Monday, December 6, 2010

Nittany Valley 1/2 Marathon

27th annual this past Sunday and last year was the first I heard about this race, I even went to school at PSU and never heard of it. It's a very low key race with entry fees of $18 that included chip timing and a long sleeve tee shirt. Not too shabby.

Weather that day called for a high of 38 degrees but it was going to be a lot colder in Happy Valley. The nice thing about this race is the 10am start time. I'm sure a lot of the 600 entries don't live in the immediate area. Taking about 1 1/2 hours to drive up there, my buddy Keith and I left about 6:45. We were one of the first people there. I was third in line to grab my goodie bag which consisted of a reusable shopping bag (although it was an advertisement for Schick Razors). The car read 25 degrees with some snow flurries so we immediately went back to the car and sat there trying to keep warm for about an hour. 9:35 rolls around and we get out and do a warm up lap. Just bitter cold, and windy.

We lined up around 9:50 and 10:05 everyone started running. Not really a 'go' or even a bull horn siren. I ran the race last year so I was familiar with the course. My game plan was to run 7:45 - 8 minute miles the first half and pick it up a little bit the second half. My buddy Keith agreed with this plan. Mile one was 7:36. A little fast but aren't all first miles fast? Second mile was 7:06 and I could tell Keith wanted to pick it up even more. I let him go. I found out he averaged about a 7 minute mile. Dick.

The course is one giant loop out to the State College airport and back around it. The first half of the course is pretty flat but as soon as you pass the airport, the hills start. Mile 7-8.5 is all downhill. Fast. I tried to hold myself back as to not blow out my quads. I hit mile 8 right at 1 hour. I think that's a 7:30 pace.

After the long downhill, we ran along a creek for about a mile then the uphills started. I struggled up the steepest one just barely plotting along. I came to the top of the hill and tried to pick it up again. A slight downhill and we were at mile 10. I came to a makeshift water stop and saw a sign that said "Water, PBR, Lager" I opted for the PBR. The carbonation tasted great and I could have probably had more than the 3-4 oz that were in the cup but regretted it about 1/2 mile down the road. Luckily the pain went away quickly and it was just one more long uphill to go. As I said, there were about 600 ppl entered but going up that last hill there was a guy about 30 seconds in front of me and one 30 seconds behind me with one volunteer 1/2 way up clapping. Plus, the wind was right in my face. I did notice the sweat drops freezing on the brim of my hat. That's how cold it was.

The finish was about 3/4 mile from the top of the hill and I could sense the person gaining on me. I picked it up and finished strong running past JoePa's statue and thru the finish line with a new PR of 1:40.27. Last year my time was 1:51.

Having only paid $18 entry fee, I knew there were no ammenties at the finish. I grabbed two bottles of water and Keith and I went back to his car. We went to the PSU Creamery. Best ice cream ever. I purchased 3 - 1/2 gallons and a cone of ice cream for my post run snack. (one 1/2 gallon was for my sister) After devouring the ice cream we went downtown to do some PSU clothing shopping. Driving thru campus it amazed me how many new buildings there were. Huge, modern looking buildings that just towered over the smaller ones that are 100+ years old. Kinda made me sad.

I had some blister problems around mile 12 but the pressure didn't hit me till last night. Look what I found!

That got popped real quick!

And two more pictures... The new family photo shoot...

Had to put two good ones in here after that blister shot!


  1. YAY for PR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! awesome.

    oh & the hairy toes are h o t. ;)

  2. If I complete the Cherry Blossom 10 mile run I am hoping to do at least a half next year! :)