Wow I am really bad at blogging. So this is my feeble attempt to summarize the final races of 2011. I’ll have to post another one about Disney, which should be sometime before April :)
My 2011 race calendar all led up to one goal, the Disney World Half Marathon in January of 2012.
In keeping up with my Disney Half Marathon training, I had 2 races at the end of 2011. The Run Through the Grapevine 8K in Mount Airy MD in November and the Hot Chocolate 15k at the National Harbor in December. I was really excited about both of them when I signed up, but they actually turned out to be horrible races for different reasons.
Run Through the Grapevine 8k-November 6
My Facebook post said it all “Running through grapevines sounds good in theory. But when it is all uphill, on uneven grass and dead vines are hitting you in the face, not so much.”
We signed up for this race thinking that it was going to be similar to the trail run that we do in August. So when the website said it was an extremely difficult course, we didn’t think anything of it. After the Deadman’s Hill at the River Valley 10k, nothing could be worse. We were wrong. While the course was beautiful and the race was organized, this was the most challenging course I have ever run. It seemed like the entire run was all uphill. When we were running through the grapevines, they were all dead and therefore hitting you in the face. If you ran in the middle of the grapevine, it was uneven and dangerous. Needless to say, I was just happy to finish it.
We were in the hills of MD and to prove it, deer chasing each other literally ran across the path 15 feet in front of me. The views were amazing and I know this because I was able to see them during my many breaks along the course. I’m glad I ran this race because I have heard about it for awhile. I did feel bad because I got my sister to sign up for the race, along with Jennifer, who convinced her friend Amy to sign up. Amy actually ended up winning her age group, so that was cool. And we all got wine glasses at the end. While it wasn’t a medal, it was a nice finisher’s gift. My guilt only lasted a few weeks until the beginning of December when we ran the Hot Chocolate 15k that Kelly made me sign up for…
Hot Chocolate 15k-December 3rd
This race was the perfect time and distance for my training schedule. And it had hot chocolate and chocolate fondue at the end. It was the perfect combination! Except it was horribly disorganized and had a dangerous course.
We started seeing the signs a few weeks before the race. The website announced that you had to carpool to the National Harbor or else you had to park in Virginia. That led to questions regarding how large the race was. The Cherry Blossom 10 miler maxed out at 10,000 runners, so we had assumed it was probably the same. The National Harbor only has 5,000 parking spaces, so it couldn’t be much more. WRONG! The race organizers announced a few days before that it was 22,000 runners! Immediately people began posting on their wall asking for refunds because they knew the traffic was going to be horrendous. Long story short, the race was delayed over an hour due to the parking lot that was the Wilson Bridge, they forced people to run along roads that weren’t closed and then funneled 22,000 runners along a 6 foot wide path along the water. Luckily, we came in from the MD side, so parking wasn’t as bad as the VA side. The course was boring and they had the finisher’s line at the top of a hill. It just sucked.
BUT, the chocolate afterwards was good. Ghirardelli was the sponsor and you could tell they’ve done this before. There was no wait for the fondue or the hot chocolate and it was delicious. I actually had my best pace during this race, but I question the validity of the course. So I can’t really trust it.
Overall, I had a great time running in 2011. I found out after Christmas that I got into the NYC Half again. Kelly got in too, so it should be a good time. I have to continue running for my SIL’s wedding in June, so I’m keeping my eye out for other races to add to the calendar.