Date of the Race: October 18th, 2015 at 7:30 am
Weather: 39° light wind, partly cloudy.
Price: $75, Registered in June.
Shirt: Dark navy blue, tech long sleeve.
Goodies: 2 tickets to Hershey Park on the Dark, a coupon for $2 off a child’s admission or $8 adult admission for up to 8 tickets, drawstring Hershey Half Marathon bag, 13.1 car magnet, a small Twizzlers candy, a small bag of Brookside chocolate covered blueberries and a couple other coupons I don’t remember.
Overall Course- Hilly, but fun.
Bathrooms- There was plenty of bathrooms, inside the stadium and portable toilets. Both had long lines before the start, but that’s expected, and bathrooms along with aid stations.
Yess!! I have now completed a Half Marathon! After the entire summer and part of the spring of training, we completed the Hershey Half Marathon yesterday. I had an amazing experience, and although my knees hurt right now, I can’t wait to do another half marathon!
Saturday- Packet pick up
We picked up or race packets early Saturday morning, we wanted to have the opportunity to check out the expo and then go to Hershey Park. Packet pick up was easy, grabbed our envelopes, our goodies bag, and our shirt. I am always worried to end up with a fluorescent color shirt, or a color I won’t like, but I was happy this was a dark navy blue color. I will for sure be wearing this shirt! #braggingrights
Day of the Race- before the race
We had run through the schedule several times, and we were to leave at 5:30 am. Woke up at 5:15, rolled out of bed, got dressed and kissed my son, who had by now jumped in my bed. I told him I was leaving for the race, but I was almost sure he didn’t hear me. My sister got up and wished me luck.
We went to Dunkin Donuts for our normal pre-run breakfast. I was getting more nervous, excited and was tired from being up at 5:30 am, and the smell of the cream cheese made nauseous.
We arrived at Hershey Park at 5:55 am. There were a lot of other runners arriving at this time, and the parking lot was CRAZY with people driving all over the place. There was no Hershey security directing traffic, so everybody took more than a few liberties on driving like a maniac in the parking lot. I’m surprised there wasn’t an accident in the parking lot! People were speeding and driving all over the place.
I sat on the car making my playlist, and slowly eating my bagel, knowing that if I didn’t eat it, I would be hungry and would do poorly on the race. I finished my coffee and started to put on the last of my running layers, and trying to decide on what sweater/ jacket to wear. I chose my New Balance quilted pink jacket.
I know we were on the car for a while, but it seems that the 45 minutes flew by. At 6:50 we started to walk towards the stadium to use the bathroom, and start warming up. At around 7:10, Roger said that he forgot his iPod on the car, so we used this as our running warm up. We took the last “before race” pictures behind the colorful sunrise. Then went and lined up on the side of the stadium. We were there for the opening remarks, the national anthem, which we couldn’t hear. Lillian, the Hershey Half Marathon Miracle Child called the start of the race, and we slowly walked to the Start, and started running at the RFID readers.
There were no pacers, and no other organization as for the goal pace. So, I had to pass a lot of runners who were going slower than I wanted to be. The first 1-3 miles were familiar, as they were the same as the route for the Hershey 10K. There were some hills, but awesome energy all through the course. I skipped the first water stop, I wasn’t feeling thirsty or hot, so used that to keep moving. I saw a man with an amputated leg, who was running with a running prosthetic, what an inspiration!
I stayed at my comfortable pace, knowing I was up for 13.1 miles. I read a lot of different articles on what to do for the first half marathon. And most said “Stick to your training and your pace”. To keep my breathing in check, I was singing for most of the run. I picked songs that have motivated me at some point of my life, and some with great energy. Mile 1 went by fast, faster than at any other race I’ve done this year.
After mile 2, the race went into the Hershey Park; where there was a live band playing The Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 miles). What a perfect selection! And the band was amazing! I ran close to the band and shouted a hurried “Thank you!” and got a high five from a member of the band. I ran in by the Founders way, ran by the Chevrolet Music Box Theatre (The Pioneer Frontier area), by Skyrush, trough (The Hallow area), trough the Boardwalk, out to Midway America and out of the park. Slowed down for some water before exiting the park. Running through Hershey Park is always my favorite part, and it went by very quickly.
I think by this point the course had me at about mile 4. Shortly after running out the park, I saw a man holding a Mexican Flag, and I was not thinking so only gave him a thumbs up and kept running.
Mile 4 took the race behind Zoo America, I saw an animal, couldn’t tell you what it was, looking at us. The race went along the stream that goes by the zoo and the park, behind the Hershey Chocolate silos and under a train bridge, tunnel. As I was getting close to this, two trains were going across in opposite directions, it was super cool!
Mile 4.5-6 were the longest of the entire race. Although I wasn’t feeling tired, out of breath or unmotivated, I kept thinking mile 5 was the longest yet. I had no desire to stop, but my head was feeling the cold and the 5 miles I had just done.
When I did the 10K back in April, I kept having super crazy thoughts, like “Why am I doing this? Should I get a tattoo? Why is this person taking a ton of selfies?” at the Hershey Half none of those were there. I only kept thinking to keep going, to finish this; that this was like a long run, but with a marked route, a cheering and supportive crowd, and water stops. I just wanted to keep running and to finish the race.
Around mile 5.5 there was another water stop, this time I slowed down and walked in to the water station and grabbed water and a cup of Gatorade. I sipped both slowly and took off running again.
For as long as mile 4-6 were, Mile 6-8 felt almost nonexistent in the run. I crossed Chocolate Avenue and saw the relays switching. Saw the finishers walking around with their medals. I didn’t see what the medal was, only that they had one.
Ran up the hill towards Milton Hershey School, and thanked Roger inside my head for all the hill training we did during the summer. The hills felt almost like nothing!
This has not happened to me at any other race, but it has happened at Zumba and Yoga… I ran into several fart clouds. I know farting is a natural body function, but still caught me off guard. I wonder if I can get #fartclouds to be a new hash tag.
At around mile 7, I saw the man with the Mexican flag again and this time I shouted a very loud “Viva Mexico!” at him. He yelled something back, but I didn’t hear what he said.
Mile 7.5-10 went through Milton Hershey School. At mile 8 there was a DJ playing loud music, I shouted a muffled thank you in his direction. I also took a moment to post a “5 Miles to go” pic on Instagram, it made me feel better.
Another recommendation I saw about doing the first half marathon was to high five as many people as possible, so I took full advantage of this at Milton Hershey school and high fived a ton of kids who were out cheering on the runners. Slowed down for another water stop and saw a long line at the Portable toilets at the aid station.
We turned around by an entrance and I saw Roger, who was about 2 miles behind me. Gave him a quick high 5 and kept running.
As we were exciting Milton Hershey, there was a high school marching band playing music. I couldn’t name the song, but went and shouted thank you to the people standing by the running line and gave high fives to them. Also shortly after, there was a group of school cheerleaders, high fived as many of them as I could and said thank you.
I know I just said that mile 7.5-9 felt super short, but my mind is completely blocking mile 10-11.5. I know I stopped and walked a few steps after mile 11, and again a half mile later, but it went by fast. But I remember thinking at the mile 10 marker, “only a 5K to go”.
I saw the Hershey Chocolate Silos and knew my son and my sister would be at mile 12. So kept moving, kept my pace. In Front of the factory I saw the man with the Mexican flag again, yelled thank you and “Viva Mexico!” At him again. Also took a picture of him!
The last hill was a big hill, but we had already done so many hills, and I knew that this one was coming up I ran half way up, slowed down and walked a few steps, then started running again because I knew my son was just around the corner. This was the chocolate aid/fueling station. I don’t really like chocolate, but grabbed three small chocolate minis. I saw my son and my sister and ran over and gave him a big hug and kiss and told him thank you for coming to see me! And gave him the chocolate I had just taken from the volunteers. I became overly emotional at this point, I was so happy to see him there! I was so happy to think I was almost done, and what an accomplishment I will have... I started to choke up with some tears, but told myself to calm down and keep going, didn’t have time for a full out crying scene at mile 12, and to save it for the finish. I controlled myself and kept moving.
At this point it was just about 12 miles. I knew I was almost there and had but a mile to go. My hip was starting to hurt, and my shins were a little tight, but I knew I could rest in 1 mile. Besides, seeing my son re-energized me.
At 12.10 I saw what was the beginning of the “Miracle Mile” and a couple more hills. The last hill, right behind Chocolate World was my defeater. I was tired, and was starting to feel hungry, so stopped for my longest walking break, about .07 of a mile. I started running again and we went into the Hershey Park lot, and into the Trolley lane. I looked around to the people who were cheering on all the runners, and saw some of the finishers with their medals and foil blankets. I could see the stadium and a lot of the people were shouting “you are almost there, keep going”. I still had energy and started to speed up towards the finish. I am not clear now on what the dialogue in my head was, but I vaguely remember thinking “I’m done, I’m done, I’m done!”. I started sprinting as soon as I entered the Hershey Stadium. Again, when I did the 10K at the finish line, I was just glad to be done. But at the Hershey Half, I was full of energy, sprinting at the end as fast as I could. I crossed the finish line and the clock said something line 2.09. 33. I collected my medal from an adorable little girl and kept walking towards the end, got a bottle of water, my recovery bag and my foil blanket. I walked around some, and as the full effect of what I had just accomplished hit me. I started quietly crying! Not sobbing or screaming, just had lots of tears coming.
I went to the finish line to wait for Roger and get a picture of him at the finish line, but my phone turned off because of low battery. He crossed the finish line around 2.33. I congratulated him and walked with him to get his medal, recovery pack and water.
We lined up to get a picture with the Hershey Half Marathon backdrop. And heard the announcements for the winners. The first place overall runner came in at 1.13 and the first place female was 1.18.
We were cold and hungry, so we headed to the car and went to meet my family at Crackle Barrel in Lancaster.
The race was amazing! The crows were very supportive, as were the people in town cheering everybody. My memory could be wrong, as I was mostly focused on the running, but I remember seeing people along the route 80% of the time. The bands, the DJ and the cheer squad were an extra layer of awesome. I loved my shirt and my medal, and will likely be wearing my shirt again! And will for sure be back for another Hershey Half Marathon.
Some of my favorite signs
“Don’t trust a fart after mile 10”
“Smile if you peed a little bit”
“Hurry up so we can start drinking”
“Si se Puede” (made by my sister!)
“Smile if you are not wearing underwear”
“You are only half crazy”
“Worst parade ever”
“There is food at the end”
“You think you are tired? My arms are killing me from holding this sign”
And my son’s sign that said “Go mommy and Roger”
Some songs from my playlist
Back in Black –ACDC
Delirando- La Ley
Jefe de Jefes- Tigres del Norte
Sin Tantita Pena- Alejandro Fernandez
El Amor El Amor- zumba
Contracorriente- Enrique Bunbury
Dejenme Si Estoy Llorando- El Gran Silencio
Boulevard of the Broken Dreams – Green Day
Aqui- La Ley
La Colegiala – Calo
Indian Sunshine- Zumba
De mis Pasos- Julienta Venegas
Fighter – Christina Aguilera
The Best is Yet to Come- Michael Buble
Mal Amor- Margarita Rosa De Francisco
Crazy thoughts- very few
Mile 3, only this for 10 more miles.
God! Will mile 5 ever end
Don’t stop running!
Yay! My son is here!
Sprint, sprint! Almost done!!