Happy Wednesday! Today I’m linking up with Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Jen from Pretty Little Grub, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Nicole from Nicole from FitFul Focus for Wild Workout Wednesday. I’m excited to share my race recap for the SoNo Half Marathon!
This past Saturday I completed my second 20 miler of my training cycle (woo-hoo)! Of course you know I had to throw in a half marathon as part of my long run, right?! I was pretty excited about this race as it’s only a 20-25 minute drive from my house and I had heard really good things about the race from friends that did it last year (I wanted to do it last year but it was the same weekend as the Runner’s World Half and Festival).
Let me start off by saying that before running the race, I was already impressed. The pre-race communication was on point and they even sent a participant guide with tons of information the week of the race. In addition, I reached out to the race director to see if he could provide some information on where I could run before the race. He went above and beyond by mapping out a 5 mile route for me to do that was in the area of the race.
We arrived to the race around 7:30. This was perfect because the race started at 9. I was able to get my bib and other items relatively quickly and then I was off for my 5 miles. I ran these at a pretty comfortable pace – nothing too crazy. I finished with about 15 minutes to go before the race start. The race started right on time!
Within the first mile I knew I was going to have a hard race. My legs felt fatigued from the 5 miles and we were experiencing rolling hills. The second mile was pretty much all downhill which just killed my legs. I know most runners like downhill but I do not, especially not when it’s a large downhill. My right quad was acting weird that morning and I think the downhill might have aggravated it a little 🙁 The rest of the miles took us through neighborhoods and a little of downtown South Norwalk which was nice. When we hit mile 6 we were right in the downtown area and the crowds were AWESOME!
We continued to run in the downtown area for a little bit and then we ran by the Maritime Aquarium. This part was really cool! Then we ran through a few other smaller parks. This was a really great scenic part of the race. For the rest of the miles we were running down some of the main streets in Norwalk. This got a little stressful as the roads weren’t completely closed off in some areas. Some of those areas (maybe 2 or 3) didn’t have a volunteer or cop directing traffic so I was very careful when crossing the road. Luckily most of the other main intersections had volunteers helping which was so useful! Around mile 12 (I think), a local ice cream shop, Mr. Frosty’s, was giving out small samples of ice cream. I gladly grabbed one because I was starting to get hot and it looked like gold to me, lol. As I was eating it, I realized I probably shouldn’t be mixing dairy and running, oh well! Shortly after that I crossed the finish line.
After finishing I enjoyed some pizza and beer and then ran around the park to complete my last 2 miles. And just like that, my second 20 miler was done!
Now let’s talk race pros and cons!
Race Swag – So not only did we get a medal, but all participants that registered before a certain date got a mason jar (I LOVE mason jars)! We also received a really nice Buff as well.
Post-Race Food – After the race we were able to pick up bottles of iced tea, fruit, pizza, ice cream and a full sized cup of beer. They also had samples of UCAN recovery drinks available as well. It was a nice mix of lots of items.
Volunteers – Without a doubt, this race had some of the NICEST volunteers ever! Every volunteer I encountered was super encouraging and always had a smile on their face. In addition, they were really knowledgeable about everything. From the packet pick up, to the course support to helping with things after the finish line, it was just a really great experience.
Spectators – There weren’t spectators everywhere on the course, but the spectators that were out were amazing. They were super loud and cheerful, giving out high fives and tons of smiles. I saw one spectator about 3 or 4 times and he was the most encouraging person – always smiling and saying how proud he was of the runners, etc. I don’t remember your name, but if you’re reading this, THANK YOU! I was really struggling around mile 11/12 and your words meant a lot!
Pre and Post Race Communication – As I mentioned earlier, the pre-race communication was really good and the participant guide they provided was so comprehensive. In addition, the evening of the race we received an email with our results and were told that photos would be available this week.
Water Stations – Water stations were located every other mile and they had water and UCAN hydrate. In addition, there was a UCAN station located around mile 8. I had my Nuun with me, so I didn’t drink the UCAN but the stations were well stocked and I did grab water a few times.
Free Race Photos – I love when race organizations offer free photos because they can be SUPER expensive!
Post-Race Food – I know I listed it as a ‘pro’, but I’m only including it here because they ran out of water at the finish. I was toward the back of the pack for this race (I think there were only 120 or so runners after me), so that’s probably why there was no water left when I crossed the finish line. Since I had run 18 miles at this point, I was really thirsty, so I just settled for the beer 🙂
Rolling Hills – If hills are your thing, then you’ll like the course. For me, between my IT band and my angry quad that day, the rolling hills in the first half of the race were not my jam.
Road Closures – Since not all of the roads are closed for this race, I think it would be good to have a few more volunteers/cops helping with traffic. There were a few times where I made sure to look, and then double check before running because the roads weren’t blocked off. One time I actually had to stop to let a car go by – better safe than sorry!
*Quick shoutout moment* My mom ran the 5K and picked up another AG award. She is KILLING it this year!
Overall I was impressed with the organization of the race and I would do the race again next year depending on if I do some more hill training!