The race weekend didn’t really feel like a race weekend with all of the fun festivities the few days before. I got up around 6am for the usual bagel, nuun, bathroom, get dressed race routine. Amanda drove me, Robin, and Jess to the race so we didn’t have to take the shuttle. We left at 7am to make sure we had plenty of time to park. And we did, it took all of 15-20 minutes. We stayed warm in the car (temps in the 40s I think) and then went to a nearby hotel/mall/casino for “real” bathrooms. My stomach was not having any part of this race. We waited till about 8:15 to head to the start and all went our separate ways-except for me and Jess. We had a plan to start together-if one felt better than the other, it was okay to go ahead.
The race was somewhat small and there were no real corrals. Just pacers. We lined up around the 2 hour mark.
The two miles were pretty crowded and I quickly wished we would’ve started further up-we spent that time passing people. There was a hill around mile 2, and I knew then and there that my asthma was going to be a problem. The beginning miles of the course took us through downtown-lots of cheering and pretty scenery.
Around mile three, we ran into Tish from Runners World. Really cool to just chat it up during the race-she was amazed we could take pictures and run (yes, the life of a blogger).
I think I lost Jess around mile 5. I just couldn’t hold on during the hills. And there were a lot of them. The course was gorgeous-but I felt like I was trying so hard that I couldn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t get out of my own head.
The course ran through two beautiful neighborhoods with rolling hills and crappy streets (apparently streets up north don’t stay evenly paved because of the climate). I actually had to walk part of the steep hill into the first neighborhood. I hate that. I so wanted to be able to run the entire thing. I only walked a second or two, and I wasn’t the only one. But mentally, it sucked. The odd thing is, my ankle wasn’t really hurting. It was more my lungs and feeling tired.
I knew after driving the course that the only “bad” hill left was around mile 10. I did my best to focus on my music, the scenes and the downhills. One of my favorite parts of the course was running through Moravian College. It was gorgeous! I love old cities-and Bethlehem has tons of old, historic looking homes and buildings.
The last hill at 10 sucked too. A few more seconds of walking. When I stopped, I literally thought to myself, Matt Long wouldn’t walk. I told myself “I will” run this thing. And I did. It sounds cheesy, but it worked.
We ran part of the finish with Bart on Friday so I knew we were close when I saw the steel stacks. Except I looked at my watch and we still had 2 miles left. It was almost a trick-we looped around the finish area for another mile.
Either I caught Scott or he caught me (from #runchat) and we both said the same thing: I am ready to be done. This was one of the first races that I literally had nothing left to pick it up at the finish (Scott said the same thing) and everything felt like slow motion.
Right after I finished I ran into my Fitfluential friends. Some fabulous PR’s and some race placings! Everyone seemed to have had a great race. We snapped a few post race pictures and grabbed the great post race food (clif bars, bananas, bagels, mini pretzels, gatorade, waters).
I was talking to Harold and Amanda, and for some reason, I just lost it. I know I should be proud of my race. I ran a sub 2-it was what I said I would’ve been happy to do. But I couldn’t/can’t help but think of what I would be doing if I hadn’t sprained my ankle. I hate starting over. Just a few months ago, this race wouldn’t have sucked mentally (or physically) for me. I know I will get past it. I know many reading this may think I sound ridiculous, but this is how I felt/feel. Amanda and Harold both made me feel better, and I know I have nowhere to go but up!
Back to the actual recap: We waited on a few others and headed back to the car where it was warm! By the time we got back to the hotel, I had just enough time to shower, pack and grab lunch before the shuttle came to take me to the airport.
A pleasant surprise at the airport? One final conversation and pic with Shalane! She was on my flight home.
- course (may be hilly and hard, but gorgeous!)
- running with the editors
- post race
- running with friends
- course support-both volunteers and spectators
Not so Much:
- if I had to be picky, the crowded start
The shirt is actually pretty good. The only downside is that I don’t think they said the shirts were going to be women’s cut shirts. Seeing as I am “blessed,” I usually need to order up. Somehow, someway this thing still fits. It’s a little short but I think it will be fine.
The Bling is awesome. The medal is actually a bottle opener. The lanyard is velcro’d together so that you can take the bottle opener part off. It’s also a nice lanyard-not a cheap ribbon. When I first saw the medal on twitter, I wasn’t sure if I would like it. But once I saw the steel stacks in person, it all made sense. The back even has the finish line arch on it. Lots of little detail.
I LOVED this race and everything about the weekend. I typically don’t like to repeat states and races, but this is one I would do again in a heart beat. If I were to do it over again, I would stay at the hotel right at the start/finish line. I would also come in a day or two earlier (or stay later)-and I would fly into Philly and drive. That way I could stop at Hershey and have a day to see the other things around Bethlehem. Apparently, Bethlehem is bigger than I thought-Peeps, Crayola, and Yuengling are all near by. An Amish country trip would’ve been cool too. And somehow, we managed to miss the Moravian Book store. If you want a challenge next year-do the hat trick (the 5K, 10K, and half marathon). If you want a great trip for running with seminars and lots of famous runners around you-do this race. I definitely recommend this race for those looking to race the states too.