Monday, January 26, 2015

Celebration Half Marathon Race Recap

1st Race Medal of 2015
Back when I was pregnant, I made an impulsive decision to sign up for an interim half marathon during my Princess Half Marathon training. I was planning on using this more so for training, but since my training was going well, I decided to try to PR it. I’d have to say, the training really makes a difference (this is my first half that I successfully trained for) as I never felt completely spent during the run. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still sore today but definitely not as sore as I usually am after a half and I felt GREAT running the whole time, whereas in the past I always really struggled during the last few miles during a half.
Pre-Race Picture with Friends
The race was in the town of Celebration. I loved the course as it went through a lot of residential areas and there was a good amount of encouraging signs and people out there cheering us on. Several of the mommas from my MRTT group were out there cheering us on as well. They moved along the course as we ran so got to see them in several locations, such a great group of ladies! Can't wait to get to know them better and maybe join them for some spectating in some future races! The city had signs up and down some of the roads and I read every single one of them; some of them were very funny. My phone was in the compartment on my water bottle holder or else I would have taken pictures but some of my favorites (that I can remember) were: “ you are running better than our government”, “don’t be deflated like the other 11, be like the 12th (referring to the NFL football drama), and  “It may not be Disney, but at least we didn’t get you up at 2am”  which was so true, I was able to leave my house at 5:15 (was about a 30 minute drive), had to park a good 3/4 mile away, wait in line to pick up my packet and still had 20 minutes to kill before race started at 7am! I found another race recap blog post and they had a picture of a few of the signs.. plus some other great pictures of the beautiful course, and much better pictures in general, check them out here!

I do have two complaints about the race itself. One is about the course itself and the portions that went over their boardwalks. There were several sections that were on the boardwalks, which are narrow and slippery, and it wasn’t even raining.  Plus, you had to jump up a curb onto the grass to get onto them which isn’t exactly the safest thing to do. I saw several people fall (not badly, but definitely slipped and tumbled) and more people just slipping in general. At one point I saw a bunch of people conjugated right before the entrance to the one section of the boardwalk and  was thinking to myself, well that’s a dumb place to be hanging out (thought they were just spectators) it’s already narrow enough there. Well, I ended up seeing one of the MRTT mommas on the course and ran a few miles with her and she filled me in that a girl had tripped on the “lip” from the pavement to the wooden boardwalk and cracked open her head and her husband who was running but is also a paramedic stopped to stay with her along with several other runners who stopped to make sure she was ok as they waited for the medics to get there. I found out later on that a 3:30 marathoner also fell in that same spot, so he was running pretty dang fast. (the half and full marathon were the same course, just two loops for the marathon). Both will need plastic surgery for their injuries. I really hope the city re-thinks this portion (and most of the boardwalk portion) of the course for next year. I’m sure there were other injuries as well but those two were definitely the most serious that I heard about.  I couldn’t stop thinking about those runners and how easily it could have been me who fell too.

My other complaint was as you approached the finish line, you came around one final corner and on one side of the street they had chairs and streamers/barriers but on the other side, it was open so people were of course lined up to cheer on the finishers, which is great.  However, since there was no barrier, people were constantly crossing and several runners were coming around that corner pretty fast (when I was watching, several placing marathoners were finishing) and had people crossing in front of them. And the people crossing were taking their time, pushing strollers, walking with toddlers, holding food, etc. At one point someone dropped a bowl of fries (which when smashed to the ground would be slippery) – what made it even worse, it was a race volunteer and she put little effort to clean it up. Finally another spectator went out there quickly and scooped them off the course. I even saw some runners just taking their time crossing the path. I was just appalled with how rude everyone was with people who were trying to finish. And it wasn’t like this was the end of the race either, there was still hours worth of finishers coming though after the point I was watching, and I imagine it only got worse as more spectators joined the crowds.  My recommendation would be to either not allow people to stand on that side of the street or put up some sort of barricade so people wouldn’t be so tempted to cross. It wasn’t even so much as to the fact people were crossing though as it was WHERE they were crossing, right as runners were coming around a corner and wouldn’t be able to see people in their way. I saw several runners have to swerve to prevent running into spectators.

The weather was absolutely perfect for the run. It was VERY cold in the beginning (40’s) but as soon as you hit mile 1-2, you are warmed up and lots of people start shedding layers. I wore a hoodie until right before the start and gave it to a non-running friend to hold for me and then just ran in pants and a long sleeve shirt and mittens (well one mitten as I lost the other somewhere between my car and walking to start line) with one of those “toasty hands” hand warmers. I also had on a headband which covered my ears. By like mile 3, I had ditched my one mitten and the hand warmer and exposed my ears and was completely comfortable the rest of the race where temps got into the high 50’s I believe. I would choose this weather over the heat any day! They had plenty of water and aid stations throughout the whole course and great post race refreshments (from a bunch of the local restaurants in Celebration). Their swag bag had a nice HeadSweats hat in it and some other goodies! I was overall really impressed with the organization and efforts put forth by the Town of Celebration!
Post Race Excitement!
Overall, I really enjoyed the race and plan to do it again next year! It’s limited to only 2500 runners, which makes it nice and not too crowded. The course is great, lots of spectators cheering you on and pretty flat so helps if you are trying to PR. I ran the first mile with 3 friends, one who was running her 1st half, and then split off from them as their pace wouldn’t have gotten me a PR and I really wanted to try for it. I’m so glad I tried, because I definitely hit it! According to RunKeeper and all the zigzagging, I really beat it with an 11:49 pace but in terms of the PR, I use my official chipped time and it was 2:37:16 which is a 12:01 pace for 13.1 miles! So proud of myself for PR’ing and even more proud of the fact it was just 4 months after having a baby!

My Stats:
Official Chip Time: 02:37:16 (overall pace of 12:01)
Place: 1126 of 1808 finishers
Place: 371 of the 1222 Women Finishers
Place: 66 of the 114 in my Women’s Age Division (25-29)
10k Split: 1:15:45
15k Split: 1:52:34
My RunKeeper stats (which accounts for the zigzagging)
13.33 miles in 2:37:36 (overall pace of 11:49)
Fastest Mile: #10 at 11:02
Slowest Mile: #1 at 13:32
Slowest Mile (once I split off from my friend) #8 at 12:17)


  1. Congrats! I can't imagine running 13 miles all at once. And that's scary about how unsafe the race was. Not good. I hope they change course next time to avoid those unsafe places.

    1. Thanks! Although, I don't technically run the whole thing, I always do 2/1 intervals.. But I know what you mean, that's how I feel when people run full marathons... which I have NO desire to ever do! 26 miles? no thanks!

  2. Hi! I'm running this race this month and was looking for race recaps and found yours. It made me VERY nervous about the boardwalk stretch...I guess I don't have things else to add, lol, but thanks for your report from last year :)

    1. Awe you're welcome, glad you found it!! It is seriously one of my favorite races, I just had some surgery so bummed I won't be running it this year! Be careful on the boardwalk but enjoy!!

    2. check out my 2016 recap from same race:


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