With 13.1 miles left on the schedule, the Runner's World Half on Sunday October 19 would round out the Runner's World Half & Festival Hat Trick.
(Note: Runner’s World did sponsor my participation in the RW Half & Festival, but all comments are my own – ain’t nobody got time for lyin’!)
For a third-straight morning the alarms in our room were blaring at 6am. Thankfully I laid my race gear out the night before so getting ready in the morning would be a breeze.
Presley and I headed downstairs to grab another free breakfast from the Comfort Suites bar/breakfast area. I also brought my KIND bar with me to use for pre and during race fuel.
We met up with the third amigo Doug just after 7 to head to the Start area. The Start for the half was just past the Start for the 5k and 10k. We remembered Bart talking about hiding in the casino pre-race for warmth and bathrooms so we made our way there.
It was blustery that morning and my lack of a throwaway t-shirt was a quick regret. Brrr...
Thank you Sands Casino for letting us crash your party to stay warm.
We waited as long as possible in the warmth before making our way to the Start Area. It was definitely chilly, but we made the most of it working some sweet dance moves to keep warm.
We've been to so many races at the same time (she used to live in Boston), but this was our first action shot together. I snapped the pic and wished her a fun race. You can see Doug and Presley in the back of this photo wondering why I sprinted ahead to snap a selfie without them. :P
The wind was something fierce that morning and we braced ourselves for the upcoming hills.
Mile 1: 9:52 Mile 2: 9:36
We worked our way through the city streets and neighborhoods of Bethlehem. With the RW Half you truly were getting a glimpse of the majority of the city. ;)
The neighbors were out in full force once again and if they didn't provide enough entertainment for you there were the other participants to check out.
Like these two running in sumo wrestler costumes. I give those two sooo much credit for donning those outfits on a day like we had - wind wasn't their friend. haha. They were awesome to run near and totally took a pic with us while we took a port-o-potty stop. I wish I could find them to get a copy of it. :)
Mile 3: 12:07 Mile 4: 9:12
Can you tell which mile we stopped to take a break? It was great because I saw my friend Jacqueline and we used the port-o-potty break as a spot to catch up. Except we took an extra minute chatting before realizing we were in the middle of the race and should probably keep moving. Ha.
The hills DID allow for some pretty sweet views.
As we came down from this hill, we noticed a Happy Birthday sign - but the runner was nowhere in sight. Darn! We wanted to find him to make our "Singing Happy Birthday during a race" 3-for-3 for the weekend. Sadly we never caught up to him and no Happy Birthday was sung during the Half.
We started asking random strangers if it was their birthday, but no one fit the bill.
At the crest of the next hill, I saw the wonderful Sarah from SparklyRunner.com! Ahh what an amazing sight to see a familiar face. Mid-run selfie - check!
This little selfie put me far behind Presley and Doug so I had to play a little catch up.
Then the mile of fun truly started.
We had seen these bears all over the city so we had to stop and snap a pic.
Then have a dance break with the band.
Mile 5: 9:48
But Mile 5 fun led to Mile 6 heartbreak - the never-ending hill complete with angry drivers.
A quick shot of the line of cars that we passed.
There was one older lady that was super angry at the runners - not sure if she was late for church or what - but she was honking and calling out to runners. You can see Presley was not sure what her deal was.
Thankfully we spotted a cop coming to the rescue just after we passed by.
I'm not sure how the cars ended up on the course, but they definitely should not have been there. Especially ones with road rage. We didn't see anyone get hurt or touched by the cars, but always a scary sight to see cars on a course.
As we made our way up the never-ending hill, I spotted Sarah's boyfriend Matt and made sure we took a pic.
He was so in the zone with his music I had to call his name a few times before he heard me. Yeah I looked like a complete stalker. I have no shame.
Mile 6: 9:36
There were rumors flying around that the second-half of the course was flatter than the first so we held on to that thought to keep us moving forward. Note: that person lied. :P
We took a right and headed towards tiny neighborhoods and it was great to see families out on their lawns cheering on runners and offering up orange slices, etc.
We happily took a gentleman up on some Twizzlers. I enjoyed Twizzlers during my 20-Miler back in March and they really hit the spot!
Who says we don't fuel properly?
Mile 7: 9:25 Mile 8: 9:46
We were in Mile 7 and knew the Skirt Sports ladies would be hosting the water stop just after the Mile 8 marker as well as a #SkirtEncounter activity - volunteers would put you in a Skirt Sports skirt that you would be able to keep.
So of course Presley and I had to take part. Thanks for capturing it Doug.
When I wear skirts I like to double them up! :) It was something I never thought I would do during the race and I am glad we didn't pass up on the opportunity.
We waited for Presley to take another port-o-potty break before we got back to business.
Mile 9: 10:52
After leaving the neighborhood, we took a left on an incline heading towards a cemetery. As we made our way back up the incline, I noticed this gentleman rollerblading along the race. I had spotted him earlier, rollerblading and texting on his phone, but I couldn't get a pic then.
Once through the cemetery (interesting scenery), we actually caught up with comedian Liz Miele. I totally blew it in the catching an action shot with her, but it was great chatting with her. We explained more about what bloggers do/mean and she shared more about her running journey with us. It was such a cool experience.
It was during that time that we also passed another church and I HAD to take the opportunity to meet Jesus.
Oh hey Jesus!
High-five for days!
Mile 11: 10:07
We had just two miles left, which meant we were making our way back to streets we took in the prior day races. We could see runners who had already finished walking along the course with their medals.
We also used these final two miles to come up with our Finish Line pose. The important things right?
It was a great distraction as my legs were starting to feel the toll of the prior two days. My rainbow socks for the half were not compression and my legs could tell.
There was great crowd support coming into the final two miles and we soaked it all in.
Mile 12: 9:10 Mile 13: 9:05
We opted for a Charlie's Angel finish pose with Doug in the center and Presley and I on the outside. Doug went down the Finish chute getting high-fives from both sides of spectators.
And I send a big thank you to Sarah for getting these awesome shots of us.
Can you tell I was having fun?
And just like that it was done!
Finish Time: 2:10:35
It was pretty spectacular that we actually ran all three races around the same exact pace and we didn't even set out to do that.
After grabbing our heat sheet blankets, bagels, bananas and water, we headed back towards the Expo to meet up with the Altra Running guys one last time.
Doug knows how to rock a heat sheet!
But first I asked Presley to snap my pic in front of the Finish Line (first pic in this post) and then I yelled to Bart. He turned around and said "I loved your Charlie's Angels Finish pose." YAY! People knew what we were doing!!
And we got this magical pic.
The course was definitely hilly. I found this meme online and couldn't stop laughing!!
Hahahahhaa!! I have never done the RW Half before so I am not sure how the course changed, but it definitely didn't feel that flat or fast.
Overall the race was a blast and had a great mix of scenery and small town neighborhood feel. The hills were tough and I applaud those who chose to race or PR on this course. I am not sure how many others experienced the traffic on the course and if that was also in the past RW Half races.
I had a ball taking in the signs, spectators and give a HUGE thank you to all of the volunteers along the course.
Once we said good-bye to the Altra Running crew, we headed back to the hotel. Presley and Doug had earlier flights than I did so we went back so they could shower before grabbing a quick lunch. Of course my lunch included a celebratory beer.
Oh this was DELICIOUS!! I need to find more STAT.
And with all of that the Hat Trick was complete. Bling for days... :)
Have you ever run the RW Half? How did you tackle those hills?