Half Marathon #10: Mad Marathon Half

Disclaimer:  I received free entry to the Mad Marathon Half as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

This past weekend I headed north to Waitsfield, VT to run the Mad Marathon Half and state number 4 in pursuit of my 50 States 50 Half’s goal. This run is dubbed the “Worlds Most Beautiful Marathon” due to all of the sights and sounds along the course. And it did not disappoint.

The race was held in the Mad River Valley in Waitsfield, VT. Because the town was so small I had to do my research on this. The population of Waitsfield is 1,719. Just for context the last race I ran in Philly (Broad Street Run) had 40,000 runners. So needless to say I knew this race would be small. When I got to the bib pick up I believe the person told me there were 700 runners registered. That may have been cutting it short a bit, but yes it was indeed small.

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Half Marathon #9: 2017 Love Run Half

This year was my 2nd Love Run Half Marathon. As an ambassador for them I am always excited to run this race, as it is the one race that truly kicks off running season in Philadelphia. The city has their major races, and with Love Run only being 4 years old, it has skyrocketed to one of the best races Philly has to offer.

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Half Marathon #7: Runner’s World Half Marathon

Disclaimer:  I received free entry to the Runner’s World Half and Festival grand slam of races as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

The half marathon was the fourth and final race of the Runners World Half and Festival weekend. Since I had run the grand slam of races (all four runs) I had my bib from running the the races prior to this (all races used the same bib). So there was no need for me to pick up a bib for the half marathon.

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Half Marathon #5: The Philly Love Run

The 2016 Love Run Half Marathon has come and gone, and what an exciting blur it was! If you’re not familiar with the Love Run (and at this point I have to imagine you are) it is the premier spring Half Marathon for Philadelphia. And premier is the perfect way to describe this race.

The race is organized by CGI Racing who also runs the United Half Marathon at Rutgers University and New Jersey State Triathlon. CGI knows what they are doing when it comes to organizing a race. With 10,000 runners (yes they get into the 5 digit number for this race) logistics can get messy. However the Love Run couldn’t have been run any smoother.

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Half Marathon #4: 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Half Marathon

Half Marathon #4 in the books!

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This past weekend was the 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Half Marathon. If I had to put a title on this half marathon it would be called Hills, Heat and Hell. That’s exactly what this half marathon was. It was full of hills, 75 degrees around the 7:30 AM start time and pure hell. However still tons of fun! The race was at Pennypack Park in the Northeast section of Philadelphia. I had never run in this park before so I was interested to see how it went. And foolishly I didn’t read the course description until after I signed up.

From the website regarding the course:

The course utilizes the paved bike path along Pennypack Creek. No traffic at all. You get to run miles and miles within the city limits of Philadelphia without seeing a house or a car at all. The midsection of the course features a bunch of short but steep rolling hills along with a trail section (Mount cuckoo). Some have referred to our course as an Achterbahn (“rollercoaster”). It’s certainly not an easy race, but do-able, a good challenge for the experienced runner.  
Is this a Boston Qualifier? Hell no!!!!! !!!This is a summer race, there is a good chance that high temps will make this harder than you anticipate!!! I recommend running the marathon only if you are an experienced runner, who can handle all kinds of  adversity. You have been warned :-). No whining on race day.

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Running: Just as Much Mental as it is Physical

Today I was having a conversation with my girlfriend about her wanting to run. She has run many times before. As she puts it she likes to do 5K’s and that is all. It’s not a major part of her life like it is mine, but she does it. She was saying how she wants to run a 5K in April (about 2 months from now) so she should start running now.

The convo reminded me of when I was training for my first 5K. I remembered how nervous I was and how I was afraid of the distance. Fast forward a year and a half later and I laugh at that thought. I feel confident that if someone forced me to run a 5K after waking me up in the middle of the night I would have no problem with it.

What this convo made me feel the most was how much of your mental state plays a factor in running. Sure I have changed physically since I have first started running, but it hasn’t been a crazy transformation like the ones you see in one of those before and after photo’s. So for me I don’t think it is easier now to run a 5K because of my physical shape. I have never really been out of shape. Sure I could easily afford to lose weight, but at the same time for most my life I keep myself physically active. Whether it is backyard sports or casually going to the gym even when I first started running I could at least be considered “active” (whatever that may mean).

So if the physical part hasn’t been a major change, something must be causing that mindset. And it is clear it is the mental aspect. Like I said, when I first trained for a 5K I was nervous about it. Nervous I wouldn’t be able to finish or it would be too tough on me. Fast forward a year and a half and I have completed 3 Half Marathons, a triathlon, spartan race, duathlon, 15K, 10 mile runs, etc. etc. So by now a 5K just doesn’t present that big of a hurdle to me. I am not saying they are easy, but the way I look at it is different.

That would probably be my biggest advice to someone just starting out in running; don’t let the space between your ears stop you from achieving your goals. I recently wrote about how easy it would be for someone with no experience to train for a 10 mile run in 2 months. Someone wrote me backlash on how I was a fool for suggesting that and how difficult it would be. Sure it will be difficult, but that doesn’t mean impossible. I am living proof. I went from couch to Half Marathon in 2 months myself, and I never let my brain tell me I couldn’t. And in two months I completed my first Half Marathon. Because every day I went out there and just trained as hard as I could.

So for those of you thinking you need to be a specific body type to complete specific running goals, you are mistaken. Sure physicality has something to do with it. But just as important (if not more) you have to believe you can.