Hope for the Holidays Half Marathon Race Recap

Hope for the Holidays Half Marathon Race Recap

It looks like it’s been a while since my last race recap… One year to be exact! It’s been a crazy year and apparently it didn’t include blogging.  I did race a few times at the start of 2020 but never got around to writing about it. I decided I needed to come out of my blog retirement for this one. It isn’t everyday I get to run a half marathon with one of my kids! I have done it once before, back in 2017 with Abi on her 13th birthday. We found a half marathon we did together but none of my other kids have been interested in starting a birthday run tradition. This race sort of came up out of the blue.  My oldest son, Anthony (14), had a strong cross country season.  Once his season ended he continued to run on his own at PE or after school and he mentioned to me several times that he would like to run a half marathon. I told him sometime he could but there just haven’t been many race opportunities.

The Saturday before Thanksgiving we ran a Turkey Trot 5k together and finished in 20:28.  This was technically my first race since March and his fastest 5k ever.  A friend of mine was there and she told me about a half marathon she was running two weeks from then in Batesville, Arkansas. I was interested but not sure if Anthony or I would be ready for that distance. I’ve been recovering from plantar fasciitis so my mileage has been low. His runs ranged from 3-7 miles. A week and a half before the race we ran 8 miles together around an 8 minute pace. My foot handled it fine so I asked him if he would want to run the half marathon. He said he did so I registered us both that night just before the deadline.  That weekend we ran 11 miles for our one and only long run of this last minute (and very condensed) training cycle.

Race morning

Since this was his first half marathon the whole family wanted to come out to support him. The race was just under an hour away and very low key. We picked up our packets and put on the timing chips. The race director thanked us for coming and gave me some information about the course which was very helpful.  We didn’t warm up since this was his first half and we were just going to use the first mile to ease into it.

Before the start
We had a great cheering squad!

The first section of the course is a neighborhood loop near the starting line. Just before mile 3 we passed the starting area (with John, the kids, and my in-laws) and we headed down Eagle Mountain.  *Mile 1- 7:42, Mile 2- 7:37, Mile 3- 7:37

The next section was hilly and led to a trail near Lyon College. *Mile 4- 7:32, Mile 5- 7:40

Mile 6 was almost entirely on a single track technical trail. It was a steep downhill with many switchbacks, tree roots, rocks and basically a nightmare for someone cautiously coming back from any foot injury. Our pace immediately slowed to a crawl and I told him to run ahead of me since it was single track. I had to go extra slow because of my foot- I did not want to roll my weak ankle. So he sprinted off ahead and I told him I’d catch up to him when we reached the road.  When I finally made my way out of the trail section I saw Anthony about 200 meters ahead of me so I immediately started sprinting to catch up to him. *Mile 6 split was 9:04.

Miles 7-10 were on country gravel roads through farm land. It was very flat and peaceful. This was my favorite section of the course. We passed two runners during this stretch and running in the 7:20’s seemed doable for him. There were two females about a minute and a half in front of me in a pack and we were slowly gaining on them. *Mile 7- 7:33, Mile 8- 7:28, Mile 9- 7:23, Mile 10- 7:27

The last 5k was on main streets heading back towards the start. Anthony was pretty quiet and really focused on making it to the finish. We passed two more men and one woman. *Mile 11- 7:26, Mile 12- 7:27.

The last mile was a beast. It was all uphill and the hardest last mile of any race I’ve ever run. We were both going up the last big hill all out and he was legitimately faster than me in this section. Once we made it to the top we could see the finish line. We went through mile 13 in 7:44 which was pretty solid considering the 200 feet elevation gain.  Then we sprinted through the finish line together- 1:40:48.

John, the rest of the kids, and my in-laws were right there at the finish. Anthony was exhausted but very happy. There was not any awards ceremony and our medals were in our race packets along with the race hoodies.

This race is in memory of Garrett Yeager and race proceeds benefit the Special Olympics in Batesville and Other Side Ministries for Women.   It was definitely a challenging course but the race director said they are getting the course recertified to finish differently next year- not uphill.

Even though this race was small and low key it was very organized and I would do it again. I loved being able to run this with my son and look forward to more races together- at least as long as I can keep up with him!

IHOP post race celebration



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