A Very Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon

In 2017, Rachel and I started the tradition of a yearly race road trip, which we affectionately titled our “Meatball Road Trip” (thanks to watching Big Brother and one of the house guests referring to everyone as meatballs). Last year’s trip was to Vacation Races Shenandoah Half.

This year we checked a bucket list race off at the Bird-in-Hand Half and added a new meatball, Katie, to the mix!

If you’re a long time reader of ScootaDoot, you might remember when Vic and Kyle ran in 2013 and again in 2014.

Having read Vic’s blog posts, I was expecting it to be hot and humid. That seems to be standard fare for this race.

We visited the expo Friday afternoon and the weather was decent. The weekend is a community event in Bird-in-Hand with a hot air balloon festival, picnic, and the race happening. Friday night there’s a 5k and kids race with the half marathon happening on Saturday morning at 7:30 in the am.

Communication from the race organizers was primarily via witty email. The race does have social media accounts but there’s not much interaction on those.

We got to see a few hot air ballons getting filled as we got our bibs, shirts, and bags with goodies which included whoopie pies, animal crackers, and pretzels.

After dinner at Dienner’s (which you know we had a fun time saying repeatedly) we took a trip to Target (what’s a road trip without forgetting random things) and then headed back to our hotel.

Perusing the weather app the night before we were pleased to see that it it looked like it was going to be cooler and maybe the tiniest bit misty. Like, barely even noticeable.

Therefore we were somewhat surprised when we opened the door of our hotel room on Saturday morning to find a pretty steady stream of rain come down.

No more hot air balloons for us. Whomp whomp.

Why yes, this picture was taken through a plastic bag.

Rachel had a meniscus tear earlier this summer so we knew going into this race that we were going to just have as much fun as possible. Pictures, selfies, mullet crew style – party in the back! With a 4 hour course limit, we knew that we’d be able to finish within the time frame and have fun while doing it so that was our plan from the get-go.

Look, the race even gave us a list of things to look for/take pictures (okay, we added that last part in ourselves).

We were able to find all of these… except the CAMELS. And trust me when I say we were anticipated seeing the camels over all the other things on the list.

The course was absolutely beautiful. Hilly, as we expected, but gorgeous. The water stops were manned by Amish children and they were plentiful. Originally Rachel and I were planning on wearing hydration vests but with the cooler temps we decided to forgo them. It worked out really well.

We decided on 1:1 intervals. At mile 3 this gentleman was out there, in the rain, ringing a cowbell and cheering for us. He saw my BibRave shirt and asked, “Will I be in your review?”

Yeah man, of course you will!

Rachel and I weren’t able to keep up with Katie’s running interval so about halfway into the 3rd mile she went ahead and we continued bopping along, doing our thing.

We passed by crops and gardens and one room schoolhouses and animals.

My favorite part of the course was mile 6, which was an out and back section. We got to see other runners, including lots of friendly faces of Team Shenanigans!

A few of the members had run the 5k the night before and were at an intersection giving out Twizzlers and cookies. Yes please!

Thank you so much, Barb and Meaghan!

Mile 6, we loved ya!

There were some more hills and we continued along, occasionally throwing in some running intervals when we felt like it.

Oh, did you see up there on the list where it says “road apples”? For those not in the know, road apples are piles of horse poop and they’re common in Amish country.

At one point I was chatting with Rachel and very nearly stepped in horse poop. Thankfully she was paying attention where I wasn’t. I ended up doing a quick do-si-do around that!

There was one area where the traffic was particularly hairy and it didn’t seem like the vehicles were slowing down considering there was a race going on. It made us understandably nervous, especially when there were cars on both side of the road.

I know that not all areas can be a closed course but a suggestion is to have a bit more of a police presence to encourage drivers to slow down.

In between miles 9 and 10 we were treated to a scoop of mango Rita’s Water Ice, which was incredible, even on a not hot day. Soon after that we turned off the main road for a little off-roading experience.

We chatted with people along the way, our fellow mullet crew friends. Some were not having as much of a party as we were (hey, we’ve all been there), so we tried to quietly encourage.

In the last mile there was an area which was matted down grass and mud. It was really uncomfortable because you couldn’t firmly plant your feet. If you did, you might get stuck in the mud; it was better to just tread lightly on the grassy area.

It was flat but to be honest, I would take the paved hills over that area any day.

But look! A turkey and chicks!

Finally we saw the large white tent and turned onto the road that we knew would be the final stretch of our journey. And it’s a good thing too.

Our hair. Our faces. We were ready to be done.

The medals are made from re-purposed horseshoes and they are incredible! I remember being in awe of them when Vic and Kyle did the race and I’m extremely glad that I finally got one of my own. I felt like this race was untouchable for me for awhile – one that I wouldn’t/couldn’t do because of my lack of speed, not to mention my lack of hill training. I’m glad that I went outside of my comfort zone and had Rachel by my side to have fun with all the way!

Sadly, even though we finished within the allotted time, the race photographer was not there to catch our spectacular finish. While I most likely wouldn’t have purchased pictures, I still found it to be a bummer. Thankfully Katie was at the finish and she nabbed a few pictures of us!

There was a recovery area and Rachel headed there for a massage while the rest of us went to the tent for the community picnic. The food 100% hit the spot!

At $103 for registration (with fees), this race is definitely more pricey than others I’ve done. The race is very well organized and you get a lot of bang for your buck but the price point it’s worth noting since it’s something I know many take into account when looking at races. Even still, I’m so glad that I’m able to check this one off my bucket list!

Next on tap, the Scooby-Doo virtual race (I’ll be sharing more about that in tomorrow’s post!), which works out really well with my Healthy Kids Running Series starting up this weekend. Hoping that the weather cooperates and we are able to get out there and running with the kids!

Oh, one more thing! We’re having a TRISHMOVES giveaway now through Friday (9/14/18) on Instagram! I got to try these delicious bars at the City Fit Girls retreat and they are really yummy. Plus, I’m always one that likes to support Philly based companies, which TRISHMOVES is! Be sure to swing by and enter yourself (and a friend) to win a box! CLICK HERE to enter.

Fall Racing Time!

Okay, okay, I know it’s not technically fall yet. But for goodness sake, can we let people enjoy their fall race planning (and pumpkin spice lattes) in peace? YES, WE CAN!

I’ve got some great races lined up for the fall… and beyond, because HELLO, planner right here! What’s on the agenda? Right this way!

september

The Bird-in-Hand half marathon is this Saturday! I’ll be driving to Lancaster County, PA with Rachel and Katie for this weekend’s race. I expect hills, heat, and beautiful views to make up for the hills and heat. Oh, and check out these medals!

 

Okay, okay, I’m not actually running in any of the Healthy Kids Running Series races but I AM the coordinator for my town’s location! This is my second season as a coordinator and I’m looking forward to encouraging and inspiring children to get outside and find the joy in running.

Being that these races are on Sunday evenings, I COULD run my own local races on Sunday mornings but after last spring I realized that it was a bit too much to handle for one day. Therefore Sundays from September 16th through October 14th are dedicated to HKRS.

october

Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Reebok Boston 10k for Women as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

That said, if I WERE to run October 8th, I’d really love to run the Reebok Women’s 10k in Boston, MA. Why? Well, because then I’d be able to visit BEC. Also because I love the 10k distance. I haven’t run a women’s race in awhile but I do love the camaraderie and support that happens during these events.

I don’t have Boston Marathon dreams, but this seems like an attainable race! My race bucket list is growing by the day.


Disclaimer: I received free entries to the Scooby Doo Virtual Series 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!

I might not be able to travel to many races this fall but I’m stoked to participate with my best 4-legged friend, Gemma in the first ever Scooby-Doo Virtual Series! Doo Good is the September race while the Scoobtober 5k/10k takes place during October. A portion of registrations go toward supporting the Best Friends Animal Society.

Want to join in the fun? Use code BIBRAVE and save 10% on registration.

Remember up above when I said how much I love the 10k distance? I’m returning to my favorite 10k on October 20th, the Atlantic City Race Series.

This is one that I usually participate in every fall and while I haven’t done a training run in Atlantic City in awhile, I can’t wait to return for this event!

The day after the AC 10k, I’ll be heading to north Jersey for the American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer walk. No, this is not a race in the traditional sense but I’ll do what I can to support finding a cure for breast cancer and support a dear college friend!

november

My first road race in 2011 was the Rothman 8k during the Philadelphia Marathon weekend and I’ll be returning once more on Saturday, November 17th. The 4.97 mile course is fun because it’s a different distance than the norm and there will be a lot of familiar faces there! It’s a great way to get some true fall miles in the weekend before Thanksgiving.

looking ahead

My son has already asked if we’ll be returning to The Light Run in DecemberAs soon as the registration for that opens, we’ll be joining in the fun.

And of course, in 2019 I’ve already got the Hot Chocolate Philly 5k on my race docket, thanks to Bib Rave. If you want to join me for that, register here AND if you use the code BRHCPhilly when you register you’ll receive awesome EXTRA swag, the Hot Chocolate Armband for your phone/tunes.

Will I see you at any of these? What race are you looking forward to?

Don’t Look Backwards – You’re Not Going That Way

Somehow, some way, it’s the middle of May.

I’m not sure how this happened. We were just sitting here, watching the snow fall last month (literally, it was just last month). New Jersey managed to skip over spring completely. Oh wait, not completely, because ALLERGIES are here in full force.

But yeah, other than that, it’s basically summer with temps most days in the 80s. Or raining. That’s what we’ve got going on over here. Summer or rain.

Here, for example, we were able to give out awards to our awesome HKRS runners… right before the skies opened up to a lovely downpour. Thanks to Kathleen B Photography for this picture!

At the end of 2017, I shared my race plans for 2018. Due to changes in plans and a few injuries, three of those didn’t happen. Did that stop me for registering for more races? NO! IT DID NOT. And now that the spring Healthy Kids Running Series is complete, I can begin training once more, the way I should prepare for races.

june

The inaugural Bungalow Beach Run is a 5 mile race that takes place in Atlantic City. As soon as I heard about this race, I knew I had to register!

First of all, it’s held by one of my favorites, the Atlantic City Marathon Races Series.

Secondly, the first 100 people to register get a beach towel (and you know I was one of those first 100 people!).

Registration cost was only $35 when the race opened (hello, affordable) and is currently $45. There’s day of packet pickup, medals, beer, entertainment, and THE BEACH. Plus, many of my local friends signed up for this one so I know it’s going to be a good time. I can’t wait!

august

Here’s a destination race for me – Vacation Races Elk Double. I’ll be taking a little trip across the country to join Jenn at her favorite race weekend!

I’m so excited for this for several reasons:

  1. JENN. I get my Jennifer! I haven’t seen her for far too long and I can’t wait! Not only that, but I get to spend 16.2 miles with her.
  2. Colorado. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean. If you haven’t been there, you should go!
  3. I’m bringing my family along with me! My boys are SO EXCITED for all things travel related but they’re really fixated on going to Colorado. Probably because of number 2.

So yes, I am really pumped for this and while I don’t want to rush time along or anything, I am very much looking forward to August! (And yes, I totally just copied and pasted my blurb from the previous blog. Not even going to pretend otherwise.)

I love a good 10k and I have it on good authority (aka all of my friends RAVE about this race) that The Philly 10k is amazing! This races sells out quickly each year and its piqued my interest mainly because it’s a race that takes place in Philly but not by the Art Museum. For those who live around this area, we know that most races happen on the same course, or at least a good portion of it does.

NOT THE PHILLY 10k! The course goes through South Street and Center City, which is a refreshing change! Sure it’s in August, and sure it may be hotter than the surface of the sun, and sure I might be regretting this in a few months… but for now? I’m stoked.

september

Back in 2013, Vic and Kyle ran the Bird-In-Hand Half Marathon. I believe it was then that I added this race to my bucket list. Five long years later, I have finally registered. Rachel and I needed a destination road trip and when she mentioned Bird-In-Hand, I said SOLD!

Last September we ran the Shenandoah Half together but since it’s not returning this year, we decided to set our sights on a tried and true race. Many runners, including many Team Shenanigans members talk about their love for this one so I’m really excited to experience all the hills it has to offer. Having run Ragnar PA last year also gives me a good idea of what to expect.

HEALTHY KIDS RUNNING SERIES HAPPENS MID-SEPTEMBER TO MID-OCTOBER. I’M BEING SMART (THIS TIME) AND NOT REGISTERING FOR ANY RACES DURING IT. I LEARNED MY LESSON!

october

I’m going back to A.C. and I’ll give you a hint: I won’t be doing the marathon, half marathon, or 5k during this race weekend. That’s right, it’s my favorite race distance, the 10k! I’ve run this race a couple of times in the past, both times were in the rain actually so I’m not really sure how the bodes for this October but I’m hoping for a nice fall day.

And I’m just going to put this out there: Finish Line Beer Garden.

Do with that what you will.

november

My very first road race was the Rothman 8k in 2011 during the Philadelphia Marathon weekend. While I was laid up with my broken wrist and in the middle of what I like to refer to as FOREVERWINTER, I decided that I was going to return to the race where it all began for me. After posting about it on Facebook, a good amount of people decided they’d sign up too! (I swear, I didn’t even work at talking anyone into it.)(Okay, maybe a little but they were highly motivated!)

I’m looking forward to this one because I really like this race weekend but I don’t want to do commit to training for a half (or full, for that matter – but that sorta goes without saying) around that time of year. A late November 8k is just right and since the weekend before Thanksgiving it always leaves me with warm fuzzies about running as we go into the holidays.

As always, there could be another race that comes on my radar for 2018 but these are the ones that are set in stone for now! I’m looking forward to all of them. I’ve adjusted my goals for this year, I’m not looking to PR any of these races and with my training thus far, I don’t think it’s very likely. My main goal is to get them done, remain injury free, and have a good time!

Race recap: hotter than hades at the Bird-in-Hand half marathon

Rough.

With one word to describe the Bird-in-Hand half marathon, this lone thought keeps topping my list.

It was a warm and muggy morning, with pre-dawn temps well into the 70s. Humidity was 96%. Oof.

IMG_0719An Amish family of runners at the race site

After an insane work week earlier this month, I headed to my hometown to run the rural road race for the second straight year. Lancaster, Pennsylvania is Amish country. Home to many in the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish and Mennonite community. Many in the county’s Amish community love to run and have a growing reputation as strong competitors in running circles. And this annual race is organized by that growing running community.

I drove to PA with my running pal Ray and connected with the lovely Kyle and Christina for our big Saturday morning run – the Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon.

We headed to the race site in rural Lancaster County early Saturday morning amidst the fog and were treated to a stellar sunrise.

IMG_0704Ah, Lancaster

We arrived early so we could all mentally prepare. When Kyle suggested we run intervals together – I immediately agreed. Repeated cycles of five minutes of running and one minute of walking sounded like a brilliant way to tackle this muggy 13.1.

IMG_0722From left: me, Kyle, Christina and Ray

As we prepped to run and lined up at the start, we spotted a few ladies pinning each other’s race bibs on their dresses. That’s right – many of the Amish run in their everyday clothes, including hair coverings. And sneakers.

IMG_0743Let’s race, ladies

Soon enough, it was go time. Kyle and I ran together, and we were thankful to stick to our interval plan. Dozens of people passed us each time we walked those first few miles.

Among them, we repeatedly encountered an Amish man running with his young daughter. We cheered each time we saw them, noting how fantastic their joint venture was.

IMG_0748Seriously, I love this duo.

By mile three, I was drenched. I’m talking soaked to the bone. Kyle and I stopped to walk at least twice each mile.

Around the turnaround at mile five, Kyle waved me on. Her legs were heavy, as she’d run a 20-miler just 6 days prior.

I pushed ahead, passing folks as I ran, then watching them pass me by when it was my time to walk.

The next hour was such a challenge. I was overheated. I wanted to stop, but I didn’t. I stuck to Kyle’s plan, even though I was now running solo. I listened to her voice on my head. I didn’t want to let her down by walking too long, or running too slowly .

IMG_0750Running through the corn(fields)

The race itself was a stunning, but hilly course through the cornfields and farmland in Lancaster. Every mile or so, Amish kids manned water and Gatorade stations, and alerted runners to the beverages in four-part harmony.

Amish and Mennonite families cheered us along, many while also doused us with water from garden hoses and sprinklers.

With the heat and humidity, race organizers added about a dozen huge coolers filled with ice along the route. Each time I spotted one, I grabbed a handful, ate a few cubes and shoved ice down my bra.

I sounded like a maraca as I ran on.

As I ran on I saw lots of horses, cows and goats. There were loads of farms, fields and even a half-dozen one-room schoolhouses and horse-drawn buggies galore.

Around mile 8, I hoofed it up a hill and spotted something out of the ordinary.

IMG_0752um, what?

Am I hallucinating, or is that a pair of camels?

Turns out, I said that out loud as another runner answered, informing me that yes indeedy, camels were hanging out along the side of the road.

I spent the next few miles wondering why. I learned more the following week when I found an article about a camel dairy farm  in the Lancaster paper’s news archives. Did you know you can milk them? Yup. But apparently they are not incredibly willing participants.

By this point of the race, I was passing people left and right. Please don’t get me wrong. I certainly wasn’t speeding. My running time was just a 9-minute-mile pace. I’d just started walking far earlier than most, so I had more in my reserves as we all pressed on. (Thank you Kyle!!)

We cut through a farm on a gravel toad, where I tripped over a cornstalk and nearly landed flat on my face. Somehow I caught myself and moved on. It was along this stretch that cups of Rita’s Water Ice were distributed. So happy! The sugar rush added some pep to my step.

The last miles were tough. I’d been seeing occupied ambulances whiz by and volunteers and medics helping collapsed runners along the course. I was concerned about hydrating properly and making it to the end.

As it turned out, more than 50 of the 1,700 registered runners suffered heat exhaustion. Some even went to the hospital. The high for the day was 91.

I didn’t walk that last mile. I just wanted to finish. When I rounded the final turn onto a grass field and sprinted (eh, as much as I could muster) to the finish, I heard an announcer share finishers ‘ names and hometowns.

I never heard my name, but I couldn’t have cared less. I was done.

I guzzled water and chocolate milk and ate a banana before I tripped over Ray in the field and encountered my mom. A few minutes later, we heard Kyle ‘s name announced as she finished the run.

IMG_0721The hot air balloon launch at the start. This never gets old.

My time was 5 minutes slower than last year, when conditions were far more ideal. But I placed in the top third, compared to last year when I was solidly in the middle.

It wasn’t my best race by far. But I’m so proud of how all three of us fared – each about 15 minutes off our PR paces. But given the conditions, we ran smart and made it through without injuring ourselves. So to us, the race was a success!

IMG_0775We’re done! As Christina said, the race was so brutal we lost a whole human. Not to worry, she finished uninjured!

Despite the sizzling conditions, I love this small-town race and would do it again in a heartbeat. Plus, you get a handcrafted medal made from a horseshoe. I nearly tipped over – again – when an Amish girl placed it around my neck.

These miles marked my first double digit run this month for me toward Scootadoot’s Million Mile Run. And NEWS!  This month, starting today (9/15) at midnight, Volvo is matching funds of donations to Alex’s Lemonade Stand for up to $30,000!

The number 30 is significant because every hour, 30 news cases of cancer affect children under the age of 20 worldwide.

That means any donation given during this period will go TWICE AS FAR!

If you wish to donate, check out our team page – We’ve raised $800 for pediatric cancer halfway through September!

Have you run a race in less-than-ideal conditions? How did you cope? Did you ever not finish due to overheating? Have you heard of this race?