did a pretty good job. The race was limited to 1000 runners so there was plenty of space to spread out. Parking was easy despite the traffic that prevented some runners from starting on time.  And you couldn’t ask for anything more after the race. Assorted food and drinks, massage, and access to showers, hot tubs, and saunas.  Nice!


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