New Prague Half Marathon #RunNewPrague 2016 – Race Recap

This was one of those runs I couldn’t get particularly excited for, and not because I don’t like it. In fact, I LOVE it. This is the first half marathon I ever ran, back in 2012. I look forward to running it every year, with the exception being the year I ended up with a stress fracture/reaction and couldn’t run it at all. This year, I was totally unprepared as I’m still recovering somewhat from Boston. I didn’t expect to PR it, or even run a course record. My goal, in fact, was just to finish it with a fairly respectable time.

The difference between this particular Run New Prague and the others was that Charmed Running would be at the packet pic-up selling it’s Running Charms. And I was MORE anxious about that than anything else. I mean, would anyone even like them? And if so, would they buy them?

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I arrived on site at 1pm for a 2pm packet pick up and registration start. I was somewhat relieved to meet another vendor as I unpacked my wares. Her name was Theresa, too! What a coincidence! Theresa makes the cutest headbands ever called Hooda Bands. Not only headbands, but fleece lined hats and gators, too. The two of us hit it off pretty readily, and neither of us were sure of what to expect that day as far as the crowd was concerned.

It was a terribly windy day. So windy, in fact, we ended up laying across our tables at times to prevent the wind from blowing our stuff away. By the end of our 5 hour shift, we were exhausted and sand blasted, to say the least.

Many folks just came to pick up their packets, plus the packets of 5 or 6 other runners, and not too many had cash on hand to purchase other items. But many asked if we would be back selling on race day. At first, I wasn’t prepared to be there, as I was planning to run. But I reconsidered after all the inquisitions. If there were going to be more sales on race day, I’d forfeit the race to run Charmed Running. But as fate would have it, my husband informed me he’d be back home in time that evening to be able to accompany me Saturday morning and run the booth in my absence. God bless him!

I did end up with a rather successful afternoon, and if half the people showed up at my table the following morning as promised they would, it would turn out to be a successful race day as well.

Coming home that evening, however, put me in a bit of a frenzy. I knew I’d have to rebuild the charms that I sold, and then some. There were some requests made, and I wanted to be sure I had all that inventory available. I snacked on a little something for dinner and got right to work. In fact, I put the entire family to work. It was 8pm already, and I wanted to be in bed by 10:30 pm so that I could get up at 5:30 am to be at the race by 6:45ish.

My husband was pretty bushwhacked after driving 12 hours that day. I felt bad throwing all this information at him. I had to teach him how to accept credit cards on the iPad, but realized I had better wait until the following morning. I still had to get all my gear together for the race. I already had my packet, as I picked it up that afternoon (LOVE the green long sleeve tee shirts this year). I just had to decide on some race clothes and get it all laid out for an efficient sweep in the morning.

I realized at 10pm that I needed a little help winding down, so I opted for a shot of Jim Beam, straight up. I sipped it mindlessly as I checked on my e-mail from earlier in the day. Then, I drifted off to sleep about when I wanted to.

The next morning, I fought falling back to sleep after hitting my fitbit alarm, got up, and got moving. It went smooth as silk, actually. We decided to take two cars as someone had to get back to take my daughter to her saxophone lesson. This worked well, because I arrived first to set up the table and chairs, and my husband arrived soon after to help me carry the box to the table.

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At first we set up under the registration tent, but my husband wanted to be outside in the open where everyone could see us. Smart move. I couldn’t get them out fast enough before we had customers. In fact, by the time I had the table looking good, I was teaching my husband how to run the credit card through the reader. We had our first sale for the day! And I had to get ready to run. It was already 7:30 am.

They had a local radio announcer on site to play music and MC the event. He was gracious enough to include Charmed Running in his announcements after I showed him what it was we were selling. My husband told me that he did so every 10 minutes while I was running. I have to thank KCHK radio again for doing that! It was a great help!

At 10 minutes to 8am, I left my husband and headed toward the start line. It was a bit cool in the morning, and smokey too. There was a forest fire about 100 northwest of New Prague, and you could cut the air with a knife. I didn’t know how I was going to fare in those conditions. But I swear, as we waited at the start line, the breeze picked up, and the smoke cleared in an instant! But it made for that cool start. Still, I’d much rather start cooler than warmer. We were off soon after. No delays…

There weren’t a lot of half marathoners. Most were running the 10K and 5K that morning. There were pacers, however, but I had already decided against them. I really have to work on starting slow, and picking up when the fat burning occurs. For me, this has been about mile 4 or 5 for the most part. I can tell, because I settle in. My hips work instead of my legs, and I get a very peaceful feeling come over me…like it is all going to be OK as long as I play it smart.

And smart I played it. I know this course like the back of my hand, now. And this is probably the first year I did it right.

I passed a few pacers in and around the 2 and 5 mile marks. I didn’t stop at any water stops. The two bottles I had were sufficient. This is one course where the second half is more challenging than the first. So saving everything I had for the end would be the right thing to do.

I listened to podcasts for this run. It is a rather lonely one. The only humans are at the water stops every two miles, and at random intersections throughout the course. And most of those are New Prague’s finest making sure no one gets runned over. But they were all so friendly and responded to every “Thank you” I threw out there. I love small town events. No, there aren’t a lot of folks cheering, but everyone is sure dang happy to be there!

I ran solitary for quite a distance, until I rounded the corner for the second half of the run. There I passed a fellow who kept looking over his shoulder at me as I approached. As I passed him by he said, “Crap, you caught up with me!” And I said, “Were you keeping track?” He said he passed me at mile 2, but I don’t remember seeing him. Anyway, it was water under the bridge at this point. I wished him well and continued on. I also took the opportunity to refuel as we headed up hill. By now I was running on ketones, and there was little to hold me back…

…well…except for the wind.

Headwinds from hell. That is what they should name this race. I don’t think there is one year where the second half wasn’t all about the headwinds. The only redeeming factor about this year was that the temperatures were in the upper 50s instead of the 30s. But it made for a tough second half. I had to keep correcting my form and shortening my stride. As I get anxious to finish, I have a tendency to over stride, and that completely messes everything else up, including my pace.

I made a few successful passes of runners in this final quarter. In fact, I don’t believe I was passed by anyone. I finished the final miles with no other runners in site, except for the woman I snuck up on down the final stretch. She must have started before me, because I don’t remember seeing her the entire run. She looked about my age, and I began to wonder if she was in my age group. But I didn’t sweat it. I wasn’t looking for an age group win this year despite the fact that I did get one for the two previous Run New Prague’s.

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I crossed the finish line without gazing at the clock, but did glance down at my watch. I saw 1:46:13 and was very happy with that. It was my slowest Run New Prague ever…but it didn’t really phaze me. I asked for a second medal for Delaney and headed to the food and water to collect some goodies for my husband. I never eat any of it…unless it is bacon and eggs…which never happens.

I hurriedly headed back to the Charmed Running table, and found my husband in good spirits and good form. I handed him the great looking pastries they had handed out for the runners. He accepted them graciously. He was just fine there by himself, so I ran to my car to get my jacket.

When I returned, we got my finish photo…

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He hung around with me for about an hour before he had to get going. And I stayed for another 45 minutes. Charmed Running did well! And it was fun to meet so many runners. I’m pretty open and out there when I speak about something I have such passion for. Running and charms fit that category pretty well. So, I made some new friends, too! I’m so grateful to Run New Prague and to race directors, Deb and Brooke, for allowing me to sell my charms at their event!

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The other Theresa didn’t come on race day to sell her Hooda’s, but I plan to be in touch. She graciously gave one to me in exchange for a shoe charm the day before. I told her I didn’t care for headbands because I couldn’t get them to stay on my head, but promised her a review after I test ran it. I’m excited to get out there and put it to use. It is a bright neon coral color, and you can be sure I have plenty to match it!

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I ended up finishing first in my age group. No one was more surprised than me. The woman who finished just before me was in her 60s, God love her. There were no award ceremonies this year. They decided to mail the awards out instead, so once the crowds died to nothing, I packed up my charms and headed home. My mind wandered to my next registered half marathon on June 4, and then to Grandma’s Marathon on June 18th, and I began thinking that I feel pretty damn good.

Yup.

Pretty damn good.

Did you do a Mother’s day weekend run? Where, when and how far? How did you do?

 

 

 

One Response to New Prague Half Marathon #RunNewPrague 2016 – Race Recap

  1. Gina says:

    So awesome! I’m glad your charmed running did so well!!

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