Hospital Hill Run 6/4/11

4 Jun

My 19th race and 5th half marathon is in the books. It was a horribly hot and miserable race, but I did it! I actually took more pictures this race so I could do a proper race recap, so without further ado here is my report…

It all started at packet pickup on Friday afternoon. I usually don’t pick up my packet early for races that are over 15-20 minutes away, but there was no race morning packet pickup, so I didn’t have an option. There was an expo this year though, so it made having to drive downtown a little bit more worthwhile. First stop at the expo was to pick up bibs. My brother and Sister in Law came into town for the race, and my Sister in Law that lives here also ran the race, so we had lots to pick up!

After grabbing the bibs we had to go pick up the rest of our stuff. Hospital Hill has some of the best race goodies. This year there were tech shirts and reusable water bottles before the race. After the race you get finishers flip flops and your medal of course. Here’s a couple pictures of the pre-race goodies.

I saw on the Hospital Hill Facebook page that you could sign up at the expo for next years race at a discounted rate and you’d also get a free gift. I plan to make this race (in any distance 5k, 10k, or 1/2) an annual thing, so I signed up for the 1/2 again for next year. I got a visor for signing up, and only had to pay $39 for the race. Considering the awesome race swag you get for running this race I thought that was a steal, especially since there were people paying $45 to run the 5k at the expo. Here is the visor I got! I’ve been needing one really bad, so it was a great freebie!

After getting all the race stuff it was time to look around the expo for a bit. First stop was the bondiband booth. I LOVE my bondibands. They are awesome at absorbing sweat and water, I have pictures from the race to prove it! I got 3 new bondibands, a blue 13.1 band to match my half fanatics shirt (pictured later on), and the other 2 below.

I stopped by the garmin pacers booth to get a pace band to wear for the race. I heard it was a tough course, so I thought 2:15 would be a modest goal since my PR is 2:10 on another hilly course… If I only knew what the hills in my future were really like, I would probably rethink that decision.
I also signed up for a new 15k race in the fall. It was $10 off and you got a free gift for signing up. I had been holding off on signing up since I thought the price was a little high at $40, but $30 seemed a lot more reasonable. I like that it’s a 15k, not a distance you see often. This is the gift I got for registering.

After looking around a little longer nothing else caught my eye, and so packet pickup fun ended.

I went home and laid out everything I would need for the morning. I didn’t want to forget anything since I had to get up so early in the morning!

Ok, fast forward to about 6:50 Saturday morning. Race day is finally here!
We got to the race plenty early, but made the mistake of not getting into the starting chute until the last minute. My best attempt to get into the starting area near the sign that designated the 10 minute/mile pace runners was to stand outside the actual starting area near a fence someone had opened up. I think this race would benefit from having corals. Last year the 1/2 started 15 minutes before the 5k & 10k, so there weren’t as many people crowded into the start area at one time. Here is my view of the start, and the people behind me. There were 7,600 runners this year!

A few minutes before the race was set to start, the wheel chair athletes were sent on their journey. Right after 7AM the rest of us started. It was slow getting to the start line, it took me over 2 minutes from where I was standing to cross the starting mats. Here is everyone in front of me about a 1/4 mile into the race.

I was trying to run slower than usual so I wouldn’t lose steam too early, and still managed to run my first mile in under 10 minutes. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with that pace, and tried to slow down even more, especially with the first hill coming up fast. Shortly after the marker for mile 1 was hospital hill, the hill that the race is named after. I am fairly certain this was the only hill that I ran up in it’s entirety the whole race. I shouldn’t have pushed myself up that hill so early on. I managed to keep a good pace for about 4 miles, and then my energy started draining fast. This was around the time that the 2:15 pace group passed me, and I gave up on that goal. It was super hot, and humid. At every water stop I grabbed 2 cups of water, one to drink and one to pour over my head. I would cool down for a couple minutes and feel good, but then I would start getting hot again all too soon. The rest of the race was kind of blur from that point. I was pretty miserable, and just wanted to finish the race. I was very thankful for all the people who were cheering us on with their garden hoses to cool us down and bags of ice. The spectators were so awesome for this race!
Here are some of the pictures I took during the middle of the race. There were several bands along the course, this was the only picture that you can kind of see the band in.

I ran behind this couple for awhile. Their shirts said “13.1 days to go.”

Fast forward to mile 11 now. I was really struggling at this point, which is not normal for me. After running 4 other 1/2’s and numerous double digit training runs, my stamina and endurance is pretty good. I saw this billboard for the race that motivated me to keep pushing through the pain.

When I got to the next water stop I poured 2 waters over my head and ran through the sprinklers. I felt like a drowned rat, but it was so hot. I didn’t really care that my outfit was soaking wet, and had been soaked for several miles. The cool water was so refreshing. Check out how awesome my bondiband is! I don’t know how I managed a smile for this picture, maybe I was thinking about the fact that there was only another mile to go…

Shortly after the last photo and the 12 mile marker I was faced with trinity hill. I remember it being awful last year, and it didn’t disappoint again this year. I took this picture about half way up the hill…

I made it to the top and was ready to run the rest of the way in. It was finally all downhill to the finish! Unfortunately I got a horrible cramp in my side and had to do a really pathetic jog/walk for the last half mile. It took all I had to run the last 1/4 mile through the finishers chute. I was in so much pain trying to run with the cramp in my side, but didn’t want to stop and walk in front of all the people watching. After 2:25:24 I finally crossed the finish line. It wasn’t my best time, but I’m pleased with it. I’ve heard people talk about how they have a 1/2 marathon PR, and a HHR PR. This course is definitely not a course to PR on, but it is a course for those who want a challenge. After crossing the finish line I got an ice cold wet towel, water and my medal. Once I found everyone else, I got my flip flops and we got our post race BBQ, which I wish I could have enjoyed. Eating a meal after the race wasn’t as appetizing as it initially seemed. The BBQ was good, but I was only able to eat a few bites.

Finisher Flip Flops
We saw this guy as we were walking to the car. He runs a lot of local races, and carries the Flag for the entirety of them all. Google Strides of Pride, he has a website about what he does!

Even though the race was tough, hot, hilly, and pretty miserable, I actually had a great time. I can’t wait to come back next year and try to beat my Hospital Hill time. Now that I know what to expect I can train better for next year.
Here are some pictures of the medal this year. This year along with the medals for the next 2 years are supposed to fit together to form a super awesome medal to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the HHR in 2013. I’m hoping I can run the 1/2 the next 2 years in order to complete my collection!

My medal hanger is starting to fill up. All the medals on the left are from my 5 1/2 marathons, the others are from shorter distances and one of my age group awards.
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2 Responses to “Hospital Hill Run 6/4/11”

  1. Heather June 14, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    congrats on finishing! I think it's so cool the 3 medals will fit together! I HATE hills! I purposly try to avoid hilly courses as much as possible.

  2. Laura June 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    you do so many races!! you're awesome- great job! I LOVE your medal hanger!!! I also love the will run for chocolate bondiband lol.

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