Now that you’ve all read about how beautiful Lake Placid is here and here, its time for the reason I was there: the Lake Placid Half Marathon! Actually, the race was a full marathon and also a half but all the runners started together at the start.
The morning of the race was pretty uneventful. The great thing about a destination race is that the hotel was 5 minutes away from the start. No long early morning subway ride this time.. yay! The weather at the 8am start was perfect.. I love the cool mountain air.
My dad dropped me at the start, which was on the old Olympic speed skating oval (it also served as the finish line). I did all my PT stretches, got loose, stood on line for a porta potty, and headed to the start line right on Main Street.
Now, if you are a NYer or have ever run a NYRR races you will know they have a corral system based on anticipated pace. This race had none of that and was just “faster people in the front, slower in the back.” I was pretty nervous about this because the corral system usually works for me, but then again this race only had 2,500 people. There was a little congestion in the first mile or so down Main Street because some cars were parked on the side of the road, but after that it cleared up and I had no problems.
The race was an out-and-back course with one loop for the half marathoners and two loops for the marathoners. It started with running down Main Street, past the Olympic Center, and around Mirror Lake in a clockwise direction (~miles 1-3). I loved the view at this point: lake and mountains!.
After we looped around Mirror Lake, we ran down basically the one main exit road out of Lake Placid (its a small town) towards the Olympic ski jump facility (~miles 3-5). This was near the hotel we stayed in and where my dad was waiting to see me. He was able to snap some photos of me running!
We went down a big hill during miles 4-5, which was great at the time until I realized we were going to have to run back UP that thing. More on hills in a bit. After we passed the ski jump facility we made a left hand turn onto River Rd, a local road that runs right next to… you guessed it… a river (~miles 5-10)! But first we ran past what was basically farmland, complete with horses.
After we passed the horses and farms, the trees were abundant and the river appeared next to us. The shade throughout the course was fantastic and really wonderful, but especially during this chunk of the race. Even as the temperature rose slightly, I was not overheating at all because of the breeze, low humidity, and the trees!
Just before mile 8 we reached a turnaround on River Rd and headed back the way we came towards the town of Lake Placid. We ran through the trees again, past the farmland, and back towards the ski jump before turning right on our way back.
After turning right, we headed back the way we came on the main exit road (~miles 10-12). Yes, we had to go UP that hill I mentioned earlier. Since I was walking by this point, it wasn’t horrible for me but most of the runners near me also started walking. It was so steep I couldn’t blame anyone.
Around mile 12 I decided I would run the last mile to the finish since my knee wasn’t horrible, but that didn’t happen for other reasons: MORE HILLS. The last 3/4-1/2 mile or so was basically one giant hill that never ended. I don’t think I saw a single person run up them, unless they had magic legs. This had to be the most challenging set of hills I’ve ever come across, they put Harlem hills in Central Park to shame. Yes, I said it and its true! But it made for a good challenge, I only wish they had come earlier in the race when my legs weren’t jelly.
After getting to the top of the hills, we made a loop around the speed skating oval and across the finish line where they announced everyone’s name! After the race they had water, massages, and food for the runners. The food was incredible: veggie wraps, egg wraps, cookies, oranges, Nature Valley bars, Fiber One brownies, donuts, and PIZZA. Usually I get a bagel and apple so this was amazing.
How did I do?
If you read my blog you know I’ve been battling IT Band Syndrome for a few months now. This race helped me realize that it IS getting better! I was able to run about 9.5 miles before I was unable to anymore because of pain. 9.5 miles!! During the BK Half I only ran about 6.5-7.5 miles but had some pain leading up to that. In this race I felt so much better. Yay!
I ended up walking after mile 9.5 to about mile 12.75 and ran the rest to the finish. Towards the beginning of the race I was on pace to finish sub-2 (ah!) but the knee pain stopped me from completing that. At least I know I’m capable of doing it in the future. I ended up finishing in 2:22, which I am pretty happy with. Plus, I had a great time which is most important!
My favorite parts of the race:
- Scenery: one word to describe it… AMAZING!
- Course: I loved running through Main St, around Mirror Lake, and on scenic River Rd. The mountains were always in view. The hills were a challenge though so beware!
- Aid Stations: The volunteers and aid stations were fantastic. There were so many aid stations and all of them had lots of goodies: pretzels, gels, oranges, bananas, Fig Newtons, and granola bars. I only had oranges and my chomps (because I was afraid to eat things I don’t normally eat), but if I run this again I’m eating some!
- Local race with not-so-local entrants: I loved the local feeling (all the food, the small runner field) but there were international runners and from all over the US! They also announce everyone’s name as they cross the finish, which I loved.
Overall: I LOVED this race and would run it again in a heartbeat