Garden Spot Half re-cap

I want to start out by saying that The Garden Spot Marathon was one of the most well-run races that I have ever run! If you are anywhere close and looking for a great race, this is it….I definitely plan on doing it again next year. The volunteers were amazing and everywhere! They even had volunteers at the porta- potties moving the lines along faster! I really don’t think you could ask for anything more from a race. It was a beautiful course. Check-in was easy and fast. The parking was great…lots of close parking and volunteers directing, the gear check was super organized with plenty of help, tons of amazing race food including fresh made omelets! They also had some heated tents (even though they there was no heat needed, it would have been great if it was cold), a massage tent for after the race, and men’s and women’s changing tents. Registration came with a really nice shirt, a hat and a bag.

Now that you know how great of a race this is, let’s get to the nitty-gritty.

They also had a kid’s marathon that was on Friday night. This was also super well run with tons of great perks for the kids! My kids had a friend do it with them, and they all loved it!

The whole family went there Friday night for this. We live about 90 minutes from there, so not too bad. It ended up being perfect timing too. They ran their race and then it rained :). The kids marathon was 1.2 miles after having completed 25 at home for 26.2 total.

DSC_1006 DSC_0952 Courtney during the run πŸ™‚


DSC_0993 DSC_0975 Alyssa during the run! πŸ™‚

DSC_1031 After the race!

Now this is my kind of ice cream container :)!!!!!


Now to my race. I got up at 4:25 to leave by 5:15. The race started at 8 but I wanted to get there by 7 ( I get super anxious) and I really was not sure how the traffic would be as I got close to the race…turns out I did not need to leave that early and the parking people were amazing, but you just never know.

My race finish time was 1:37:26…my PR is 1:32. I am not going to say that I didn’t have goals for this race…of course you want to PR so that is always a goal. I did not know if that wasΒ  realistic or not (the little bit of hip trouble I have been having was enough to make me unsure), but I knew it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility either.Β  I decided I was going for a PR, but I would know pretty quick if that possible and if not get close to my last PR time (1:32).

The course was absolutely beautiful…I remember through parts of it wishing I had a camera to take pictures. That being said, it was also quite hilly. One hill in particular at mile 9 really messed with my pace. Here were my splits:

mile1: 6:49



mile4: 6:56

mile5: 7:51

mile6: 6:57

mile7: 6:47

mile 8: 7:14

mile9: 9:07…in hindsight I wish I just could have pushed a little harder and at least been in the 8’s

mile10: 7:54

mile11: 7:19

mile12: 7:10

mile13: 7:52….didn’t get the last .1 because I always forget to stop my watch πŸ™‚

Looking back I think it is so funny to recall all the thoughts that go through your head during a race :). The number in my head was 6:52. Do not go out in the 6:30’s and regret it!!! If I would have known how hilly it was I probably would have adjusted that number (I tend to be ambitious though so maybe not).

At mile 2 I was telling myself not to do that..slow down just a little. It is hard when you feel so good though!!! The rolling hill sin mile 3 knocked me back into reality and I started thing a PR was probably not for today…but I still wanted around 1:32.

More rolling hills in mile 5 made me question the 1:32 but I was also the first female and wanted to hold onto that!

Flat miles 6 and 7 boosted my confidence….till mile 9 CRUSHED me! There had already been a decent amount of hills so my legs were having a hard time but there was a hill in mile 9 that was just so steep! The down hill really didn’t seem to help either. Downhills can actually be hard to run!

Enter mile 10 when the first girl ran past me :(…..she was great though! She was trying to keep me with her, but I just couldn’t…my legs were less than thrilled with the situation. Still in mile 10 another girl passed me. I decided to stop looking at my watch and just get into a comfortable hard pace and finish!…and that is what I did. I think the hardest part of this race for me was getting passed by 5 girls towards the end of the race. I am going to focus my training on fast finishes and try to work on the mental aspect of racing! This race got me excited to find another half to sign up for :)!

1st in my age group, 6 female overall. The first female finished in 1:34:03. I was a little disappointed I couldn’t hold onto the last couple of girls to finish 3rd overall…3rd place female was 1:36:31…but oh well. It was a beautiful day and a GREAT race! I LOVE running races…good or bad. I love the people and running somewhere new, the competition, the excitement…I just love it!

Speaking of the people….I got to meet up with Laura @Mommyrunfast

I love reading her blog and she is just as nice in person!!! I will just add that she is amazing…she ran this race at an amazing pace and is 24 weeks pregnant. Meeting up with running bloggers is great and I can’t wait for the next time that happens!!!


What is your favorite race so far?

Do you go into races with a strategy?

Are you good at negative splitting races?………….NO! I have only done it once!

Ever meet up with running bloggers?………I am looking at a few more 1/2’s this summer and the Richmond Marathon in fall…let me know if you will be there too!


    • Jen says

      Thanks!!!! It was great to meet Laura and my kids had a great time too…just a great weekend! Hope yours was good too!

  1. says

    You did so AMAZING! I cannot imagine a pr on that course, either. That mile 9 threw my pace way off, too!
    It was SO great to meet you, Jen! I wish we could have had even more time to chat and catch up. Maybe at the fall Lancaster race to win that road apple. : )

    • Jen says

      Thanks! I know, me too!!! If only we lived closer :)! I hope all the painting got finished and turned out well :). I am definitely planning on the fall and would love to meet up again!!!

  2. says

    Sorry you didn’t get a. PR- but it sounds like your training hasn’t been as routine this winter with your big move, so maybe that was part of it. I’m glad you still enjoyed the race though, and that it was a breeze to get checked in.
    I don’t think I’ve ever ran a negative split in a race, it’s something I definitely need to work on too. It’s hard not to let race nerves get the best of you off the start line!

    • Jen says

      Amen! Total agree..I get race anxious and take off :). I actually was sorta trying to hold back in this one…with the hills though I just didn’t hold back enough. It really was an awesome day though and such a great race!

  3. says

    Still a great time! It’s your first 1/2 of the year, right? Practically a training run. πŸ™‚ My half was also less than ideal. I went home and signed up for another one! πŸ™‚ I can negative split, but I really need to run more by feel than my garmin to accomplish it. I did it for my 15k. DID NOT do it for my most recent race.

    • Jen says

      Yes it was such a great day and a great race! Not every race can be a pr….I think it is important to enjoy even the ones that don’t go your way exactly :)!…and remember you paid to do it :)!
      It is my first of this season and only my second total….I am already searching for another one to do next month! I have only negative split once and I wasn’t even trying to do it…I have no idea how I did…it was my second marathon

  4. says

    WOW Jen!!! You should be so proud of yourself. I know it wasn’t the PR you wanted but still…1st in your age group and 6th overall? That’s amazing no matter what! GREAT job!!!
    And how fun to meet Laura πŸ™‚

    • Jen says

      Thanks!!! It can’t always be a PR and this was such a fun race and great weekend!!! It was great to meet Laura too…I love meeting running bloggers :)!

    • Jen says

      Thanks!!! It was tough, but tough makes us better, right :)…it was fun and a great day! Love everything about the shirt :)!

    • Jen says

      Thanks!!!! It was really nice…it is actually the first time I have done that after a race. I am pretty sure that it helped a lot with my recovery too!

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