I know… I know, I’ve been MIA from posting and this race was back in May, but I feel like it’s taken me a while to mentally be ready to write about it or write n general. So here you go, a fun post about running the Mystic Half Marathon 2016, Mystic CT.
So many factors some into play when prepping for and running a half marathon… location, accessibility, the course, the expo, and the bling.
LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION
All I can say is that we were spoiled for this race, Megan has family just minutes from the start/finish… meaning amazing accommodations and no crazy early morning walk up call. Beds, showers, food, transportation to and from the race- Can’t beat that! Like really truly, if you have ever run a race then had to travel several hours to get home much less to get cleaned up and eat, you know what a little luxury this is and should not be taken for granted.
It also means there are familiar things- like the dog to play with, the foods you like, the space you need to roll out, and so on. Traveling for races is fun and a great way to see new cities, but lets be honest- hotel beds a tough and space is limited. Words of advice- make the most of your connections. An additional plus is having people there to cheer for you!
The experience always starts with the race expo- a day or so before the race when you (and all your closest new running friends) have to pick up your number and race shirt as well as any additional stuffage you want to buy. Usually you can learn more about the race course and the sponsors at the expo too. I find that the organization and structure of the expo can be a decent indicator of the organization of the race.
One of the worst things is if the expo is stressful and confusing. It kinda sets the tone for race weekend and can throw you off our game.
The Mystic Expo was small and held where the race would be starting- Old Mystic Village. I’m not gonna lie, it was a little confusing to find the packet pickup and it was split up over 2 locations- number pickup in location A and shirt pickup in location B. Once you knew what signage you were looking for it was easier and I get it, they want you to walk through the village and shop while getting race ready. Overall, it was smooth. There were plenty of volunteers and the lines moved very quickly!
I also finally found a solid black tech-half zip jacket! I’ve been looking for one at race expos for a while now and have been disappointed, so I was head over heals to find one ay Mystic- plus it’s so unique it’s fun to wear!
I’d run a portion of the race course on pervious visits to Mystic while training for various other races, so I knew it was lovely. Races with scenery to look at go by so much better and distract me from the miles. We started at Old Mystic Village and ran around the water by “downtown” before getting into some residential areas and a protected nature reserve. I mentioned only running half the course… yup that’s right, the flat half! So I had convinced myself that the race would be mostly flat. Yeah I was so wrong and my body beat me up for that! (Note to self… and readers… check the elevation charts)
Something that was hard for me was that this was a 10K and Half Marathon… running along the same route until the 10K-ers split off to finish and the Half-ers continue up a HUGE endless hill to complete the back end of the course. Can we say brutal… in so many ways! A 10K is nothing to sneeze at the I’m proud of all those runners, but the energy that they were about to finish threw me off my game… I was not about to finish. Then of course there was the face that the course got hilly and the road we were on got less maintained. I had to walk. I know that’s ok to do and better that then hurt myself… but I underestimated the course… the hills. (Disclaimer- not as bad a Central Park Harlem Hills or Inwood Hills Park… I just wasn’t ready for it)
BUT, did I mention the view!?!?! (photos from pervious training runs in Mystic, CT.)
There was also amazing community support out for this race. Families and groups were out all over to cheer us on and pass out water. The support is great and keeps me going, so long as it doesn’t get in the way.
THE FINISH and THE BLING
Possibly the most important part of any race, LOL!
I don’t really remember much of the second half of the course. I was just so focussed on breathing and putting one foot in front of the other that I wasn’t looking at much and I wasn’t thinking of much. There was “one last hill” and I had to chant that up the whole thing. Another runner caught up with me to share words of encouragement and then promptly passed me! But I remember coming up on the finish line. You could hear it before you saw it- surprising you as you came around the final turn, back by Old Mystic Village.
The sidelines were packed! Announcers, music, spectators, and other runners make any finish line feel like the best thing and even though you know your are not the only one finishing, for a second you know all that cheering is just for you.
Top off being done with hills and over the finish line with the MEDAL! — A beautiful nautical themed piece that will not only be a great addition to my collection, but a always a reminder of this beautiful race. — And of course finish line photos before teetering to the post race food and festivities. This race, again, had some great stuff including ICE CREAM!
Look out for more race reviews and training posts. The new York City marathon is creeping up on me and summer training is kicking my butt. I’ve started taking more classes and I’m excited to share that with you all… plus beach vacay is coming up!!!
Thanks for stopping by!