Monday, April 18, 2016

Hook Half Marathon Race Recap

I ran a half marathon this weekend. You might not have known since I have been completely slacking on my blog posts lately.

On Sunday morning I woke up at 5 and was out the door at 6 to make the drive to Rockland Lake State Park. I was super early (on purpose) so I didn't even have to wait in line to pick up my number and my snazzy race shirt.

Then I went back to my car because it was 38 degrees out and I still had almost an hour before race time. It was a chilly morning, but was supposed to get fairly warm. Most people were in long tights and long sleeve shirts/jackets. I assumed that most of them would lose some layers for the race, but most of them were still pretty bundled up when we started. There were even some people who chose to wear the long sleeve, cotton race shirt to run the half marathon.

I would have died.

I was wearing shorts, a tank top and my Legend Compression sleeves (affiliate link) - and sunscreen, because this pale skin hasn't seen a lot of sun lately.

I knew going into it that the race wasn't going to be easy - it does have the word mountain in the name - but it ended up being a lot harder than I expected.

The first four miles are fairly flat around Rockland Lake, and then there are rolling hills until the big drop down Hook Mountain. Mile 6 drops over 200 feet in elevation, though most of that drop is over the course of less than half a mile. It's not so bad, but you know you have to run back up it later.

Miles 7-10 are mostly flat along the river. It was really hot during this stretch and there was no shade and no wind. The turn around spot has an unwelcome mini-hill. I did't feel awesome at any point in this race, but this stretch was a major suffer-fest for me. It takes me a few weeks to get used to running in warmer weather, and even though it wasn't actually hot, it was still too warm compared to the temperatures I have been running in lately.

The death march up Hook starts right around mile 10. Pretty much everyone around me (myself included) walked up the vast majority of the hill. I was feeling mostly terrible at that point so I was just happy that I managed to convince myself to start running again once we got to the top. I knew my goal of being under two hours was out the window, but I didn't want to just give up and walk.

Ok, I did want to give up and walk at the time, but I'm glad I didn't.

The last two miles run back around the lake, and are mercifully flat. I managed to pick up the pace a bit and passed several people during the last couple of miles. I had a strong finish, but ended up finishing almost 10 minutes slower than my last half just three weeks ago.

They only had a finish line mat, so my gun time was 2:06:39, no chip time.

A couple of gripes: The water stations were confusing, The volunteers were all mixed together with Gatorade and water and it wasn't clear who had what. I ended up accidentally grabbing Gatorade a couple times, and each time it was a different flavor of Gatorade - I wish they had at least stuck to one flavor.

By the time I finished, there was only half a box of bananas and less than half a box of (dry) bagels left. I have no idea what the many runners behind me had to choose from, but it was slim pickings when I was there.

Overall, it is a really well-run race, and the scenery is beautiful, but it is definitely a tough course. I may have to run it again with a little more preparation (hill training) next time.


  1. I would have been bummed out by those snacks after running a half! The course sounds beautiful even though it was super challenging :) Congrats on your finish!

    1. Thanks MB! I was super sad about the post-race snacks!

  2. Your description of the death march reminds me of this ridiculous hill during the Beat the Blerch Half i did last fall. OMG I don't think anyone was running. It looked more like a walk-a-thon. LOL. Congrats. And yes, after running in freezing temps it's definitely a transition to getting accustomed to the warmer temps.

  3. It does sound like a beautiful course even if that hill was hellish. Nice job of finishing strong in the last couple of miles!

    I keep overdressing or underdressing for runs right now due to the confusion of it not being winter.

    1. I always have a hard time with the change in seasons and figuring out what to wear. I'm not sure why it's so hard, we do it every year! :)


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