It’s taken me a while, but here’s my recap of a fun weekend running the “hat trick” (5k, 10k, and half marathon) at the Runner’s World Half and Festival.
There is one reason I waited… I wanted to get photographic proof that my 5k time is posted incorrectly. This is one of two slightly annoying things about an otherwise very well organized and enjoyable event (the other is that, because I didn’t make it to Bethlehem, PA before 7pm on Friday night, I couldn’t get my number and shirts that day; when I did pick up my number early on Saturday it wasn’t possible to get shirts until 10am and with the start of the 10k at 9:30, I didn’t make it there until later and they had run out of the blue shirt in both small and medium sizes – hat trick runners were supposed to get both shirts and a hat).
Let’s get the timing issue out of the way – the official results list me at 20:29 chip time, 20:30 clock time in the 5k, but my real time was 19:54 clock, and, I believe, 19:53 chip. There were no finish line photos on the site for the time I came in, so I had to screen capture from the finish line videos, so they are not the clearest of images.
I’d booked a hotel about 5 miles from the start (partly because of a family connection that gets us discounted Marriott rates) so I decided to throw my bicycle in the car and ride to and from the races – I wasn’t planning on breaking any records so the bike ride was going to be a nice piece of extra training.
Apparently parking around the start area can be difficult – you can prepay for some of the parking lots around there, but overall given the logistics of parking I’m glad I had my bike.
The website had mentioned secure bike parking, but nobody seemed to know anything about it, and someone pointed me in the direction of bike racks. It turned out they had a sign over by the gear check so I did move my bike there (when I asked exactly where I should leave my bike, nobody knew and they were even surprised by the sign because it hadn’t been there before apparently).
At some point the music started and the party atmosphere was starting, although it was cold and I think I was still waking up. We lined up at the start banner, but then had to walk forwards to the actual start line for the 8:00 start (the start banner was the start of the 10k). Of course, I got caught up in the racing as usual and ran faster than I had planned, but I felt good and didn’t go 100% all out. I was a little concerned about the issues I’d been having with my knee, but didn’t feel anything until after the 5k and it wasn’t too bad at that point.
I didn’t want to really injure myself so I started the 10k at a relatively easy pace (the start of the 10k was at 9:30 so in between most people were keeping warm in one of the buildings around the start). Halfway through my knees weren’t troubling me, so I picked it up a bit, although some of the gain in pace was probably due to the second half being more downhill than the first. At some point I had a conversation with a guy about the skirt I was wearing – he seemed interested in the idea of it being a comfortable choice so perhaps there’s another convert to the benefits? 10k chip time: 43:05.
At the end of the 10k I was approached by a woman who said “nice skirt, but it’s the wrong one” – it was one of the women who runs http://runningskirts.com; I should have paid attention to who was going to be there and run in one of their skirts instead!
The beer (actually I think it was slightly flavored water) on offer at the end was Michelob Ultra so after one of those I had a look around the Expo, and headed back to the hotel to get changed. I had to make up for the Michelob, so the family (who had been swimming in the hotel pool all morning) and I headed to Bethlehem Brew Works for lunch. We had tried to go there when we arrived on Friday but it was so busy that the wait was over an hour, and with young kids we couldn’t possibly do it, so we had walked down the street and eaten at a very pleasant place with decent food called Ephesus (no alcohol as it was bring your own, but that was okay).
For Saturday lunch, service was a bit slow at the Brew Works, but the beer was pretty decent and the food wasn’t bad either.
After lunch we headed out to visit friends who were in Jim Thorpe, PA for the weekend. By this point though my knee was hurting, and my wife was trying to convince me not to run on Sunday – apparently runners are pretty stubborn about not giving up a run but I promised I would take it easy and bail out if I needed to.
The next morning my knee wasn’t feeling too bad but I’d made up my mind to run it relatively easy and chose to run along with the 8 minute per mile pacer so that’s where I started… and I managed that for the first 3 miles. At that point though I was feeling fine, and just wanted to run faster. So I did. Given last month I ran a fraction under 1:31 in a half, I still didn’t push really hard, and I was really enjoying myself the whole time (even up the hills). I was passing people fairly regularly but I did see some people ahead who had also clearly picked up the pace because they stayed ahead.
You can see how much fun I was having in this picture from around the 12 mile mark.
And this one from near the finish:
As for my knee, I wrote about that last week – click here for that story.
The cycle ride back to the hotel wasn’t particularly easy, but I made it in time to shower and change before check out, and then we headed home in time for a mini Autumn street fair (with beer of course).
I would definitely take part in this event again, for several reasons:
- Well organized (other than the t-shirt situation, and the issue with my 5k time).
- Friendly people (runners and those volunteering/working).
- Great overall atmosphere.