by tinareale on October 25, 2012

I know it’s been a long time coming…the actual race recap itself! ‘Twas a good one, friends. ‘Twas a good one. Now that I’ve highlighted everything else from the weekend we can jump right to Sunday early morning. Race morning!

My roommates – Jill, Larisa, Lindsay – and I all woke up at 6am on Sunday morning to grab some coffee, our pre-race fuel, and get dressed and ready for the race.


I ended up rocking some new Oakley gear thanks to the wonderful Amanda. She works as an ambassador for them and offered to outfit some of us for the races. I’m down for a) helping out a friend, b) supporting a campaign like Oakley’s Perform Beautifully Campaign, and c) sporting some pink for Breast Cancer Awareness. So, I got brave and wore something new on race day. No worries. It all worked out wonderfully. And I learned for the first time that I really like running in tanks! Thank you Oakley and Amanda!

Back to the race morning….

Instead of catching the 6:15 am shuttle for the 8:30 am start, Katherine graciously offered to drive a group of us over to the race start at 7:30 am. It was perfect timing as we had just enough time to hit up the port-a-potties, gear check our stuff, and make it to the start.

I headed into the start corral for the 8:30 minute pace group with my energy high and my spirits higher.

I reminded myself of my goals – to run a good feeling race and finish happy and strong. I knew that a mental boost for my running and training would mean the most to me from this experience. I didn’t want a PR…I wanted something to set the tone for my upcoming marathon training.


Bart Yasso announced the start, the gun went off, and we slowly made our way across the start line. I think next year a wave start would work a bit better, but this start still went relatively smoothly.

From there, I settled into a steady pace that felt comfortable. I did as planned to “sit back and enjoy the scenery”, if you will.


I wanted to take it all in and bask in the fact that I was running for Runner’s World! In a beautiful town, no less!

The first three miles flew by. When I checked my pace I saw that I had hit a pretty steady 8:40-8:50 minute per mile pace. I didn’t think much of it and kept going along, trusting my body to guide me. The miles continued to fly by…even with the numerous hills. I think the gorgeous scenery of fall foliage along with the cheering, supportive spectators helped the miles to pass quickly and easily.


We even ran through a quaint little neighborhood with the nicest supporters…and Runner’s World editor John Atwood chilling in his driveway cheering everyone on!


At this point we had reached around mile 8-9 and I checked my time again. I could not believe the paces I was holding – about 8:20 – 8:30 minute miles. It even occurred to me that I could possibly come close to a PR on the race! I figured why not see what I can do and truly race the last 4 or so miles. I took a Gu and then started picking things up. I was hitting around 8:00 minute miles and my body kept feeling stronger and stronger. I think getting a high five from Dean Karnazes (ultra marathon icon) along the course helped. Winking smile

There were a few unexpected hills toward the end, but a lot of downhills too. I could not contain the excitement that coursed through me at finally having a good feeling race. Each mile, although tougher and tougher in a physically demanding way, felt better and better mentally. I was doing this.

It ended up that I had too much time to make-up for over the distance in order to PR (especially with the unexpected hills at the end), but I could care less. I crossed that finish line in a STRONG feeling 1:52:28 – a great deal faster than I expected to do and only 2:20 minutes off my PR.


After battling injury and mental frustration with running a good deal of this year, I had zero complaints about that time. Heck – it felt better than any PR could have because I got what I came for…a strong race and in an even greater atmosphere than I could have expected.

Runner’s World knows how to put on a killer race. They had a stellar course boasting the the kindest volunteers, the best race scenery throughout an entire course that I have ever witnessed, and some of the most energetic spectators who seemed to really want to be there cheering us all along.

The course and after the finish line had ample aid, water, and food. They had music. They had entertainment. They had The Steel Stacks (still neat to look at even after 3 days).




And my favorite part? They had FitFluential in full force. Nothing like crossing the finish line and getting greeted by a ton of your friends.

left to right, front to back: Jess, Kristin, myself, Elizabeth, Robin, Harold, Amanda

I now have half marathon #4 in the books…and I don’t know how any future race will ever beat that experience. Whether on your own or through the Runner’s World Challenge (which includes training plans, loads of support from Runner’s World professionals, special race day treatment, and more), if you have the chance to do this race next year – DO IT! You won’t regret it and will likely leave a more inspired person than when you came. It was the experience of a lifetime.

Thank you #RWHalf! I got my mojo BACK!

Your Turn – What do you look for in a race? Have you ever experienced a particular event or moment where you felt your “mojo” return after a hiatus?

Disclaimer: I participated in the Runner’s World Half & Festival weekend as a FitFluential Ambassador. I received a free entry to the race and participation in the events. All opinions expressed are my own.


1 Glenneth October 25, 2012 at 6:43 am

sounds like you had a fabulous weekend! great race! love the oakley gear! very cool!

2 Miz October 25, 2012 at 6:46 am

Im not a runner but I have SO SO SO had the mojo moment.
and it made my heart soar.
So glad the RW experience was a fab one for you.

3 molly @ heart, sole & cereal October 25, 2012 at 6:53 am

woohoo! this is the part i was waiting for (sidenote: i have no idea when i became a person who is this obsessed with race recaps)! way to go on your time – seriously impressive. i really love that you just went with how you felt during the race and kept to the pace that your body wanted. i struggle with getting too into staying at a certain pace (which is why i stopped wearing a garmin) rather than just listening to what my body wants. yay tina!

4 tinareale October 25, 2012 at 1:32 pm

I’m one of those people who can actually wear a Garmin and not really pay attention to it unless I’m really needing to track my pace for a workout. I agree it is so much better to go with your body!

5 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey October 25, 2012 at 7:15 am

Yay! You did awesome! And I agree, we have to catch up.

6 Robin October 25, 2012 at 7:38 am

I love when a race goes as perfectly as yours just did. I think taking a step back really allows our bodies to relax and a good race usually comes as a result. Enjoy that good race feeling and I think you have an incredible half marathon PR in your future. And good luck at your marathons this spring!!!!! So nice meeting you this weekend.

7 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table October 25, 2012 at 7:59 am

I was looking forward to this recap. :) What a come back after the injuries you suffered this year I know that feels good. Congratulations!!

8 Caroline October 25, 2012 at 8:03 am

Races that are always fun, have big crowds, or entertainment are high up on the list for me! Great job on your race! It sounds like you ran a fantastic race and had fun along the way!

9 Heather (Where's the Beach) October 25, 2012 at 8:46 am

Congrats girl!! Such an awesome event to be a part of. And so glad you’ve got that mojo back. I’m doing my 4th half this Saturday and have just been battling myself mentally. Still working through injuries and lots of self-doubt so I needed this post!

10 Kierston October 25, 2012 at 9:00 am

Awesome! So happy to hear how great of an experience this was for you! Great time and I love the outfit!

11 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More October 25, 2012 at 9:12 am

Congrats on a GREAT race! A well-deserved and strong finish. :)

12 Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots October 25, 2012 at 9:13 am

congrats again! The scenes look great, reading your recap really makes me want to run a half asap!

13 Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie October 25, 2012 at 9:13 am

Yay!! This post made me so happy! Girl I am so proud of you!! Way to rock that race!

14 David H. October 25, 2012 at 9:35 am

Congrats! Looks like we crossed paths somewhere along the way during the race.

15 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries October 25, 2012 at 9:51 am

Great job and strong work on your PR!

16 Katie Heddleston October 25, 2012 at 9:56 am

So wish the RW half wasn’t the same week as the ATM that I had already paid for! Looks soooooo amazing! I’m glad you had a wonderful time and an amazing race time too!

17 tinareale October 25, 2012 at 1:41 pm

That just means you will have to go next year. ;)

18 Katie Heddleston October 25, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Hope sooooo!!!

19 Katie @momslrb October 25, 2012 at 9:56 am

Looks like you had a blast!! Nice pace! That’s awesome. I hope to be that fast someday. Great recap!

20 Patty October 25, 2012 at 9:59 am

Congratulations! I am so happy for you. It sounds like this race was very special to you. The way you describe feeling great all throughout is definitely a great reward! :)

21 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions October 25, 2012 at 10:03 am

Wow, that seriously sounds like an incredible race! I’m glad you had such a good time and that you felt so great. I had pretty much lost my running mojo when I took on my second 10K (during the middle of training for my first half marathon). The weather in Chicago this summer was just AWFUL–so hot and so humid all the freaking time–but the weather on 10K race day was incredible. Even though I’d been putting in 10:30 – 11:00 minute training runs, I ran an overall 9:44 pace for the 10K, which was 50 seconds faster than my pace for my first 10K: a race I had actually been training for! I just ran that second 10K for funzies and because I could. It made a serious difference for me mentally and though a lot of my half marathon training continued to suck (thank you, 90 degree weather…), I don’t think I would’ve made it through all of training without that bomb 10K. I’m glad you got to have a similar experience and run a kick butt time! Congrats, girl! I’m so happy for you :)

22 purelytwins October 25, 2012 at 10:25 am

great job with the race!! We remember one of our last half marathons where we put no pressure on ourself and just ran. It was one of our best races! love that when it happens, love that feeling of happiness and accomplishment :)

23 Amanda @ Run Principessa October 25, 2012 at 11:12 am

You are SUCH a powerhouse. This recap was so inspiring to read. Jeez Louise, man. You truly did kill it!!

24 Kelly @ Cupcake Kelly's October 25, 2012 at 11:32 am

I am so sad that I couldn’t make this event, next year for sure! So glad you had such a wonderful race!

25 Cara October 25, 2012 at 11:44 am

That is awesome, congratulations on an outstanding race and getting your running mojo back! I’ve never run the RW half, but now that I know it’s an awesome race, and it is so close to my hometown there is no excuse not too!

26 tinareale October 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm

This was actually their first year! Crazy, huh? I can only imagine how great they will make it for next year! You should definitely do it. I hope to again.

27 Michelle October 25, 2012 at 11:57 am

Woo-hoo on getting your mojo back!!! Congrats on a great race :)

28 Cat @ Breakfast to Bed October 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm

There is NOTHING better than getting your mojo back…apart from maybe when your ladyparts quit hurting after you have a baby.

29 Heather @ Better With Veggies October 25, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I’m so excited that you had an awesome race – I love that feeling of fun! I had a similar experience during the New Orleans marathon earlier this year, where I felt the mojo and ran an awesome PR. I can’t wait to recapture that feeling again soon!

30 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats October 25, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Awesome job on your race, very speedy! I’m glad you really enjoyed the whole experience, it sounds like quite the weekend!

31 Kim October 25, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Woohoo, congrats on the great race and time!! I’m still waiting for my mojo to return after having my first baby…it’s only been 7 months but I’m impatient. :) How long does it take?? :)

32 tinareale October 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm

My mojo came in waves during the first year post partum. I had some highs, but definitely some not so motivated times too. When they sleep better it helps. ;)

33 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama October 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I loved following all the FFA tweets, pics on instagram and now recaps of the RW weekend. So awesome! I’m super jealous that I didn’t make it but that just means next year.

Glad you found your mojo again! Take that injuries!!!! :)

34 [email protected] October 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm

WAHOO! Glad you felt awesome about the race & how you did :) That is a strong finish, girl!! Having that mojo is a sweet, sweet feeling.

35 Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings October 25, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Love the 1/2 marathon recap! You did awesome and we both had close times for our races last weekend! I’m glad they had a great course for you too ;)

36 Amanda @RunToTheFinish October 25, 2012 at 3:13 pm

wooooot you rocked that gear girl!! I am so glad we got to meet this weekend. I love some of the pictures you took during the race, it was so hard to capture just how pretty it was!!

37 Sabrina @Work It Ms Jackson October 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm

WAY TO GO! I’m glad you had such an awesome race! I love reading your race recaps, and how do you take these pictures during your race?

38 Diana Amy October 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm

YAY for having such a great experience – I always maintain that if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong. I am jealous of your weekend & definitely want to partake in the race next year!

39 Jess October 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm

YEAHHHHHH for getting your runner’s mojo back!!! I knew ‘she’ was lurking in there somewhere. Rock on my friend! So proud of you!!

40 Brittany @Berries and Barbells October 25, 2012 at 5:38 pm

I’m SO glad you had such an awesome race! I’ve only run one race (a half marathon just a few weeks ago) but it was one of the best experiences of my life.

41 Lisa McLaen October 25, 2012 at 8:40 pm

What a great story, really inspiring!!! I can’t wait to say that I’ve run a half marathon!

42 Michele @ Nycrunningmama October 25, 2012 at 10:33 pm

YAY on the mojo!! Congrats on a great race, Tina!! =)

43 Bek @ Crave October 26, 2012 at 8:08 am

Love your outfit. Great job on the time! I’m so happy for you :)

44 Megan @ Fiterature October 26, 2012 at 11:36 am

In a race, I look for beautiful or unique scenery, great spectator support, and an organized staff. Oh, and a beer tent with a free beer for runners!!!!

45 Christine @ Love, Life, Surf October 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Nothing feels as good as getting your mojo back!! Congrats! I too was following all the tweets and Instagram pics from the weekend and it looked like you all had so much fun. What a great group to hang with for the weekend. And I love the Oakley gear!

46 jobo October 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm

awesome job!!! that looks like a really great event and I loved seeing all the pics of the weekend and reading your recap. A happy strong run. Congrats!

47 Karen October 30, 2012 at 11:03 am

Congrats on a great race Tina!! It was great to see you that weekend!

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