Valley Harvest HALF Marathon Race Recap

To say I was waiting for this day all year-long is an understatement. I knew last fall when I ran the Valley Harvest 5k that in 2014 I wanted to run my 2nd half marathon. It’s been 8 years since I ran my first (2:33:56) and I was ready. I’ve run A LOT of race this year, far more than I ever planned. To say this was the year of good running for me is another understatement; I managed to get numerous Personal Bests in 5k’s, 10k’s and yes my half marathon. It went a little something like this.

On July 21st, I started my training plan and was a little freaked out by the numbers but I did it anyway. I trained on my treadmill while the girls slept at night, I ran during my lunch break and I ran most of my long runs outside when my husband was home with the girls. I probably ran 80-90% of those runs on my own but was really lucky to run a handful of my long runs with Krystol. (She rocked her 1st half marathon at Valley Harvest: 2:03)

Sunday around 3 AM I was up with Hilary and couldn’t get her back to sleep, so in the bed she came. At 5:45 I woke up and put her back in her crib and figured laying in bed for another 15 minutes wasn’t going to do me any good. My parents stayed with the girls and Sai came with me to Acadia University at 7:30. I met up with Krystol, hit up the bathrooms before the crowd and then did a quick warm up outside.

Pre Race Silly VHM

It was cold! Long sleeves and gloves that we later ditched to her husband along the route. The announcements were made and the gun went off…our feet started moving with the crowd and I turned my Green Garmin on as I crossed over the start line.

Off we went into the Town of Wolfville following everyone in front of us, including the 2:00 hour pace bunny. I already made note of the next pace bunny {2:15} as we are friends on Instagram…I told him that I didn’t really want to meet him in person during the race.

3 to 4k VHM Happy runners

Happy delayering runners πŸ™‚ Photo’s by Casey (Krystol’s husband)

I saw my husband and quickly passed him my sunglasses. I don’t know why I wear them as the last two races I ran, I ditched them right away. Again, it was cold and we were running fast: 5:30, 5:31, 5:39, 5:43,5:27. My Green Garmin seemed “off” by .37 of a kilometer as we approach the 1k, 2k and 3k signs. Kyrstol and I were running fast but were good with the pace. I was a little concerned with maintaining that pace as I knew it was going to get hilly.

6-11km: 5:36, 5:30, 5:49, 5:33, 5:44, 5:41

The first hill was easy and the first long incline was rough but we made it through it. Many runners passed us and we passed a few as well. We came to the turn around point which I had never run before and it was rolling HILLS! I ran up and over the first two sets and finally saw the turn around point and said (while pointing with my finger) “WE have to run all the way there?” to Krystol. She laughed and said yes, we do!

PR VHM TimChesnutt Photos

Photo’s by @TimChesnutt (thank you)

12 – 16km: 5:46, 5:51, 6:24, 6:00, 5:57

The turn around point came and I said to Krystol that she might lose me here but we both managed to stay together until the last of the hills in that section. I told Krystol I needed to walk and she was still good to go before the 14k marker. As she pulled away and I walked there was a guy on the side of the road puking …. IT…WAS…AWESOME to hear and SEE (please tell me you’ve read the sarcasm there). So that sound and sight was in my head for a while and it didn’t help that he caught up to me and ran near me for the remainder of the run.

I plowed through the next hill with strong legs and felt pretty good but wasn’t quite ready to push it. Then came the longest, flattest straight stretch of road that one could run on – a causeway/bridge with a long hill at the end. The straight stretch killed me and the hill was easy – go figure!Β 

17-21km: 6:02, 6:22, 6:31, 6:20, 625, 1:50)

At that point I only had 3-4 k to go but had nothing left in the tank to really push it. All I could think about is maintain your happy pace and you’ll get your happy race in the end. I walked 3-4 times and was able to pace myself with another girl. We would pass each other off and on and say “good job, almost there” each time we could pass each other.

As I was running back into Acadia University, I saw my Dad with hisΒ camera on. That made me feel happy and supported. As I ran up the last incline before the beautiful track, my husband was standing there, so relaxed and another smile just plastered across my face. I was able to pick up my pace from there and run the 3/4 of the track to the finish line.


The last few steps….

I did it! 21.33 kilometers =Β 2:05:10

Yes….not 21.1 but 21.33 km – apparently the course was off a little as everyone’s Garmin’s were off during the course – it wasn’t just me. I have heard that the lead cyclist took the wrong route in the Town at the beginning but it’s yet to be confirmed or times changed.

Am I happy with my run/time? Yes, 100%. Honestly, I was aiming for 2:06 – 2:10 to finish and if I could pull off anything under that it would be amazing! Those last 3 kilometers were the hardest physically but I managed to get through them.

PR VHM Finish photo

I did everything I wanted to do. I ran comfortable. Β I took in the scenery. I ran with my running buddy and on my own. I pushed it on those friggin’ hills when all I wanted to do was stop {mind over matter} and I completed my 2nd half marathon.

A new Personal Best by 28:46Β 

Place: 70/131 Β (F30-39)

Gun time: 2:05:46

Chip time: 2:05:10Β 

Pace: 5:58 Β  (5:52 Garmin)

Calories burned: 1586 – looks like I was ready for Thanksgiving dinner AND desert!!!!

Post Race:

The weather was cold at first but warmed up to be a hot sunny mid morning finish. It was perfect. My husband, our girls and my parents all got to see me finish. I stretched on the field for a bit with Krystol and then we went inside for some food. All of a sudden I had this sensation that I HAD TO sit down. I couldn’t talk, walk or be responsible for either of our little munchkins. I made sure someone was with each of the girls and be lined it to the bleachers to sit and eat. Β I wasn’t dehydrated or near passing out like last year’s Mud Hero but I sure wasn’t feeling awesome.

medals garmin

After about 20 minutes of sitting, eating and drinking water I was ready to walk to our car. The good news is that I was in good hands and feel kinda lucky that my husband is a Paramedic. Since he knows me best and know’s the signs to look out for after a race, I wasn’t really too worried about my state πŸ™‚

We got home, I showered and stretched while the rest of my family arrived for Thanksgiving dinner! We ate, I rested and then slept while the girls played outside with Grandad {thank you for that too}. That night, we were all in bed by 8pm!

And just like that my 2nd half marathon is done….if you are still reading, thanks πŸ™‚ It’s been an amazing, long, hard, challenging, good 12 weeks and I will say this: I look forward to my next half marathon all ready!

Anyone race last weekend?

Ever run a course and have it be over OR under the expected distance?

What’s the worst you’ve felt like after a run/race?

45 thoughts on “Valley Harvest HALF Marathon Race Recap

  1. A couple of years ago I did a 5km race. I had only just started running really. It wasn’t my first race but it was my first with a HR monitor watch. It was pretty basic and only had time and calories, not speed/pace/distance. I thought I had a great PB on the 5km until several people mentioned that the course only measured around 4.6km… Congratulations on your second half marathon success!

  2. Congrats congrats congrats! How awesome is that? I get sooo annoyed when races are off like that because let’s face it….I don’t mind running a few extra tenths of a mile or kilometer but when you bust your butt for a good race time you want credit where credit is due. Either way, you rocked it girl!

  3. Congratulations! Great job on the PR! I never wear my garmin when I race and I rarely even look at my watch. It’s a weird, but I hate looking and knowing my time. I like to be surprised when I cross the finish line.

    • Thanks! Really, you never wear your Garmin to race! Wow, I think I’d be lost with out it. I start doing the math towards the end in my head so I know when I could possibly finish.

  4. Congratulations! You perfectly executed a strong strategy in your training plan and on race day. good job! Now get into a 5k about 2 or 3 weeks after the half, you’ll be amazed how much speed follows endurance like that. And that will motivate you to break 2 hours on your next half marathon.

    • Thanks! I’m pretty happy with the whole experience and learned so much during the 12 weeks of training! (And can’t wait to do it again). I actually have a 5k planned in another week and a half so that should be fun to see what I can do there!
      I am very motivated to get s sub 2 hour half marathon next time.

    • Thanks Molly! Sometimes I wondered how I did all that training, I will admit…other things suffered (my house, seeing friends etc) but that’s life. If I didn’t have a treadmill, I would not be were I am at with my running. I know lots of people HATE treadmills but I am so thankful to have one and to be able to run each night when the girls are asleep.

      Can’t wait to hear about your Legs for Literacy run. Krystol – my running buddy is doing the half, which will be here 2nd half ever and 2 weeks back to back!

  5. Great Recap! I can’t believe you had to run near the puker guy, that must have sucked 😦 Just be glad it wasn’t you puking I guess πŸ™‚ Way to go, what a year of running it’s been – so much success even though you are so busy it would have been easy to say you didn’t have time!

    • Thanks! If I would have kept up with your pace I would have missed him…lucky you πŸ˜‰ It sure has been an awesome year of running and I’ve been really lucky to have such a great running buddy!

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