Half Marathon #48: Jingle Bell Half

Do you ever find a race that you just love and have to go back every year?

Well that happened to me and the Jingle Bell Half!

I completed the Jingle Bell Half in 2014 (1:51:37) and 2015 (2:00:30). Friends make it worth the extra time on the course... :) 

What first drew me to the Jingle Bell Half? The SWAG for sure!!

In 2014 they gave a shirt and the Finisher's medal doubled as an ornament. In 2015 they gave a headband and a pair of gloves and a typical Finisher's medal. 

Besides the swag, I chose to register for the half because they offered a hot cocoa/chocolate station on the course. SIGN ME UP! :P 

For 2016, I registered as soon as it opened since they offered a sweet discount. So the race only cost like $45 (can't totally remember since it was so long ago :P).

Since I am a bit of a race pusher I was able to get a group of friends to join me this year.

How did they up the swag this year? They offered a pair of gloves and either a bag or a pair of calf sleeves. I went with the bag. 

Photo Courtesey: @CookiesAndRunning

Photo Courtesey: @CookiesAndRunning

Luckily my BRF Page was free to run that day so we took the drive to New Hampshire together. We arrived with plenty of time to drop our stuff at the car and make it back to chat with our crew. :) 

I had zero expectations for this race (are we schocked? :)) I just wanted to make sure I didn't miss the chocolate station which I did in 2015. #Priorities

Page and I needed a serious catch up session and what better way then spending a couple of hours enjoying the New Hampshire hills. Page hadn't run this course before so it was fun exposing her to the gorgeous rolling hills of this space. :P That is a good friend, right? Haha

I wanted to take pictures, but I was so caught up in our conversation that the first 4-5 miles passed pretty quickly. You know you have a good running party when that happens. 

Mile 1: 9:06
Mile 2: 8:34
Mile 3: 9:30
Mile 4: 8:46
Mile 5: 8:54

We took Mile 6 as a chance for a snack break. It was chilly but thankfully not cold enough for our GUs to be cold. The Mile 6 water station was KILLING it in the motivation department. It was in a neighborhood and there was some runner who was lucky enough to have one HUGE cheer squad. Even though I wasn't her I was pretty psyched to steal some cheers from them. :0) 

Mile 6: 9:41

Now what Page didn't know was the back half held the bigger hills. We had serious rolling hills the first half, but the back half has the bigger climbs for sure. 

Mile 7: 8:46

You want to know what I forgot? The climb at Mile 8. Dammit. I remembered Mile 11, but I must have blacked out the one during Mile 8. Thank goodness I have Page next to me cursing each step of the way as well. 

Luckily after conquering that hill, we were rewarded with a bathroom stop. How nice was the view?

While Page and I took turns taking advantage of the port-o-potty I grabbed some action shots of the folks around us.

You know what made it even better? Having a water stop right after it. :) 

Mile 8: 12:31

Love the signage from a local citizen.

Page and I were missing our buddy Dan (a fellow Tedy's Team member) so we sent him a special selfie along the way. 

Mile 9: 9:10
Mile 10: 8:55

Before we knew it, we had hit Mile 10 and that meant just a 5k cool down until the Finish. :O) Yes I am that person that will say "x miles to go is all cool down."

After we took the turn at Mile 10, there it was! The chocolate station!!!! The water stop featured water, hot chocolate and Lindt chocolates. 

We enjoyed some glorious views before we attacked the final hill of the run.

As we made our way up the hill, there may or may not have been some expletives flying out of my mouth. Yes I exemplify the bumper sticker that says: "I use Fucks like commas."

So Page and I were sharing a few back and forth and a gentleman near us apparently didn't appreciate it. I think he was more upset we were having fun while we passed him on the hill.

We ran past him and Page shouted a heartfelt "Merry Chirstmas," but I don't think he liked it. :P 

After cresting the top of the hill, we took a walk break to enjoy our chocolate from the previous water station. It was our reward for tackling the hill. :) 

Mile 11: 12:15

We continued to go back and forth with him as we stopped for pics - like this Patriots mailbox. Hi it was Patriots and #12! In TB12 we trust!

Mile 12: 9:10
Mile 13: 9:59

While the first mile of the race is great since it is a downhill, you have to remind yourself that it is also the final mile of the race and thus a general incline to the Finish.

FINAL TIME: 2:07:11 (9:43 min/mile pace)

HOLLAH! Another amazing race with the BRF Page. Half #48 was in the books. This also concluded a spree where I completed seven half marathons in 12 weeks.

We headed inside the Atkinson Country Club to enjoy some post-race beers. There were a few available when we finished.

We waited for the rest of our crew to Finish. Everyone kicked ass on a challenging course. I know not everyone loves the course, but I do enjoy the challenge of it.

And the swag is on point. Of course I will be back again in 2017... and I will sign up Day 1 for a sweet discount!

Has anyone else run the Jingle Bell Half in New Hampshire?