After major knee pain during the Boston Marathon just three weeks prior, I wasn't sure what to expect on April 30 at the Earth Run Rock Half Marathon. I had registered for this half before the knee pain got that bad, but in the time between the marathon and the half I had a session of dry needling at Boston Physical Therapy & Wellness. I had my fingers crossed that it would make a difference.
How did the BRF Page and I choose this race? The swag of course. With your entry you got a hoodie, a Finisher's medal, free pizza and 2 free beers. Plus we had a 20% off discount code. SOLD and SOLD!
It was great seeing Colleen at the race as well. She was injured and unable to run, but played a perfect Sherpa for us all!
It was a quick and painless drive and parking situation at the race. This was the first time any of us were running it and I had high hopes for a fun morning.
Luckily I have the best BRF around and she knew my knee could hinder our time, but she didn't care what time we finished in. We were using this time as a serious catch-up session.
We lined up just behind the 2:30 pacer because well that is exactly where we were standing and had no interested in moving up. :P
I was excited to rep my From Fat To Finish Line visor too.
Alright it was go time... starting on an uphill. Well if we started on an uphill, I sure as heck hoped we finished on a downhill. But since I never look at course maps beforehand, I had no idea. :)
Page and I went out and immediately got into our rhythm and focused on catching up. Running with Page is always a joy and ends up being a therapy session for both of us.
We also quickly learned that this course would be full of rolling hills. Haha. I think you can tell that if you simply look at our paces.
We are pretty lucky to run through New England with views like this.
Since I was so focused on the conversation with Page, I didn't even think about how my body was feeling. I was just so happy to be out for a couple hours, away from life, catching up with a good friend.
I know a lot of people don't understand running, but it is a pretty sweet way to not run away from problems, but to run towards the answers to them. It is even better when you have a good sounding board right alongside you.
Mile 1: 9:51
Mile 2: 8:36
Mile 3: 9:13
Mile 4: 8:28
HI NEW HAMPSHIRE!! I wish I had known we had crossed into NH, but I either missed a sign or there wasn't one. I am going to go with the latter. Haha.
I snapped this pic of one of the pacers as we were heading up another rolling hill. ;)
As I came up next to her, she said: "I recognize you from Instagram... IrishEyes!" Ahhh I love it. :) :)
Thanks Jamie for following me on social media and being a kickass pacer! She was RIGHT on the money for the 2-hour folks... and this was 3 weeks after SHE crushed Boston!
Mile 5: 8:59
Mile 6: 8:36
As we hit the halfway mark, we had to snap a quick pic and send it to our buddy Dan, who we wished was running right alongside us at that time.
Thumbs up for a fun run... and you know what?
A PAIN FREE RUN!
That's right friends. Halfway through the run and I hadn't felt any pain in my knee. I tried to knock on wood that the second half of the run would go just as well.
As we celebrated being pain free, the course gave us another incline to enjoy. :P
Oh don't worry - there was another!
Mile 7: 9:33
Mile 8: 8:28
Mile 9: 9:44
The crowds may have been sparse, but the ones that were out were out in full effect. It was awesome seeing families out cheering on their moms or dads running, students spectating for their teachers and neighborhoods out for their community. It was a sweet sight for sure.
I love me some high fives from kiddos. It was also fun seeing spectators in multiple places on the course. I hope their runners appreciated the effort that takes. I know how tough it can be, especially when lugging a couple kiddos in a mini van from spot to spot. :)
I was getting excited to see Colleen at the Finish Line. ;)
I don't think Page ever takes a bad running pic. Me on the other hand... EEK! :P
It wasn't until the final 5k that I started feeling a twinge of pain in the knee. It was dull and nothing like what I felt during the marathon, but it finally surfaced. I expected that. I couldn't see one dry needling session magically fixing everything.
But we only had a 5k cool down to go. ;) Plus we were heading back towards the road we started the race on, which meant we would be ending on that lovely downhill. Maybe not the best thing for the knee, but it meant faster times on the way to the Finish.
Hello adorable quaint New England center. :)
Mile 10: 8:46
Mile 11: 9:38
Mile 12: 8:30
Mile 13: 8:06
We saw Colleen on our left as we came into the Finish! Yes! Sub-2. It had been awhile since I had taken time to push the pace a little and finish sub-2. Half #51 was in the books and there were smiles the entire time.
FINAL TIME: 1:57:11 (8:57 min/mile pace)
I loved the bling!!
We put on our sweet new sweatshirts now that we had earned it and headed to the beer tent... after grabbing a slice of pizza of course.
I am not sure where I would be without Page! She is a great running partner and a better friend.
Oh look we bumped into Beth and Joel in the beer tent. Of course we would. :) I am so glad I basically stalked them at races and finally got up the courage to say hi! These two are running inspirations of mine and I love bumping into them at races all over New England.
Overall, this race was a blast. I will totally be back next year. The swag was on point. Plenty of water stops. Volunteers were encouraging. Parking was a breeze. Course was gorgeous.
I did hear they have changed the course each year they've hosted it so we will have to see what next year brings.
Have you run the Earn Run Rock Half? Did you love the swag as much as I did?