Hi guys! I ran the Applefest half on Saturday and it was definitely an interesting race! I ran this race last year as well.
The race has a later start of 10:00, which I love, so I didn’t have to be up super early. I usually don’t sleep very well the night before a race but I didn’t have any problems this time and woke up at 7:00, well rested.
A coffee and a plain bagel with an egg (no cheese) served as pre-race fuel (and worked well). I ate it on the way to meet my dad, and then we headed off to the race. It started pouring on the drive over…I was getting pretty nervous and jittery!
We parked and then hopped on a bus to drive us to the start. We tracked down my brother for a picture and then checked our bags. The rain had just about stopped by this point.
We lined up and before we knew it, we were off!! My dad and I started the race together but he took off shortly after. We had planned that we would both just find a comfortable pace and not worry about sticking together. He’s much faster than I am! :)
I usually start off much too fast so I really concentrated on keeping a do-able pace. I wanted to stick to 10:00-10:30/miles and did so for the first eight miles. I felt awesome! It started raining again, and was pouring at one point, but it helped to keep us cool. I was very thankful, especially after the heat of last year.
I ate half of a GU around mile 5, and then finished it at mile 8. One was plenty and my energy levels were steady. Around mile 8 was when the hills started. I struggled with them last year so I was kind of dreading them. But once I hit them, they weren’t that bad! Definitely a bit of a challenge but nothing I couldn’t handle.
Unfortunately, right about when the hills started, I started to feel a tightening in my calves (worse in the right than the left). I’m not exactly sure what brought this on but they started cramping up badly! I kept pulling of to the side to stretch them, even going into downward-dog a few times. I kept this up for a few miles but was getting frustrated. I felt so strong otherwise and knew it was hurting my pace.
When I was running, I had to step cautiously since my calf felt like it would cramp up at any minute. And at mile 11, it did. I’ve never experienced a cramp like that and I never want to again!! I stumbled to my knees on the side of the road and tried to massage it out, but that wasn’t exactly possible. Wow, did it hurt! I couldn’t even move my foot and it took my breathe away.
A few people asked if I needed first aid but I waved them off. I’m sure I looked like a sight, sitting in the mud, clutching my leg. I sat there for about 5 minutes until I could finally stand up and limp along. I ran when I could, and walked the rest of the time. It still hurt like crazy but it didn’t cramp up that badly again, thank goodness.
I was able to run across the finish line, coming in at 2:27:16. This was 15 minutes faster than last year and a PR by 5 minutes! I was a little disappointed since I knew I could’ve done better but I’m still excited about beating my previous times! That’s all that matters, right?
My dad did great, coming in around 2:02. And he just turned 60 last week! Pretty awesome, if you ask me! My brother rocked it around 1:38. Speedy!
We hung around for a little while…I grabbed a water, half a bagel and some apple crisp (their signature). I could barely walk so we headed out after a little while. I had to have my dad drive home since I couldn’t press the gas pedal! Yeah, I was a mess.
Once home, I devoured almost an entire small pizza and iced my leg (frozen brussel sprouts to the rescue). The thought of stretch was too painful and I was really wishing I had a foam roller. I actually had to wait until Sunday night before I could stretch! I’m just now able to walk and climb stairs normally. Oh the joys!
Overall, an eventful race! I’m happy with my PR and will hopefully be able to run it next year!