fairfield half marathon

Fairfield Half Take 3, Recap Take 2

“I would say I’m a kinda fly by the seat of my pants gal.”

Vivian, Pretty Woman

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Here is the deal, I have spent the past three days (no joke) putting together a recap of my glorious return to running only to have WordPress and my Mac completely destroy it.  I suspect a conspiracy… However it may also be possible that it was too much awesomeness in one post and the system was overwhelmed… or my computer is just fried from it being so darn hot in my living room.    Anyway, instead of trying to recreate my original post (you’re just can’t recreate magic) I am going to give you a quick run down.  Ready?

Here we go!

Sunday I made a triumphant return to running and celebrated being 3 weeks out from surgery by running the Fairfield Half Marathon for my third time.  It was pretty awesome, but here are the highlights.

My race number was a palindrome!  I realize this makes me a total nerd, but I considered it good luck.  I mean, what are the odds? 

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I also scored this nifty magnet for my car.   Two thumbs up to the race organizers on this one!  I was extra excited because I had to relinquish all my old race stickers when I traded in my car.  This definitely helped my new collection.

 

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Did I mention it even matches my new orange crosstrek?

I have to admit that I was a little nervous about doing this race because of my recent surgery and not feeling terribly great the night before… not to mention working a 14+ hour shift the day prior.  However, I woke up before my alarm feeling good and reminded myself that I could always walk or drop out if I needed to.  

Besides, I just didn’t want to miss Fairfield after having done it the past two years.  As much as I HATE their half, I also love it.  It’s primarily the heat and humidity I can’t stand… well, that and the hills.  Luckily, the weather this year was only in the 60s and several of the hills from the initial course were replaced by coastal views last year.

It is pretty amazing how much flatter that course felt not running in 90 degree weather with near 100% humidity!  I kept waiting for all the ridiculous inclines to start, only to find they were not as numerous or steep as I remembered.  The coastal views, meanwhile, were far more enjoyable because I was not distracted by being baked by the sun.  The other thing that I’m sure made I huge difference is that I had already decided going into the run to not push hard and just do it for fun.  Instead of killing myself to get a good time, I slowed down to high five all the kiddos and run through sprinklers.  It was a completely different experience, and I definitely appreciated the change in pace.

The other major perk this year was the gorgeous weather seemed to draw bigger crowds of spectators than the past years I’ve run.  There were TONS of people cheering, playing in bands, handing out water and ice cubes, and spraying runners with hoses.  There were even lots of elderly folks in lawn chairs waving.  It was so much more fun to run with the support of the crowd!  (Not to mention all the AMAZING volunteers!!!! Thank you all!!!!)  

One thing I love about the Fairfield Half is that it is a big event.  There are just hordes of runners the whole way through the course.  Not in a claustrophobic kind of way, but rather a thank God I’m not a straggler running by myself kind of way.  Plus, the finish is at a GIANT BEACH PARTY? What is better than that? You get a good run in and then celebrate on the beach with a couple thousand of your new runner buddies.  RUNNER BEACH PARTY!  It’s the stuff dreams are made of…  and totally worth sweating it out in the heat for 13.1… I swear!  Besides cool ocean water beats an ice bath after a run any day in my book.

In case you are wondering, I finished the whole 13.1 without any issue.  My go slow and enjoy the scenery game plan paid off.  In fact, my biggest source of discomfort pain was actually the chafing on my inner thighs. (Bodyglide, you FAILED me!)  My finish time was 2:06 which I think is actually faster than my previous times for that course.  I am pretty sure it had entirely to do with the more comfortable weather, but I’ll still take it.  Really, it’s not to bad for 3 weeks post op and a whole month without running… or being allowed to do much of anything.  

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Half Marathon for very first run post-op? Sure, why not?  Go big or go home, right?

 

 

One cool thing about this race is that it was the first that I logged as an OutRUNNER for OutRUN38.  If you have never heard of this organization or Liz Shuman you should definitely check them out!  I have even added the recent clip from the Today Show for your viewing pleasure. (You’re welcome!)

 

You know I am all about supporting a good cause, and this is a great one!  It’s all about positivity and inspiration! Liz is such a tremendously vibrant and inspiring lady, and the community that has risen up around her is beyond amazing.  If you are interested in helping individuals with cystic fibrosis or just getting involved in a great cause then consider joining the OutRunner community.  Wouldn’t you like to put all those miles you log to good use?

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Fairfield Half Recap- Take 2!

“The battle of life is, in most cases, fought uphill…

If there were no difficulties there would be no success;

if there were nothing to struggle for, there would be nothing to be achieved.”
-Samuel Smiles

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This past Sunday I took on the Fairfield Half Marathon for the second timebecause I didn’t learn my lesson the first time!  I am probably the only person who was wishing for rainy weather that day.  Last year it was a scorcher, so hot my nail polish melted!  

All the hills and sun made for such a brutal experience.  I can honestly say that there wasn’t any part of the course that was flat or shaded.  Thus, I was almost relieved when the race organizers announced that they had eliminated many of the hills and changed the course to make it more amenable to first time runners.  (In reality, I think it may have had to do with all the runners that dropped and crazy ambulance traffic.)  

I say ALMOST because I found it very difficult to believe they could make the course much easier given how hilly the area was.  I was right to be doubtful!  The announcer on race day claimed there were only two hills on the course… I’m still curious which two exactly he was counting.  I’m thinking it’s the ones we doubled back on!  For the record, I didn’t believe him for one hot second!

Anyway, the race itself was indeed as awful as last year in every respect.  It was hotter, more humid, and STILL HILLY!  Granted most of the hills were less steep, but the course was NO WHERE close to flat!!! They did, at least, add some more coastal views- which was greatly lacking the first time around.  Of course, the main reason I did the race remained the same, and that is the finish AT THE BEACH.

The entire time I ran this year, I was running to that water.  It was all I could think about… aside from how miserable I was….I did also think about how badly I wanted to quit...frequently! Of course, then I would just remind myself that if I didn’t feel like dying or quitting then I probably wasn’t running hard enough.  lol  Once I did finish, it was SO REFRESHING to FINALLY wade in that the water.  Conveniently, it worked as icing as well.  Despite the heat and hills (which I ate for breakfast btw!), I finished to course in under 2:05, which was several minutes faster than last year.  Mostly, though, I was happy just not to have gotten sick… or died of heat stroke.

I think the best part about this race- aside from the beach– was the fact that I went on my own.  Being there by myself gave me the opportunity to meet new people and make some awesome new friends.  In fact, shortly after I arrived, I bonded with some people parked next to me who happened to all be friends and belong to a running club.  Since the racers are basically required to come hours before the start (or risk not finding parking!), we had lots of time to chat.

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Not a bad place to finish!

So I spent my free time before and after chatting with Lee (a triathlete from Philly), Beth (from NY and training for her first marathon), George (CT local and ringer leader), and Lindsey (super mom and total running beast)… all very nice people by my standards!  To be honest, I NEVER would have spent the better part of my afternoon on the beach after the race if I hadn’t met these people.  It was such a great relaxing experience to chill out with them and just enjoy the moment.  We had all conquered this torturous run, and now we were reaping the reward- soaking up the sun AND BREEZE on the beach 🙂

I think I was even more excited about making all these new friends and my time on the beach than my finisher medal… and you know that’s saying something!  Spending the day with them reminded me of so many reasons why I love the running community. There was no show boating or one up-ing.  Everyone was just happy to be there and genuinely supportive of each other.  That is what running is all about… in my opinion anyway. 🙂