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Top 10 Reasons Why I Loved the Mistletoe Half Marathon

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10. Sleeping in my bed the night before the race. As fun as travelling for races can be, it was really nice to be home and not have to worry about my eating/sleeping routines getting messed up.

9. Sleeping in on race morning. Since the race was held in the city where I live, I didn’t get up until 7 AM. No 5 AM bus to catch to the start line, no worrying about the timing for my breakfast + pre-race fuel.

8. Staying inside until 10 minutes before the race started. It was really cold the morning of the race (32 degrees but w/ humidity + wind chill, it supposedly felt like 20). Conveniently, Courtney lives across the street from where the race started. We stayed inside, nice and warm, until just before the gun went off. And within 10 minutes of finishing, we were back in her house. When was the last time you were taking a hot shower 15 minutes after crossing a finish line???

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7. No drop bag. Since Courtney lives so close to the start, her husband, Brent, came with us to the starting line so we could just hand him the jackets we shed when the race started instead of stuffing them into a drop bag to be trucked to end of the race like most events. We didn’t have to worry about them getting lost or stolen amidst hundreds of drop bags like I’ve experienced with other races.

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6. The hills. Ok, honestly, the hills kiiinda sucked. I’ve run the course before for training runs but when pushing the pace, hills are a lot more painful. But hey, hills build character.

5. Running in my Vibram FiveFingers. When I bought my VFF in July, I never thought I’d run more than a few miles in them. And I ran the entire 13.1 miles in them! However, I really need to get some Injiji socks to wear with them since my feet were FREEZING. I felt like my toes were going to snap off.

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4. Racing without an injury. In the past, when I got extremely nervous before races, it was usually because I was terrified that an injury I was dealing with was going to prevent me from finishing. I’ve had major IT band and SI joint problems that have made races miserable for me (and really should have just taken a DNF). I came to this race injury-free and it was wonderful to not have the fear of debilitating pain lingering in my mind.

3. This picture. Um, look how short I am. I’m pretty sure I have to take 2x as many steps as half the taller runners out there, so pretty much I work twice as hard, right? Right.

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2. Finishing strong and happy. We finished at the exact same time, with smiles on our faces. (I swear, right after this picture, we were high-fiving and smiling.) I’ve finished a few races in tears because of disappointment and/or injury (usually they coincided). This is the way races should end. Happily. That doesn’t mean it won’t hurt a bit (it did…boy it did…especially since we really picked up our pace for the last mile), but overall we were healthy and happy.

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1. Running the race with my best friend. This was Courtney’s first half marathon and I couldn’t be more proud of her. CONGRATS COURTNEY! Racing with a friend is soooo much better than going solo, especially when that friend is Courtney.

She got me up the tough hills, I made her nearly puke by feeding her a Honey Stinger, she checked in on my calves (they got really tight and crampy on our last long run), and we planned to travel and meet to run races in the future in case our husbands decide to take jobs in different states and ruin our lives. Mistletoe half marathon-5[FYI, no smiling in this picture because my face was so cold that I couldn’t get my face muscles to work. Seriously.]

Official gun time: 2:01:16

Average pace: 9:15

Garmin time: 2:00:25 (the race didn’t have timing chips)

I didn’t run a PR, but it was definitely one of my favorite races. And given the tough course and chilly temperatures, I think we did  pretty darn well.

Do you prefer travelling to races or staying close to home?

P.S. Don’t forget to join our Twitter party tomorrow night discussing holiday baking! I’m so excited!

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    41 responses to “Top 10 Reasons Why I Loved the Mistletoe Half Marathon”

    1. Great job! So far my races have been small and close to home — kind of just to get me used to the racing atmosphere! In May though I’m participating in the biggest half in the nation — the Indianapolis mini-marathon.. going to be a much different experience!

    2. Good job running a half marathon in the cold! I can only manage shorter runs in the cold cause my toes & face freeze. I like running shorter runs closer to home, but I like the excitement of half-marathons in a different place because the course is new. It’s more exciting for me!

    3. Congrats!! I also love the ease of running races close to home, but there’s also something fun and exciting about running in new places because there’s lots of new stuff to look at (and distract me 🙂 ).

    4. Great job. Your feet must have been freezing!

      I’ve only done one race that I travelled for. I liked it, but there is definitely something nice about being able to go straight home to your bed after.

    5. BEST RACE EVERRRR!!!! Ok, it’s really only my second official race, but I still think it rocked! I mean come on, how proud could you really be of yourself if it was sunny and warm and all downhill?? Like you said, hills build character and who else can say they ran a half in subfreezing temps?! Aaaaand more importantly, with their BEST friend?? Can’t imagine doing it without you! Congrats on running it in your Vibrams and making us lots of new friends just by wearing them 🙂

      Let’s talk about our next race in a couple of months when I have completely forgotten how hard this one was 😉

    6. congrats on a great race! I ran my first half on Sunday too! So fun you ran with a newbie to cheer her on. And wow 13.1 in vibrams! Were your soles tired after? Mine are and I had padding.

    7. amazing job on the race!
      i loved seeing pictures and hearing all about it.
      thanks so much for mentioning me in your weekend links!
      you made my day:)

    8. Congrats on a great race! And in your Vibrams – wonderful! I ran my 1st half marathon yesterday in Dallas (where I live) and it was awesome. I’m looking forward to running my next race in another city!

    9. HAhaha about the not being able to smile!! I’m so so sooo excited for you. Great to hear your were injury free before this race. Have you noticed your recovery the day or 2 after to be shorter from the vff’s? Or not much difference. So exciting that you got to run it with your bestie. Yaaaaaay! 🙂

    10. Nice work! I actually like traveling to races because it makes the whole experience that much more special for me. That race looked like a lot of fun- nice job running in the vibrams!

    11. Congrats!! Very cool! Which Injiji socks would you get to wear with your vibrams? I looked at their site today and there are so many options!

    12. Nice job!! I know the feeling of being totally disappointed at the finish – and it’s so nice when you finish a race smiling – even if you didn’t PR. Besides the Vegas Ragnar, I’ve never traveled for a race. Races can be so expensive as it is – so I try not to have to add in traveling costs.

      P.S. I LOVE the pic of you running with that super tall guy – thats how I feel around Geoff everyday!!

    13. Congrats on running a great race! I want to run a 1/2 marathon one day but I’m not there yet.

      I have a running question for you. When you first started running, did it take a long time to increase your pace from snail like to your 9 or 10 minute-ish miles? I run about a 10 minute mile now, but I can’t keep that pace up for more than a little over a mile. I know the more I work at it the more my body will adjust and the better I’ll get, but I was just wondering about a timeline.


    14. Congrats, it really does sound like a fantastic race! One of the worst parts about racing is the whole bag drop off. I hate having to rush around to find a place to stash my bag and my keys. How nice that your friend lived so close.
      Congrats again hun! You did so awesome!!!

    15. Good job! That looks like a fun race. I’ve been dying for a pair of VFFs for a while now. How long did it take you to really get used to them? And do you still rotate them with regular sneakers?

      I have only ever done races within an hour of my house so I would have to say that I prefer races close to home 😉

    16. You are a rock star, Teri! In fact, after reading this post this morning, I (a *NON*-runner) ran my entire morning cardio session and even looked up upcoming 5ks in the area when I returned! I really want to check that off my bucket list- completing a race of some sort! Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

    17. Sleeping in your own bed definitely sounds fantastic.

      Great recap. I’m in awe of the Vibrams running, that is fantastic.

    18. how awesome!! congrats on a fabulous race and loved the recap 🙂

      i’ve been loving walking in my vibrams for the past few months as i was told to go w/o my orthotics. don’t know if i will be able to run in them as i still have some late overpronation in one foot, but i will keep walking in them!

    19. Awesome race! I can’t believe you ran the whole thing in vibrams…that seems so hard!

      I’ve never run a race out of town…always been able to sleep in my own bed before! I guess I’m spoiled

    20. Great job! As a new reader I find your racing accomplishments so inspiring! I hope to run a half marathon next summer seeing as I’m a baby when it comes to freezing New England winters 😛

    21. I’ve only ran four races, two of which I traveled for. And in my few past experiences with traveling vs. not traveling, I’ve had to say I prefer not traveling. It’s cheaper, way easier and I feel more well rested and better prepared for the race.

    22. Love the race re-cap and I agree it is nice running with friends (for my family 😉 ) I love that you did it in your Vibrams- way to go! I still have yet to give those a try, maybe one day 😉

      Excited to see you soon!!!


    23. Do you think your Vibrams were what helped you stay injury free up to and during your race?? I think it’s pretty cool you ran the whole thing in them!

    24. So cool that your FiveFingers held up! I hate cold weather, so no winter running fore me, but I’m madly impressed by people who seem to have inner polar bears.

    25. HOORAY! I’m so proud of you. I’m not sure I think running in the five finges was the brightest idea, but I’m happy for you and your bizzarre running garb. You are pretty much my hero. I’m glad you could run with your BF. BF’s make everything better…especially running races:)

    26. Congrats on the run Terri! I am terrified of running in the cold so I give you major props. And I think your time was AWESOME!

    27. I know I’m late in saying this, but congratulations!!! This race sounds really fun AND I loved your recap. Such a fun post to read. I’m impressed you did the entire thing in your VFFs with your toes feeling like they’re going to fall off. Talk about hard core (and maybe a little crazy 😉 ) haha

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