So I have to be honest. Writing a review after a race that didn’t go so well is not nearly as fun as writing one after a race that was fun and felt amazing. But reviews are supposed to be honest, so I am going to share my thoughts and experiences from this year’s Hillbilly Half Marathon (formerly known as the Franklin Half Marathon). First of all let’s address the name change. They changed it because of the heckling hillbillies that surprised runners in last years marathon. The video of the hecklers went viral and was viewed over 3 million times on You Tube and Facebook. Although the video is funny, I am not sure I’m used to the new name.
This is the 4th year for this half marathon and I have done it every year. It is by far the hardest half marathon I have ever done. It is always my slowest time in any half I do. Typically in the fall I do 3-4 half marathons and I run anywhere between a 1:33 and a 1:37. With this marathon I have never ran under a 1:40. My times in the first three were a 1:40, 1:42, and1:41. (But I had won my age group all three years which meant it is hard for everyone) When I signed up I thought this may just be the year that I break that threshold. I was coming off of my Boston Marathon high and sometimes running a half after a full makes it seem easier because it is a shorter distance than I have been running. Plus, I put a lot of cross training in for Boston and I thought that may help.
The down side going in was that I was alone, none of my friends went and that makes it rather boring. The other downside was the humidity was awful. Rain was on its way in and the air was thick! I went on and headed that way bright and early Saturday morning. One of the first things I noticed, other than the misery of the hills, was that I was really bored. Maybe it was coming off of Boston which was such high energy and exciting, but I was just flat out bored. I missed the energy of a crowd, I like that. At this race there really aren’t any spectators. Plus I had no one to talk to before, so I knew I had no one to look for after. I didn’t have a lot of motivation to push myself so I tried to keep a consistent and steady pace. There was a hill at mile 5 that when you looked up at it, made you feel like you were going mountain climbing. I timed how far of a distance it was to the top and it was about 1.2 miles before it leveled out. It was crazy!
Well I have to say I definitely didn’t accomplish my goal which was to break that 1:40 for this race, in fact it was my worst time not only at this race but in probably over a decade. I ran a 1:44, but placed 2nd in my age group. So again I told myself that never again will I run this race. But I say that every year, and every year I do it. It’s a challenge for sure, and I know it makes me stronger. I just don’t know if I can drive all the way there alone again to make myself participate. (Check with me next Spring!)
The race was very organized and there was plenty of water stops. The post race food was ok, there were chocolate chunk cookies and chocolate milk so I was satisfied! Parking was easy and the race was very reasonably priced.
For now I am taking one run at a time because it is pretty rough out there in the heat and humidity. I will start training for the Memphis full September 1st and will do several half marathons in the fall. I am definitely looking forward to fall running already and it’s not even July!