It was the best of times…it was the worst of times (literally)!


The Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon and 5k…..I have been looking forward to this weekend since we signed up for these races!!! It was my girls first 5k and then my husband and I were running the half the next day and there was balloon launches both days! Plus I was getting the coveted Road Apple Award (ha) for doing the spring half and this one. We decided to get a hotel, even though the race was only an hour and a half away, because we were going Friday and Saturday.



So let’s start with Friday. The girls were super excited for their first 5k!!! I have been building it up quite a bit and have been trying to make it as exciting as I could :). There was a pretty good chance it was going to rain for their whole race and be super hot and humid and I just kept praying that it wouldn’t. We went for our last and longest run (3 miles) on Monday night and it was HOT. They both finished, but had to walk more than they wanted to and I was a little worried that if it was hot it would be a rough race.


Well, it rained on our to the race and a little right before it….just enough to cool off the temperature a little and make it a perfect race!!!!!! They did an awesome job and had a lot of fun. They were able to do the balloon launch just before the race and that was so cool! It was still pretty humid out, but definitely not as bad as it could have been! Alyssa finished in 33:40 and Courtney in 34:07 :).


Now onto Saturday. I knew it was supposed to be hot and humid, but I have done several of my training runs during lunch time and the heat has never really gotten to me that bad. At first I was aiming for around 1:34 which is a 7:11 pace, but after thinking about the heat I decided a 7:30 pace might be more realistic and go faster in the end if I felt good.

It didn’t happen that way and I can pretty confidently say that this was my worst race performance ever. In the last month, all of my long training runs (including my 18 miler) have been faster and I have felt better than I did on Sat. I don’t know if it was a combination of things or just the humidity and heat or what, but this was just not a good race for me.

I started out to fast to begin with….but not way too fast, so I am not sure how much of a factor that played. The start of the race was in the 80’s with 100% humidity. I think I just underestimated what the humidity would do to me. I think the fact that there was no breeze at all played a part in making it feel that much hotter.  I tried taking a gel before the race and that did not work for me! I guess it is hard to know though again it was the heat or the gel. Then there is always the mental part of it. I do not completely give up mentally, but I can say that I have points where when I am way off my goal I start thinking that since I am already so far off it doesn’t really matter how much farther off I get. This definitely happened in this race. Looking back at it I placed 5th in my age group and 3rd was 2 minutes faster….I know that I could have made miles 9-12 a little faster, but at that point I had kinda checked out. So, here it is:

Mile 1: 7:19. Not too fast for me, but for this race in these conditions it should have been more like 7:50

mile 2: 7:03

mile 3: 7:23

mile 4: 8:11

mile 5: 6:59 Not sure where this came from, but again, for this race probably too fast

mile 6: 7:28

mile 7: 7:54

mile 8: 8:31

mile 9: 9:59…By this point I was feeling pretty bad and a little bit dizzy….and the rest of the race just became about finishing.

mile 10: 9:01

mile 11: 9:54

mile 12: 9:06

mile 13: 7:49

mile.21: I forgot to stop my watch, but it was .21 on my watch

Finish time 1:47. As you can see my splits are all over the place!!! This is definitely not how I expected this race to go. I know that this would be a great time for some people too…but for me, my training times should put me about 1:32-1:34.

Any time you have a race not go as planned it can be easy to sit and analyze every detail, and wonder what you can do different or what you did that didn’t work. I honestly have hard training runs go better than this race did for me, so of course you want to figure out what in the world happened. I know I sweat more in this race than I ever have in my life!

What did I do different from last week when I ran 12 miles at a 7:34 pace and still felt like I had a lot left to give?

There was the heat and humidity. I also ate breakfast and a gel before the race (before my training run I just grabbed a handful of Cheerios and blueberries). I started out faster. That is about all I can think of.

When races like this happen I think it is just best to accept that it wasn’t a good race, learn what you can from it and move on! Wouldn’t it be great if we all PR’d every race :)…but that is just not realistic…so time refocus and gear up for the next race :).


It was such a fun family weekend and my bad race time doesn’t take away from that at all! The course was so pretty and the hot air balloons were so cool!


My next race was the Richmond Marathon in Nov, but I am thinking about adding one more 1/2 in there. Possibly the Freedom 1/2 in West Virginia, or if I can find a 1/2 while we are in FL for vacation in Oct then maybe that. I kinda want one more chance to gauge where I am at before my full :). ( a little redemption too).

Just one more cool picture…


Have you ever had a race flop :)? we all have them

Anyone else have trouble reigning it in at the start of a race?


  1. says

    Congrats to your girls on their 5k! Thanks goodness the rain cooled it down a bit – it was definitely very hot at the end of last week and over the weekend.
    I’m sorry your race didn’t go as you’d hoped! I think humidity is one of the biggest factors (at least for me) during summertime running – less than diet or hydration, muscle soreness, general tiredness. I bombed a half in June of last year pretty much for the same reason. I went out too fast, and by mile 7 was done. It was a long and painful trip to the finish line.
    Hopefully you’ll get that PR you’ve been working for this fall! Brush off the bad race and move on 🙂

  2. Jen says

    I REALLY wanted ok weather for their 5k more than for my half :). They are younger and the heat is harder for them and it was their first adult race. Needless to say I was super happy that the rain cooled it down a little and it wasn’t too bad.
    Thanks :)…It never helps to dwell on a bad race. I chose rather to see it as a stepping stone to a better race later on! You do sometimes finish them though and wonder how in the world that happened!

  3. says

    You know I’ve been there – and just recently too – so I completely feel your pain and understand your need for redemption!! At least you had a blast with your girls and they did GREAT in the 5K. That is ver, very cool.
    All you can do (like you said) is learn from your mistakes (or just blame the weather, because really? 100% humidity is insane) and move on. I’m positive you will do infinitely better next time!

    • Jen says

      Thanks Allie :)! Most of the time I just think oh well, it’s just a race and it was such a great weekend…other times I can’t believe I just ran 15 minutes slower than my PR when I feel like I am in better shape than when I PR’d. It really makes me want to have a great Richmond race and possibly another half!

  4. says

    Thanks Laura :)…definitely onward and upward. My 13.1 mile split was faster today in the middle of my 20 mile run than it was Sat :). Ummmmm…….I am not positive yet. 3:25 for sure but 3:20 is in the back of my mind as a remote possibility. I HAVE to figure out something for fueling though. Today I did my 20 miler on 1/2 a GU (I tried a new kind and nope) and a chew…I broughht a pack just in case but I only ate 1 of them. I used candy for my first marathon and while I have been trying to stay away from doing that…I might just go back to it.

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