That's me wearing the magical Quadrathon shirt that powered me to a big PR at the half marathon. It's kind of a miracle that it happened since I spent the week leading up to the race in Jamaica. I landed in Philadelphia at about 6:30 on Saturday night and at that poitn I didn't even know what time the race started on Sunday morning!
Anyway, we drove up to Allentown and checked into our hotel where I had the worst night of sleep ever. It had nothing to do with the hotel -- except the change from King bed on vacation to double bed at this hotel really did not work for me. Brian on the other hand, had a great night of sleep and had his very own great race on Sunday morning.
Weather was ideal for racing: slightly overcast, light breeze, mid-50 temps. We had no problem at all picking up our stuff pre-race (nice long sleeved tech shirt and free teddy bear (?) and best of all Goldenberg's Peanut Chews!) and we checked our stuff before heading to the start line.
At this point I discovered that my Nike+ had died. My iPod had been acting funny in Jamaica, freezing up at times, but I determined that was due to wild fluctuations in humidity. This was something different altogether. After I tried to start my workout and the lady says "walk around to activate your sensor" nothing happened. Try as I might, I couldn't get it to link. I tried to reset it a few times but no go -- I had to just run without it. I did manage to time my race with the iPod stopwatch (which even has lap features but I am not sure how to do that) and that was good since I wasn't wearing a watch. Of course, even if I did know how to work the lap counter, I couldn't have used it since I saw almost no mile markers all day long. I was the only one to miss them, so I must have been in some kind of zone.
I positioned myself between the 2:20 and 2:30 pacers and my plan was not to get in front of the 2:20 pacer until the very end. This turned out to be an ideal plan because I started slowish and then caught 2:20 lady but didn't pass her. She dropped me at about mile 8 when we hit a pretty big hill but then I caught up again and passed her.
I felt really good through most of the race (until that hill) and those last few miles are hillier than the beginning portion of the race and I found myself walking on hills and running the rest. I just listened to my body until the final mile and then tried to push as best as I could. I still walked a bit towards the end of the final mile because the race finishes on a high school track with lots of spectators and I did NOT want to walk during that segment. Instead, I walked a bit on the lead up (and the nasty Marine Corps Marathon-esque hill into the stadium) and then ran as fast as I could to the finish. I even tried to nab the inside lane but I didn't quite get there.
Post race food was really good (soup, vegetarian sausage, muffin tops, bananas, and water) and we even got mylar blankets which felt great because the wind was kicking up and it got kind of cold waiting for everybody to finish.
I really enjoyed the race and can't wait to do it again next year. The course is pleasant too, mostly through a park. Some people did not care for the gravel path that a large portion of the race is run on but that didn't bother me since it's my typical running surface.