Almost a month ago, Husband and I traveled a couple hours north to the Flannery's Pub Run in Pennsylvania. This is a tiny race in a quiet PA town, and we chose to come here because I was looking for a spring half marathon that was on a Saturday (we don't race on Sundays) and wouldn't have too high of an entry fee. We also didn't want to travel more than 90 minutes from home. The Flannery Run fit all these requirements.
The race was small- about 200 people. This made parking and morning packet pickup a breeze. We parked in a school parking lot and got our packets, which included a nice fitted tech shirt, chip timer, Brooks stickers and beer cozies, and a bunch of ads. The race was a point-to-point, so we loaded into a school bus to drive us to the start line. The start line was at another school, so it was nice to wait inside and use their bathrooms. The race started on time and we were off and running through the beautiful country PA scenery.
I had no expectations for how I would run this race. I had been (and still am!) trying to get rid of a couple injuries, namely my right glute and left shin. They're related; I get it. I've been going to PT and had been resting for a couple weeks leading up to this race. I had no idea if I would be able to run the whole thing, or have my shin act up, take walk breaks, or anything in between. My best case scenario was to keep a moderate pace (8:45 - 9:00) and then re-evaluate for the last few miles to see if I could go faster. The American Odyssey Relay was just a week after this half, and I was worried about messing up my ability to run.
The course was hilly. Like, decently hilly. There were a couple massive climbs (miles 8 and 10 stick out in my mind as being pretty rough!) that really slowed my pace down, but the scenery was so enjoyable I really didn't mind. Also, the entire route was on closed roads! I guess since the town is so small they were able to do that.
I was delighted to not have any shin or glute issues, and at the halfway point I decided it would be okay to push myself a little more. I had just started getting into a comfortable 8:15ish pace when the massive mile 8 hill hit, so my splits don't show that I went much faster in the second half but I swear I did! I was so relieved to be able to run the pace I wanted to without having a nagging shin splint or tension in my right leg. You can see the last mile I was really able to go, and it wasn't even downhill.
There were eight water stations, each manned by energetic high schoolers. Some had cheerleaders, or a band, or cowbells, etc. Only a couple stations had gatorade, and none had any food or gel (fine for me, since I carry Gu). The town seemed generally really supportive of the whole thing, with people cheering from their lawns and holding signs. For a 200 person event, I was pretty impressed!
Because the race was so small, I wondered if I would place in my age group. My time was 1:52, nothing to be impressed with, but it seemed like most of the runners were older than me. We waited around for what seemed like forever, and were surprised to hear not only my name for 2nd in my age group, but Beau placed 3rd in his! He came in just a couple minutes after me and had a great experience in his first half marathon. How many people get a medal and a trophy after their first half??
Afterwards, we had a delightful lunch at Pure & Simple Cafe in Greencastle, PA. There were two wraps I was interested in, and they were so kind to oblige when I asked if I could make a custom order to combine the two. Avocado AND feta AND hummus on the same wrap? Heaven.
It was a great day and I'm so glad Beau had such a good experience at his first 13.1!