This time of year always reminds me of the Long Island Half Marathon race weekend. While obviously, the races are postponed for this weekend, and even though I wasn’t planning to run a race anyway, the races still hold a place in my heart.
Recently while running, I gave thought to the four Long Island Half Marathons I’ve run (plus the 10K in 2018) which led me to think about my top favorite races of all time. And that is how we arrived at today’s post.
I had some fun with selecting the first five races to come to mind as my most favorite races. Although my running has evolved over the last few years away from distance running and races, that doesn’t mean I’ve lost sight of my accomplishments. I’m proud of the races I’ve run and the time I’ve put into running. A runner never forgets!
I can’t say this list of top five favorite races is in any particular order. That wouldn’t be fair. Each race was different and chosen as a favorite race for a different reason.
Hershey Park Half Marathon 2012: My First Half Marathon
I mean, how could I not think of my first ever half marathon at Hershey Park? There’s nothing like that first half marathon feeling if you ask me. I didn’t start my blog until a few months after my first half marathon but I did eventually create a race recap so that I would have it. I remember standing there with the giant Hershey’s Bar right before the race started. I must have been nervous right? It’s as if I don’t remember that part although I do remember eating oatmeal with coffee in the hotel prior to heading to the race. I don’t think I had a time goal for this half marathon and I’m not even sure that I knew that a time finish under two hours was a big deal but I did it – 1:53: 37. My first half is my slowest half but still a top favorite.
Long Island Half Marathon 2013: My First Long Island Half Marathon
I loved this half marathon (it was my third half marathon) for a few reasons which still stand out. Those first several miles just flew by, my cousin ran the half too, and the Islanders were playing in a playoff game at noon against the Penguins.
The start of the racecourse passed right by the Coliseum which definitely gave things some extra excitement. I remember seeing Islanders fans lining the route and the energy was visible.
This race became my PR half which I didn’t break for a few more years. I remember my dad met me at the finish line with my son and we stopped at the diner on the way home.
Long Island Half Marathon 2016: My Current Half Marathon PR
While I did run this Long Island Half Marathon four years in a row, it wasn’t until the 2016 Long Island Half that I beat my time from 2013. I followed a training plan from Laura for this race which was the first time I ever followed a training plan or worked with a running coach. Working with Laura definitely prepared me beyond my usual preparedness. I remember it was a really overcast and misty morning, which was actually perfect running conditions! The miles ticked by the way we planned for them to pass and even though I was totally tired after mile 10, I finished as strong as possible. 1:45:18 remains my half marathon PR —-because I haven’t run a half marathon since. 🙂
Long Beach 5 Mile Race 2013: The First Time I Placed For Age
I’m choosing the first of many races in Long Beach as my favorite because I randomly ran this 5-mile race on Labor Day in 2013. Somehow, I placed second for my age and received a trophy while standing on stage at the finish line. I was not at all expecting that! I signed up for the race at the last minute. It was so super hot on the boardwalk and I was in the city the day before eating sushi and ice cream which combined for not exactly being prepared.
I remember my first mile being WAY too fast. The mile clock said something like 6:52 and I just knew and felt as though it was way too fast for me to be running at that point. Ever since this race, I learned to at least try to not start a race so fast! It’s much better (as we know) to start on the slower side and get faster as the race moves on rather than risk burning out at the beginning of a race.
As hot as all of the races in Long Beach have been, I do love running on the boardwalk. I really hope they open the boardwalk soon so I can get back down there. Not even for a race, just for my own leisurely runs that I like to do in the summer on my own. It’s something I keep thinking about. I really want to run on the boardwalk this summer!
Runner’s World Hat Trick Challenge 2014
Of course, the Runner’s World hat trick weekend made my list. How many people can say that they ran a 5K, followed shortly after by a 10K, and then a half marathon the next day? I’m so glad I participated in this race weekend. It was a lot of fun!
So if I had to pick a favorite race from the Runner’s World Hat Trick race weekend, it would likely be the half marathon. I remember feeling great, even on the hills, and even after running two races the day before. I didn’t run any of the races at a race pace. I tried really hard to treat the races as if they were routine runs yet still, the energy of a race still brings an intensity that is very different from a daily run around your neighborhood. I’m really proud of what I accomplished over this race weekend!
Current Runner Thoughts:
Sometimes I wonder why runners run so much. Like, why are you running every day? Why are you running so many miles at a time, every time? Why can’t you take a day off? Why not select a different type of workout? And then, in the next thought, I get dressed to head out to run 10 miles on a whim. Only a runner randomly decides to run 10 miles on a whim.
Of course, I still understand the crazy runner mindset although I’ve definitely evolved away from running as much as I once did. I’ve learned that I like to do less and that I like other workouts too.
While longer runs and even running four days a week is almost rare for me, I’m still a runner. I can still chat running with anyone who understands running shoe rotations, long-run preparations, and PR goals. A race though? Physically, I’m up for it at any time, it’s the mental desire to put the time and effort into training that’s kinda missing. I recently told my boyfriend that should he want to run a half marathon, or even a marathon, I would do it with him. That would motivate me to run a race, should he want to run one. His response, which involved reminding me that he doesn’t even want to drive 13 miles at a time, put an end to the training before it started.
So far now, this text conversation below while I was out running my 10 miles on a whim is the closest I will come to a race atmosphere in the near future. Like I always say, no need for a race when you can run around your neighborhood or on the treadmill. You are still a runner.
Of Possible Interest: