August 6, 2013

Training Tuesday! Race Recap: Triple Threat Half Marathon

What better way to celebrate the half-way point of marathon training than by running 13.1 miles??  Saturday morning I completed my sixth half marathon, The Triple Threat Half in Cape Ann, Massachusetts!
 This race fit in perfectly with my marathon training AND gave me a great excuse for a vacation in Boston, MA to visit both my awesome cousin and my awesome marathon runner friend, Michelle.  Michelle was actually one of the people who first inspired me to start running and racing!  The last time I visited her, in 2010, I was working through the Couch to 5K training program--hard to believe we are now running half-marathons together!
I was so. pumped. about the course for this race.  I have always wanted to run a race near the ocean, but of course those are hard to come by in the midwest!  Even though the half didn't start until 10:15am (!!), we still had to get up bright and early to drive from Boston to the beautiful town of Rockport, Massachusetts in time for packet pickup.  Don't worry, there was a car nap and some reading time involved post pickup!  
The weather was so perfect at the start of the race--cool and cloudy, which was more than I could have hoped for for a mid-morning race!  This course was hands down the most beautiful I've ever raced on.  There were times I'd look to the left or right and just not be able to believe what I was seeing!  We ran by the most beautiful New England homes, big trees, wildflowers, and of course the gorgeous ocean complete with rocky cliffs, tiny islands, and lighthouses.  Yes, lighthouses.  I was constantly wishing I'd stuck my phone in my SPI belt to take some pictures!

Although it was the most beautiful course I've raced on, it was probably also the toughest!  Let's check out that elevation profile again:
Check out that climb to the finish!!
Ouch.  I've said before, being a Chicago runner, I don't really even know what hills are...or at least I didn't until Saturday!  We took it easy at this race, having planned on doing that going in.  We definitely walked up most of the hills, but there were one or two that were so steep that even walking was tough!  I swear they got bigger and steeper as the race went on...or maybe that's just the miles-induced delusion...

Michelle was having a tough running day, so we walked together a lot in the last couple miles.  Not every race is about a PR; some are just about finishing and sticking with your friend that you know would stick with you if you were struggling!  By the end, the sun had come out in full force making it extra tough--thank goodness for sea breezes and beautiful views!
I may be smiling, but I'm really thinking, "You mean I have to run DOUBLE this distance soon??"
Michelle and I managed to pull it together for the last .1 miles, and we crossed the finish line holding hands and smiling.  Our Team Sparkle skirts were a big hit--we got tons of compliments on the during the whole race!  And I was happy to report it was not uncomfortable in the least--it didn't slide around one bit!  My only complaint is that it blew between my legs a little bit which was slightly annoying, but no big deal!
Overall, this was a wonderful race--it was the smallest half I've ever done, but well-organized, great volunteers, and good swag!  There were even free samples of Yasso Greek Frozen Yogurt bars, which were probably one of the best post-race snacks EVER.  Perfection.
Michelle and I promptly collapsed in the grass after running, but we eventually dragged ourselves to the car in search of food.  During the race we passed a little restaurant called Olivia's--my sweet niece's name!  I knew we had to find it again for lunch.  YUM!  By the time we were done running, it was almost 1pm, so late to be finishing a half!  I was starving!
After a quick nap, we pulled it together enough to go out to a yummy dinner of ((veggie)) burgers, fries, and good beer, all enjoyed beside a beautiful harbor of sailboats.  God I love New England!

Besides the wonderful company and million dollar views, one of the best parts about this race was how GOOD my legs felt after!  Maybe it's the higher mileage weeks I've been putting in, but I definitely felt the best I have after a half--no sore hips, no tight IT bands.  The arch of my left foot was bothering me for the second half of the race--seems like I have a little Plantar Faciitis happening :-/ ...hopefully I can work that out with a golf ball in the next few weeks before it gets worse!  Anyways, great race, great vacation!
What is the toughest race course you've ever run?

What is the most beautiful race course you've ever run?


  1. That watermelon beer is surprisingly good, isn't it? Great job on the tough course. My toughest race ever was a 15k that had the craziest hills I've ever seen. At one point I swear I couldn't see the top of the hill. It the only time I thought about quitting a race....never doing that one again!


  2. That course elevation is no joke! It sure looks like a beautiful race and a great place for a vacation.

    One of the toughest and most beautiful races I've run is a little half marathon in Green Lake, WI. It is super hilly (mile 5-6 is alll steep uphill) but it winds around a scenic lake and through historic countryside. Worth the hills!

  3. Congratulations. I ran the race as well and noticed your matching skirts along with the hot pink K tape. Awesome job.

  4. Love running by the ocean. THe last half I was in - also by the ocean - had the Yasso Greek yogurt bars and it was fantastic! The most beautiful race course - I have really run on a lot of beautiful courses. Garden of the Gods was fantastic. All my ocean races have been. The races I do on Lake Champlain are excellent. I often choose races for that very quality. THe toughest race course was up a mountain to a ski area.


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