Lake Placid Half Marathon Report

>> Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We're back! Did you miss us? We missed you all for sure. Now, as most of you know, the absence of posting for the past couple days hasn't been because we're lazy. Nope. We were in the Adirondacks -- without internet for almost three entire days -- for the Lake Placid Marathon/Half Marathon. We both ran the half -- randomly signing up one day after visiting the race website and discovering the race is the #2 Best Destination Race in the US -- mostly as a three-day weekend fun thing to do. More on that in another post.

Anyway, most of the ride up was rainy and foggy. So, we were a little concerned that our getaway was going to be more hassle than fun. We couldn't see the tops of most of those mountains we loved so much on our trip to Lake George last year. Originally we had decided to camp at a nearby KOA. But at the last minute, the National Sports Academy announced they had rooms available for only $65 a night! We snagged one up for two nights -- and boy are we happy we did. Our place was one block to the lake. One block to the race. One block to EVERYTHING.

The best part: We didn't have to use Porta-Johns!

Cleanliness and convenience are two entirely different issues, however. It was kind of like camping indoors -- but with a super friendly staff and hearty (and free!) breakfast. I took some time to do a little yoga on Saturday afternoon, but didn't want my bare feet to touch the ground (and I'm no princess, so -- yeah -- it was dirty).

Would we stay there again? YES.

The race attracts about 1,500 marathon and 1,500 half marathon runners. Most seemed to be up upstate NY, but there was a good mix of others in there, too. I noticed a ton of Team in Training folks -- all were extremely supportive of each other and other runners. Basically, it was a good group . . . and a good mix of beginners and advanced runners.

Here's the course map and elevation:

We both especially enjoyed the course because it started with a nice loop around Mirror Lake (in Lake Placid, most people don't actually stay/visit Lake Placid. Instead, Mirror Lake -- which is a hop, skip, and jump away -- is the main event). The rest of the course was an out-and-back with dramatic mountain peaks in the distance. Luckily for us, Saturday's fog gave way to some clearer skies on Sunday, so we could actually enjoy the views. Stephen even saw a huge snapping turtle on his run.

The elevation of the course is something on which Stephen and I both disagree. I felt like the majority of the course was flat and pretty easy. He felt the hills. Of course, we BOTH felt that last hill leading to the finish. In fact, I even walked for about thirty seconds on this hill. It wasn't from the difficulty, actually. It was because some guy behind me started telling his friends how he almost "died" on the hill last year. How his "heart was beating out of his chest" it was so hard. And how he "just couldn't keep going." These words echoed in my head, and mentally I just couldn't take it. Thing is -- the hill WAS NOT DIFFICULT. I was well prepared for it.

So, let this be a lesson to you all: Tune out negative people. Just tune them out entirely.

So, how'd we do? Pretty well, I'd say. Stephen finished in a blindingly fast time of 1:22:08. He was 9th overall (of, again, around 1,500). He didn't get a PR this race, but we both think our never-ended cycle of racing might have something to do with that. Since we're just beginning our new schedule for marathon training (we wrote about that last Friday), we're taking this week easy to recharge. I finished in 1:46:31, 178th overall -- beating my Lehigh Valley time by more than 20 seconds, another PR. And if I didn't stop to walk on that hill, who knows! I could have been in 1:45 territory.

After the race, we headed back to our room to shower and change. Then we walked back over to the race where more half marathoners were finishing. We even returned just in time to see the marathon winner cross the finish line. The female winner wasn't too terribly far behind either!

We took some time to take advantage of the mountain lakes after the race, using them as a sort of ice bath. The water was around 62 degrees, so -- it was certainly chilly, but also oh-so therapeutic. While we were wading around, we saw a ton of swimmers and triathletes (Lake Placid hosts a half and full Ironman event in July) training their hearts out. And that was really what struck us so much about the whole town: EVERYONE was training or moving around. It was inspiring.

Then later that afternoon, the town was completely overtaken by limping runners proudly wearing their medals and eat everything in sight (more on what we ate and drank later today!). We shopped around a bit and toured a couple breweries. After dinner, we met a fellow half marathon finisher and her mom at one of the downtown parks. It was her first race, and she was incredibly excited to have finished. She even snapped a photo of us, so we just had to reciprocate.

What an awesome post-race glow!

I also found this video on YouTube. It's long, but in the beginning and middle, you can catch Stephen's crazy-fast strides (he's in the front of the race lineup wearing the blue shirt and black shorts).

So, that's what we did this weekend. How about you? Any runs or races to report? Any good eats you'd like to share? Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com. And we'll be sure to share more from our weekend in upcoming posts.

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