ODDyssey Half Marathon Race Recap

Steps to a successful half marathon:

1. Dress for Success

2. Bring a Friend

3. Keep the goal in mind.

What!? We needed to hydrate!

The morning of the ODDyssey started off as usual.  5:30AM wake-up call, smacking the snooze button, and wondering why I can’t find a hobby that lets me sleep in on weekends.  But despite my strong desire to be doing anything else, I figured if I was going to run 13 miles, running in costume with my best friend and promises of beer at the finish was about as good as it was gonna get.   I rallied, had my standard pre-run Cliff Bar and banana, grabbed Heather and our Togas and walked out the door. 

Heather and I have a nice little system going.  I come up with ideas and she figures out how to execute them.  So even though she was out of town, when I texted her days before our race suggesting we go with the Greek Oddyssey theme and “Be goddesses or wear togas or something” I knew she would pull through.  She managed to turn a few “borrowed” hotel sheets, some safety pins, and some random Christmas garland I found in a cabinet into the awesome costumes pictured above.  She’s my crafting hero.  Don’t worry, I repay her in banana bread and freshly juiced mimosas.  And with my winning personality.  Naturally.

Per my costume designer’s suggestion, we got to the race a few minutes early and assembled our sheets togas by the side of my car.  Then we made friends in the porta-potty line and headed over to the start to realize that the race had just begun.  Oops!  Luckily our times don’t register until we cross the start line.  So without the typical pre-race fanfare we looked at eachother, shrugged, and started running.

We had decided ahead of time to ditch our watches and time goals and run the race together.  Best idea ever!  Now there’s a time and a place to push yourself and go for a new PR but there’s also a time and place to spend two hours with your best friend in toga.  I almost forgot we were running!

The only disappointment of the race were obstacles.  There was “Life-sized Janga” which was actually “slightly larger than the one you’re used to Janga,” A bouncy castle fit for a child’s birthday party, and two guys throwing water balloons which we managed to avoid by putting on our best “don’t even think about it stares” (White togas and running with iPhones? No thank you!) The only diversion worth our attention was a somewhat-cool photo booth which Heather was happy to discover was located next to a porta-potty with no line. 

Luckily the company and the race course made up for it.  We ran through scenic Fairmount Park and spent a little time on Kelly drive with views of the water.  The course wasn’t too repetitive or boring and with the exception of the hill at mile 12 it was relatively painless.  We checked out the other costumes (deciding ours was the best), talked about the new apartment we found (update: we found a new apartment.  It’s awesome.  Details to follow), and motivated ourselves with thoughts of finish line beer.

I’ll spare you the mile by mile recap, mostly because the mile markers were hard to spot so the whole thing kind of ran together in my mind.  However, by mile 12 we were hungry and ready to stop running and the mile long hill that was worse than the hill at my marathon wasn’t helping.  Luckily, around 12.5 we got just the boost we needed.  A woman ran up next to us saying she wanted to thank us for motivating her through her race.  After looking confused (a look that both of us are pretty used to having) she explained that she had wanted to slow down for the past 5 miles but made a commitment to “keep the toga girls in sight” and that without us she would have run a much slower race.  (Insert something inspirational and cliché about the power of the running community and making friends out of strangers).  But on a serious note, we did think it was pretty cool and decided it was definitely blog worthy. 

Another common element of races is that there is no better sight than the finish line.  We saw it, picked up the pace, and crossed in just over 2:04.  Without a watch or any clocks at the mile markers, we had absolutely no idea what our finish time would be.  It was a fun change to run at our own pace with no regard for time.  Obviously we could (and probably would) have pushed the pace, but considering the photo-op stop and our relaxed attitude, I’d say it was a pretty successful race!  The only disappointment was that our awesome finish line pose (holding hands above us in victory) managed to go by un-captured on the photo website.  Weak!

You know what isn’t week?

In case you were wondering, beer after a half marathon IS as good as it sounds.  Not just any beer, custom brewed “Recovery Ale” by Triumph Brewery . We run in style

So there you go, one more medal to add to the collection!  Next race on the agenda? Philly Marathon!  But that’s not until November so I MAY get the urge to sign up for something sooner.  Any suggestions??