I know what you’re thinking. You ran a race called the Amish Country Half Marathon? After two Disney halfs? Sounds like a drastic difference.
And it was. But not in a bad way.
I signed up for this race after I realized how close I was to achieving Half Fanatic status. I just needed one more race sometime in November to make it. And then I found this little race only 2.5 hours away. Sounded perfect!
This was an inaugural race in a tiny town, but it was being run by a national race company, so I figured the support would be good and that it would be a well-run race. And I was pleased. Colleen picked up my packet from the expo, so I can’t say much about that (and if it was even a real expo at all). Nice tech t-shirt though. Can’t complain about that. Chip timing too. Very important.
On race morning, we showed up, and because of traffic, they started the race a little bit late. It was frustrating, since it was COLD, but nice for all those stuck in traffic. There weren’t corrals – just start where you think you should start and get running. Very quickly, I realized I was going to be in the back of this particular race. I knew it was small, probably around 1000 people or so, but it welcomed walkers and had a 4 hour time limit, so I hoped I wasn’t going to be completely last. I forced myself to not worry about my placement and just run smart. I knew that pushing too hard would lead to disaster and I just needed to finish to get HF status.
I have to admit, in my head, I knew that my PR was 13:15 minute miles. So if I could just keep things a bit faster than that, I’d have an easy new PR. Considering my PR was based on a Disney race with photo stops (and a bathroom break) it was definitely feasible, but this course was HILLY. So I wasn’t sure.
I set out with my 2:1 run/walk pattern and just kept on running. Slow, but not too slow. The course was gorgeous. Farmhouses and wonderful Mennonite families out watching the race (not cheering, just watching, occasionally returning a wave). The water stops were manned by Mennonite children, which was beyond adorable. I found myself running among the same group of people, and we had a good time. We were near the back, so they were letting cars pass, some more politely than others. And of course, there were horses and buggys. At one point, we almost got run over by a milk truck trying to pull in to a driveway. That was a fun moment. But we all survived.
By mile 11, I knew that I had a PR. I just had to keep moving and it was mine. So I kept moving, even with all the crazy hills. Actually, I think my run/walk pattern really helped with the hills. Giant hill? Just alter the plan so I’m walking up them and running down. Easy as pie. Except for that slightly gravelly hill. But it was still doable. And I came around the last turn and finished strong. I felt great when I finished. Not exhausted, not nauseous, not sore, just happy. It was an awesome feeling. The PR was mine, and HF was mine. A great day all in all.
I really think I might run this race again next year. Sure, I was probably one of the last 50 finishers, but it was such a gorgeous course that it was worth it. I’m also a bit of a solo runner, so I didn’t mind being fairly alone. I also had my music, which was nice, though weird when I ran past the Mennonite families while listening to Lady Gaga. But then something slow and classical would come on as I ran past the wide open fields and it was beautiful.