Monday, September 24, 2018

Race Recap & Review: 2018 Harrisburg Half Marathon

Earlier this month, I ran the Harrisburg Half Marathon for the third time. I'd previously run this race in 2014 and 2017 but this year was a totally different experience because of the weather. It poured down rain before, during, and after this 13.1 mile journey through Pennsylvania's capital city. Not sprinkled, not lightly rained, it POURED.

Let's rewind and start at the beginning, shall we?

Some of our running ohana were in town to run this race. Nathan missed running this last year because of hurricane Irma (he lives in Orlando, FL) so he was able to defer to 2018. Steff and Joe (and their 12 week old golden retriever puppy, Thorsten!) drove in from Pittsburgh so Steff could run the half. Since this race was on a Sunday, we were able to spend a rainy Saturday going to local breweries and showing off some of the excellent beers in our hometown.


I mean, really? This face!

Saturday night, we all started obsessively checking the weather. It had been in the 90's earlier that week but the forecast for race morning was rainy and cold- in the 50's. We all talked about what we were going to wear for the race and then I remembered my father-in-law gave us construction grade garbage bags the last time they visited- perfect for a rainy run! (thanks, Les!) With the garbage bags packed and our race-day outfits laid out, we did our best to rest and not think too much about the impending cold rain that we were going to spend hours in the next day.

Altra Timps to the rescue for a rainy run!

Sunday morning greeted us with windy, cold temperatures, and pouring rain. UGH. For only the second time in my running career, I considered not running this race and just getting brunch somewhere indoors and warm. But, I got dressed anyway and piled into the car with my running ohana to make the 45 minute drive to downtown Harrisburg.

The last time I was dry all day.

When we got to the race, we had about 30 minutes to kill before the start. We all grabbed an umbrella and stood in the port-o-potty line (which wasn't too long, thankfully) so we could take care of all our pre-race business. 😏

Can you tell who's the most excited for this race?

As we made our way back to the car, we talked about our post-race meet-up plans. Since none of us were carrying phones because of the rain- and because we knew we'd want to warm up immediately after we finished- we decided that we would meet back at the car. After putting the umbrellas away, we donned our garbage bags and walked the short distance from the car to the start line...which had actually been blown down by the wind (they got it back up and standing before the race start). Fabulous!

Since I have no pictures of the race to help me remember the mile-by-mile recap, here's the short list of everything I experienced/thought about during the race:

  • Holy crap, it's cold. The wind is blowing rain into my face. Awesome.
  • Ok, someone has drinks... oh, it's Fireball! Yay, shots!
  • Wow, that warmed me up. Coming up on mile three and feeling ok.
  • Oh yeah, I remember this part, we are headed to the trail.
  • Wow, there are tons of puddles on the trail! It's like a damn mud run out here!
  • I'm so glad I wore the Timps. Altra trail shoes are awesome in the mud. 
  • Ok people, it's just a puddle! We're already wet- just run through it!
  • Thank god we're off the trail... oh shit, the road is full of puddles too.
  • First runners coming through- they're at mile 11 and I'm at 7. Damn, I've still got a ways to go.
  • Oooooh, more Fireball! Thank you!
  • I've worn this bag for nine miles and it's getting hot. Time to make a garbage bag cape. 
  • There's Matthew! Hello, love! Mid-race kisses are the best!
  • Ok, mile 10, time to ditch the garbage bag.
  • And we've got one more Fireball station- awesome!
  • Holy crap, I think that puddle went up to my knee. I can either laugh or cry at this point, ha!
  • Inching closer to the finish line... damn, my hips hurt. I've got to train better. 
  • There it is! Almost done! Thank God! Only a few minutes off my goal time, awesome!!

Initially, I was hoping for a sub-2:30 at this race. After just missing it in May at Pittsburgh, I had been hopeful (earlier in the summer) that I could reach that goal. But after a lackluster few months of training, I was ecstatic that I was able to bust out a 2:34:08 in those horrible weather conditions.

If you want to see just how awful the weather was, here's a great gallery of pictures from PennLive, one of the local newspapers. Luckily, I have just one image from the race (courtesy of PennLive), and I think it's pretty rad. 😜

Living my best life.

Directly after finishing the race, I snapped a couple of pictures and headed to the warm car. From previous years, I knew there would be tons of food at the finish line but honestly, I just wanted to be warm and dry so I bee-lined it for the car. We decided to celebrate our race finishes with a trip to Troeg's Brewery for lunch and beers and then stopped at Hershey's Chocolate World for post-race chocolate snacks. All in all, it was a good day. 

While I can't say that I prefer to run in the rain, I can say that it's not terrible. I kinda feel this way about rain: there's nothing you can do about it so you might as well try to enjoy it. After all, we humans are wash and wear; we will dry out... eventually. 😜

Have you ever run a race in less than desirable conditions? How did you cope?


  1. I'm a survivor of 2014's Splash and Dash at Walt Disney World. The only way to get through a rainy race is by having a positive attitude and making the most of it! Sounds like you had a great time, despite less than ideal conditions!

  2. My very first race was the Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2014(Splash and Dash)! Since it was my very first race, I had nothing to compare it to, and I was very excited and nervous regardless of the weather. You and I met up to say hello (you were healing from a stress fracture, I believe) and you assured me that I was ready! I had an absolute blast in the rain, and I just ran through the puddles since I was soaked from head to toe. My glasses were wet and fogged up and I couldn't see and I had to focus on not crashing into anyone. But after the race, I was ecstatic. I stayed in my wet clothes and hit up the food booths at the after party while everyone else was in a rush to get out of there and get warm and dry. Awesome memories!

  3. 2013 Nashville Rock and Roll Half.... rained the entire race then we had about a mile walk back to our hotel. I was also fighting some gastric distress and by the end my husband was just about fed up with my three porta potty stops! Horrible.

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