I really had good intentions of training and keeping up the training for the Amish Country Half Marathon. Funny how races always seem to sneak up on me. Before I knew it, the race was only a couple of weeks away and I was beginning to panic at the thought of dragging my body around the roads of Lancaster County. The week leading up to the race, my pinky toe was still swollen from the mishap I had while running with Cooper 2 weeks ago. I managed to get out and run a couple of nights the week of the race, but 3 miles may have been the longest run I had that week.
Friday came regardless of my wishes for it to hold off a little longer, we made plans to meet to pick up our packets containing goodies, our timing chip, bib number and our tech shirts. Going home that night, all I could think of was how much I was going to be hurting 24 hours from now. Got home, checked the forecast for the 8 am start and selected my wardrobe, pinning the bib number on and checking out the timing chip and debated about putting it on now or wait till the morning and then attach it to my Bikila’s. I’ve had a habit of misplacing things, so I put everything I needed for the next day in one bag so I could grab it and go the next morning.
Woke at 3:30 am, stressed a little about not being able to get back to sleep and woke again to the alarm at 5:30 am. Threw back the covers, dressed and took Cooper out for his morning routine. Double and triple checked my bag and drove off to meet my running companions. Twenty minutes later, we’re on the road minus one runner. Mickey and I headed down to the race leaving a very disappointed Cassie in Annville. We reached the start of the race after sitting in traffic for 20 minutes – I think we found the shortest red light in the USA. Only two cars were able to get through at a time before the light was glowing red. We arrived 15 minutes before the race start and decided to use the porta potties one last time. As we were waiting in line, they announced that the race was delayed due to the heavy traffic coming into the race start. We headed back for the mustang and waited in the car until they made the announcement that they would be starting the race in 5 minutes.
With one last “are we really going to do this?” slipping out of my mouth, we opened the doors to the car and proceeded to the runners congregating near the announcer. The National Anthem was sung, the runners were off. Our plan for the run was to walk/run the half marathon. Emphasis on walk. We hadn’t trained as well as we should have, Mickey was still recovering from her knee injury earlier this year and I was still favoring the toe. Combine those facts with the lack of mileage, we decided that neither of us were willing to pay the price the next couple days. We ran with the back of the crowd at a nice, easy pace. We weren’t very far into the run when the “fresh country air” began to make its presence known. Woo! Gotta love that fresh air! I quickly announced “it wasn’t me” and grinned as I pointed to Mickey and asked “WAS THAT YOU?”. Our mood was set for the day. We were just going to enjoy the views and the company for the next couple hours. Throughout the run/walk we found various ways to entertain ourselves. We saw several gloves that ended up as roadkill – poor little things tried to cross the road but never made it. We saw Amish Snakes (earth worms), road apples, miniature horses, deer and a turkey. We revised one of our warnings that we call as a car approached from “car back” to “buggy back”.
Temps were in the 40’s that morning, little breezy but the sun was up and it was beautiful. One mile fell away after another, we took advantage of the water stops and were very impressed at how the water stations were hosted by the local Amish and Mennonites of Lancaster. What a joy it was to see the crowds of Amish and Mennonites and see them smile and greet each of the runners. Water stops were placed every 2 miles throughout the course, each stop was fully manned and at times it was difficult to decide which little boy or girl you would take the cup from – they all had such hope on their faces.
Most of the race was gently rolling hills mixed in with nice windy curves. Each curve and hill revealed another beautiful view. I think by far this was one of the most enjoyable half marathons. I asked Mickey to set the pace and would follow her instructions on when to walk, when to run. I found that by giving the control over, I was able to focus on my stride and foot strike. Before we realized it, we were making a turn and were told by the local fire police there were 2 miles to go, 1/2 a mile to the bake shop. He wasn’t kidding, by this point in the race the granola bars I had eaten and the toast Mickey had made for herself were long gone. I had $2 in my pocket and asked Mickey if she thought we could find a sticky bun for $2.
We took another walk break and eagle eyes Mickey said we’d walk to the 12 mile marker and then run the last mile. I agreed. We trotted off and at times it felt like the last mile was never going to end. We made the turn onto the next road I saw the field where the race began. At this point Mickey said I picked up the pace… I have no pace, I just wanted to be done. We ran up the final leg of the road and as we turned to run the remaining couple hundred feet, Mickey picked out a guy in front of us and said “let’s beat him!” Why, oh why do I let her do this? Off we go really picking up the pace and gaining on the guy. A couple of spectators noticed and began yelling at the guy to hurry up that two women were trying to beat him. Unfortunately for Mickey and I, the guy had a little more energy left than we did. He picked up the pace and we finished right behind him. Mickey and I crossed the finish line at 2:51:10 – not a PR (Personal Record) for either of us, possibly a WR (Worst Record) for both, but it was a great day and the company couldn’t have been better.
We received our medals, returned the timing chips and grabbed some post race grub. What a wonderful day for a walk/run half marathon!