Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hershey 10k

Sunday morning hubby and I got up early to run the inaugural Hershey 10k.  Last month I looked at upcoming races and found this.  We've been running races for a few years now and we're currently trying to find fun ones to do.  As this one goes through Hershey Park itself, we thought this would fit the bill.

So, what is early?  Well, I got up at 4:35 a.m.  That's early folks.  I don't care what anyone says, 4:35 a.m. is early.  For the past few days we carefully watched weather.com hoping against hope that the forecast for rain would be inaccurate.  It wasn't.  When I woke up it was raining.  Bah!  But, I got dressed and ate some peanut butter and crackers and we headed off about 5:25 a.m. (still early).

We arrived much earlier than I thought we would (my bad!), but it gave us time to get our stuff together and find bathrooms.  I have to give it to the race organizers, they opened the Hershey Stadium bathrooms and we all huddled under the bleachers using it to stay dry and to avoid the port-a-potties!

About 6:40 a.m. (still early) we headed to the start line.  We had hoped the rain decided to stop. Nope.  But, we headed to the start line anyway.  As we left the shelter of the stadium, we ran into a runner friend Amy and two of her friends who were running.  It was nice to have people to talk to at the start, as hubby always starts further up than I since he is faster.

We chatted about races we had run and ones we might be interested in running...and then we were walking to the start.  And I mean it just like that.  All of a sudden people were moving.  No gun.  No music.  No horn.  Very odd.  Apparently it was 7:00 a.m. (still early). But, I did get to see Ronald McDonald as I crossed the start line.

So, we're off.  I'm a tad nervous since the ground was wet from rain and I'm not all that coordinated.  We headed off down the outside road for the Hershey Park parking lot leading to the Giant Center (home of the Hershey Bears - Bears! Bears! Bears! Woo!).  We came around a bend and went over to Hershey Park Drive, which runs along the road we had just run upon.  This road had a bit of a hilliness to it that I wasn't anticipating.  I've been to Hershey Park and Hershey Park Arena and Giant Center for years.  Had no idea it was so hilly!  See how different roads are when you run then rather than take the car?

Hershey Park Drive took us past Giant Center, Chocolate World, the Hershey Park Stadium, then the outlets.  Just past the outlets we made a right and made our way back to the park.  While the hills were there, I was feeling ok.  Which surprised me as I haven't really run more than 4 miles in the last 2 weeks.  I will say I was sorely disappointed when I passed Dunkin Donuts and it wasn't open.  :-(

This road led us into Hershey Park itself.  We came in a side entrance near Storm Runner.  I will say, the number of volunteers on the course in general was great!  I had no idea what I was doing in the park, but there were tons of cones and people to direct.  The only part of the park I wasn't a fan of honestly was the Boardwalk area.  It was slick and the surface nothing I was used to.  I really thought I would slide and fall.  I'm honestly very glad I had a walk break coincide with this area.  I haven't really seen the Boardwalk area much before so I was excited to see a big ole sign for Atlantic City and Wildwood, NJ.  Makes a Jersey girl happy.

From the boardwalk area we headed to the main gates to exit the park.  I knew once we left the park there wasn't much left to the race, but I couldn't remember how far from the gates to the finish.  I was really kinda confused when heading out towards Chocolate World.  But, volunteers were there again and pointed us towards the parking lot.  This was probably the most boring part of the race - run through the parking lot, turn around in the tram area, and head back to the Stadium.

I ran back towards the Stadium and then we were directed away from the Stadium and towards the old Arena.  Ugh.  A. It was uphill and B. it was away from the Stadium.  But, it wasn't too far and I headed towards the stadium.  I, along with everyone I've heard, said the last kilometer (yes, kilometer) marker was mismarked.  It may have been.  I'm a bad judge of distance.  But, I rounded the corner and saw the finish line.  We ran along the track, passing two sets of photographers, and I crossed the finish line!

I saw my time on the electronic board above my head say 1:18:-- (gun time).  I was slightly disappointed as I wanted to come in under 1:18:00, but I was happy.  When I trained for my first half marathon, my 6 mile time was 1:24:00.  Not too shabby for a year.  I found the hubby and we again got our photo taken.  A few moments later I saw my friend Amy cross the line and we went over to congratulate her.

After the race we tried to get into the Cocoa Diner, but it was packed.  We settled for McDonald's.  Had a nice yummy breakfast of pancakes, hash brown, and coffee.  The rest of the day was lazy for all involved.  LOL!  But, I did find out my official chip time - 1:17:53.  :-)  I was happy.

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