Sunday, September 2, 2012

Oak Tree Half Marathon Race Recap

Another day, another notch in the race belt!  The 2012 Oak Tree Half Marathon is complete and was a blast (...for the most part)!

Since my run training has been less than stellar, and my pre-race preparation for my past few races has blown, I was really serious yesterday about prepping myself the best I could for today's race.  My awesome prep included:

a few easy bike miles to get my legs moving
hydration hydration hydration! 
and of course carbs!
I got all my gear layed out and prepped last night and slept surprisingly well for the night before a race.  Besides the seven times I woke up to pee... I really was serious about hydrating yesterday!

This morning I woke up ready to go and was even early getting out the door.  It helped that Steph was meeting me in the parking lot of my apartment to carpool so all I had to do was walk outside :)  Rob and our friend Katie came to cheer us on - Katie was supposed to run the race with us but is recovering from a sprained ankle, so she wore the cheerleader hat today.  It was nice to have two sideline supporters!

We hit the road at 7am and made the half hour drive to Geneseo.  We picked up our packets and went back to the car to stretch, foam roll, and of course take a pic since the start time wasn't until 8:30.  

ready for half marathon number two!
At 8:20 we started walking up to the start line... about 6 minutes later, before we reached the start line, we heard the gun go off.  Hold was not 8:30 yet!  Did this race just start without us?? Why yes, yes it did.

have a good race, all 300 of you with the head start.
Nothing like starting a race on your own after the gun goes off.  We were busting out like an 11 minute pace trying to play catch up and then realized that hey, this could be kind of fun being the last ones.  Let's go with it.

We had a fricken blast the first 6 miles - the volunteers were all super friendly, and it turns out when you're the last ones people feel bad and cheer extra hard.  We loved every second of it.  Our plan going into the race was to have fun and I wasn't worried about any sort of time goal.  It's amazing how much fun you can have when you take the pressure off yourself!  And when there is an accordion player jammin out on the course for you:

another perk of being last: being able to stop for a picture and not worrying about anyone passing you!
The course itself was really challenging with a lot of rolling hills.  Downhills weren't even that exciting because the second you had a downhill there was another uphill coming.  About half the course was on pavement and the other half was on dirt/gravel roads.  At one point the Jason Aldean song Chillin on a Dirt Road came on my playlist and I thought it was really funny.  Get it?  Because we were on a dirt road?  Oh the irony. 

I felt like we were running through the zoo because we were in the middle of the country - we saw a hawk, a cardinal, horses and sheep.  The sheep even posed for a picture for us.  I told them to smile for Molly's Miles.

Aside from the zoo of animals along the course, there were very few people besides Mr. Accordion and a banjo bluegrass band:

nothing says Geneseo like a banjo band
There was a good number of water stops along the course which was awesome because it was SO HOT out.  Not only was it brutally hot, but there was almost no shade along the course and we ran into the sun most of the time.  On the plus side I've got a nice tan now.

A litte after mile 6 things started to go downhill for Steph.  She hit a mental wall and couldn't snap out of it - I tried talking and singing but I don't think that helped.  She told me to go ahead, but I wasn't here to set any records so I stayed right along with her.  

There was a lot of walking after mile 7 and I tried really hard to get Steph to run a bit, but she was having a really tough time getting out of her own head.  I really wanted to keep running, but there have been plenty of runs where Steph stuck with me when I was having a shitty run, and I know how much of a difference it makes to be with someone when you're really struggling so I walked and stayed with her.

I still managed to have my own fun though and took in the scenery of the slow miles and jammed out to some country music from my playlist.  I was still having a blast!  Mile 11 marked the infamous mile-long hill of the course and we power walked up that thing like it was nobody's business.  

the hill had a name.  we kicked tom jerris's butt.
Once we got to the top it was the home stretch from there.  We ran the final mile stretch and actually passed two people on the way to the finish.  Is it weird that I was kind of sad that we didn't finish last?

A long two hours, fifty nine minutes and 28 seconds later - we were crossing the finish line!  

For such a challenging course, I had a great time and felt awesome the whole three hours.  I was surprised with myself at how great I felt both physically and mentally.  Steph and I were joking afterwards that it's a darn good thing that when we have crappy runs they never happen at the same time!  Thankfully one of us is always on our game and can get the other one through the tough run!

new addition to our medal collections!
oak tree half marathon 2012
So because it's the Oak Tree half marathon, the winners of the race apparently get an oak tree plant and a sweet little head wreath thing made from an oak tree or something.  When we took the above picture with the sign, one of the volunteer ladies asked us if we wanted to take a picture with the winner's loot.  Um, heck yes I do.  You don't have to ask me twice to pose with an oak tree head wreath!

After pretending we were Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan winning the race, it was time for my favorite part of any long run:

We got the best pizza I've ever had and I ate that whole slice in about 37 seconds.  I didn't really fuel well during the race and only had one gel, so I was starvin and ready to eat back all my calories for lunch.  

Overall, I had a ton of fun at this race and would definitely do it again.  It was nice to finally be on the other side of a crappy run (sorry Steph!) and be the one to keep someone else going.  Usually it is Steph keeping me going!  I felt great the whole time and guess that my biking has given me more endurance than I had thought!  I'm 98% sure this is my last half marathon of 2012, but with me you never know!  All I can say is that Oak Tree 2013, we will see you next year....and we will be starting with the gun this time :)


  1. Ok, to get Mia's pizza, I will put that race on my to do list next year!! -Laura

  2. I agree with laura:). The pizza is even better after a night spent drinking:). Great job Molly!!! -thea

  3. That dirt road music joke is a lot funnier reading it now in bed with the air conditioning on, then when u told it this morning :)