Well, it’s almost a week later, but I finally have a chance to tell you what I was up to last Saturday: the Rumspringa Half Marathon!
I had entered this half-marathon in January (I think?) and at the time I thought it would be the goal event I would really train for. One thing led to another, though, and the winter passed by without much working out.
In March, I finally decided to get motivated and register/train for West Point’s 24th Annual Triathlon. That was a great decision, but with my focus on building strength for swimming and biking, running kind of fell by the wayside. I was doing well in Power Cycle classes, and swimming was coming back to me more easily than I thought it would, but that didn’t leave much time for running.
The weekend before this race, I did 7 miles, in a desperate attempt to reassure myself that I wouldn’t die by doing a half-marathon in my untrained condition. (Only kind of kidding!) I had a great run, but still wasn’t certain how the Rumspringa Half would go.
Luckily, Saturday was a gorgeous day to get an early start. The air was a bit chilly in the rolling hills of Lancaster County, but the sun was shining and I was excited. I told my parents (the best race supporters ever) that I just wanted to finish – and that they shouldn’t expect me to finish much before 3 hours. OK, so I knew that was an overestimate, but really. I did just wanted to finish. I didn’t want to kill myself because I had that big test on Monday and had to be able to function.
I started off at the absolute back of the pack and was one of the last to cross the start line. (Note to self: don’t do this when the race isn’t using chip timing!)
The first few miles ticked by easily. I was loving the course’s scenic rolling hills on paved roads, with plenty of volunteers directing runners and stopping traffic. Around mile 3, I had an unplanned break when I stopped to help a man who had fallen off his bike on the same road as the run course. He was not involved in the run at all, and I don’t think he was injured as a result of the race activities, although I didn’t actually see him fall. I stopped for a few minutes to make sure he was doing OK, but the race volunteers and a few other runners who had gotten there before me were all over it. They were in the process of calling an ambulance, stopping traffic, and making sure the man was safe while waiting for help. The man’s injuries didn’t seem to be serious, help was on the way, and I felt a bit superfluous, so I decided to continue on.
By this time, many of the people I had slowly passed during the first three miles were now ahead of me – and I realized that I had an uphill climb right in front of me after the 3-mile marker. It was all good though. I put my head down and got up that hill – and all the rest of the hills from that point forward! 🙂 At the second aid station, between miles 4 and 5, there was a nice surprise waiting for us:
Yes, that is a man playing an accordion! Wearing lederhosen! How cool is that?!? Best aid station ever.
I looked at my watch for the first time when I hit the 7 mile mark. It showed that 1:10 had gone by, which shocked me (in a good way). It took me that long to run my 7-miler the weekend before, and I figured I would have been quite a bit slower when I was running twice the distance, especially after my stop to help the biker. I felt great, though, and kept on trucking at about the same pace as I had kept for the first 7 miles.
The lovely sunshiny weather continued, as did the gorgeous scenery. I didn’t want to stop, but I couldn’t help snapping a few pictures of the classic Lancaster farm landscapes as I ran by:
I was happy to see familiar spots along the course as we looped back onto some of the same roads that the race had started on. I felt a little tired but strong going in to the finish at Stoudtburg Village. I was excited to see the time at the finish line when the volunteer clocked me in – under 2:15! Not bad for just wanting to finish and for that unexpected pit stop.
The best part of the race was still to come though – the finish line food! The spread was wonderful and there was plenty for everyone. The food was in keeping with the German/Pennsylvania Dutch theme of the day and included brats, sauerkraut, and German potato salad. If, like me, you prefered something lighter, you could enjoy the AMAZING carrot crumb cake and banana chocolate chip bread. (I would sign up for this race again just for these two items!) There was also PB&J and plenty of little snacks (orange slices, gummi bears, cookies) and drinks. AND, everyone could get a free beer at Stoudt’s during the post-race celebration and award ceremony – where they handed out authentic German weather houses to age group and best costume winners. I know. Very cool, huh?
I was so impressed with the organization and execution of this race. If I had to think of one thing to improve, it would be using chip timing, but even that wasn’t a huge deal for someone like me who was using this race for training purposes. I’ll definitely try to run more races organized by Uber Endurance Sports in the future. Anyone up for the 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut? 🙂