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Middlebury Maple Run Half Marathon Race Recap

Yesterday, I ran my 18th (whoa) half marathon: the Middlebury Maple Run in Vermont!

middlebury maple run

It’s totally insane to me that I’ve done so many half marathons – I still remember running 6 miles for the first time ever back in 2009 when I was training for my first Army Ten Miler. It’s amazing what your body (and mind) can get used to – and how much I’ve come to love the longer races. No matter how long the race, crossing that finish line always feels amazing, but I especially love the special form of endorphin wasted that the half marathon and above distances produce. :)

As you guys know, I was in Vermont for the race thanks to my friends at Cabot! I’ve been a member of their Cabot Fit Team twice before (both times for the Beach to Beacon 10k in Maine), so it was an honor to be part of the team again! Cabot is one of my favorite brands – not only do I love their cheese, but the passion their team (both the marketing staff and the farmers) shows for their work is really inspiring.

Joining me for this year’s adventure was (from left below):

MY OTHER RECIPES
 

cabot fit team bloggers

Awesome group of fellow fit foodies! We had a great time together. :)

cabot fit team 2016

The Middlebury Maple Run is affectionately known as the “sweetest half” and has earned a reputation for being well-organized and friendly. It did not disappoint! It was fun doing a smaller race after so many huge ones in DC lately, too. The race started at 9 and we were able to leave our Inn around 8:15 – hooray for being well rested! For breakfast, the adorable Swift House Inn where we were staying was nice enough to open a little early for us. I had my usual pre-run staple: toast with nut butter (I brought that packet of Justin’s maple almond butter from home) and a sliced banana.

pre-race breakfast

It was a gray and drizzly morning – bummer after the weather was 60 and sunny on Saturday – but we were all still excited and ready to run. :)

middlebury maple run

Best van ever – never gets old!

cabot plaid van

As you guys know, I found out I’d be running this race on Monday (one of the original Cabot Fit Team members scheduled to run this year, Brianne, unfortunately broke her foot, so they asked if I was able to join last minute), but thanks to a winter/spring of racing (the Charleston Half Marathon in January, the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon in March and the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in April) I was more or less trained up. I heard the race was hilly, though, and I hadn’t done a long run since Cherry Blossom a month ago, so I planned to keep the pace casual and run for fun, enjoying the sights. :)

I lined up a little ahead of the 9 minute mile pace sign with a couple Cabot friends who were joining for the race – Nick, a Cabot employee who I met on one of the previous Cabot Fit trips, and his friend Adam. The Middlebury Maple Run offers a 2 person relay option for the half marathon and they were both doing the relay and would be hopping out around mile 7. I figured if their pace was similar to mine we could run together until then!

And we’re off!

middlebury maple run half marathon

Nick, Adam, and I settled in to a comfortable pace and started chatting away. It was fun to run with them and the chatter made the miles go by really quickly!

middlebury maple run

Running with the guys had me running a little faster than I’d planned (closer to 8:30 min/miles vs. 9), but I felt good and was enjoying their company so I rolled with it.

middlebury maple run course

  • Mile 1: 8:26
  • Mile 2: 8:33
  • Mile 3: 8:48
  • Mile 4: 8:39

This course was pretty hilly – rolling hills basically the entire way – and I started feeling a little tired around mile 5, which was an especially hilly mile, but did my best to focus on the views and conversation instead of the hills. :)

middlebury maple run half marathon

One of the things I really liked about this race was that a lot of it was on beautiful country roads – a mix of pavement and hard-packed dirt roads. On a clear day, the views of the mountains would have been insane, but even with the clouds it was still really pretty.

I was also impressed that there was some crowd support given how rural the race was – this guy in costume below was especially awesome, and there were a lot of people outside their homes cheering, too. Thank you to them – and to the volunteers – for being out there to support us, especially in the rain!

middlbury maple run crowd support

Awesome to see some of our Cabot friends out cheering for us, too! Just before mile 6 we all crossed the street (hence some people being on the other side in the photo below and us all being out of sync) and saw Caisil from Cabot cheering us on and snapping some pictures!

middlebury maple run cabot fit

Around mile 6.5 we arrived back at Middlebury College, which was where the relay switch off would take place.

middlebury college run

I said farewell to the gentlemen, thanked them for keeping me company for the first 7 miles of the race, and forged on on my own.

  • Mile 5: 9:04
  • Mile 6: 8:42
  • Mile 7: 9:12

middlebury running

Mile 7 was a bit rough because all the fresh relay racers busted in and left us half marathoners in the dust – I had to remind myself not to try to keep up with them or else I’d burn out! I busied myself with starting to eat my Huma gel – yay, caffeine. I ate this slowly from about mile 7 to mile 11!

huma gel lemonade review

A little while later and we were back to the country roads – my fave.

middlebury maple run

The second half of the race was especially cool because a big chunk of it was an out and back, which meant we got to cheer on the runners going the other way! It wasn’t long before the super speedy leaders came flying back past us – fun to cheer them on to distract myself from the hills!

  • Mile 8: 8:39
  • Mile 9: 9:02
  • Mile 10: 9:14

middlebury maple run scenery

One of my favorite parts of the race was when we ran by all these horses! They had cute little blanket jackets on and a few of them started racing along next to us. You win this round, horses. ;)

middlebury horses

I loved all the old barns on this part of the course, too!

middlebury maple run scenery

What goes up must come back down – hooray! It was fun to cheer on a bunch of my fellow Cabot Fit runners that went by the other way – in addition to the blogger group there were a number of Cabot farmers and employees that also joined us for the race. Loved seeing their red shirts out on the course and cheering them on! Also, hi to the blog reader who said hello as we passed each other later on in the race! :)

middlebury maple run hill

Yay – mile 12! Love the last mile of a race – always so exciting. :)

  • Mile 11: 9:01
  • Mile 12: 9:00

P5010043

I gave myself a goal to get back under a 9 minute mile for the last mile of the race – success! By the time I got close to the finish I was feeling really good and kicked it up a little more. So close!

middlebury maple run finish

  • Mile 13: 8:47
  • 0.2 mile (according to watch) nubbin pace: 7:40

Kelly from Cabot was near the finish line and snagged a couple fun action shots of me right before finishing – yay! Big smiles. :)

middlebury maple run finish

middlebury maple run finish

    Hello, finish line! I hadn’t really been paying attention to the overall time on my watch (or my average pace) so I was really surprised to see 1:56 on the clock – that was faster than I thought I’d be! Nice!

middlebury maple run finish

Aren’t these medals pretty? So unique – made from wood!

middlebury maple run medals

middlebury maple run race medal

Official finish time: 1:56:44 for an 8:55 minute/mile pace.

I felt awesome after the race – hello, endorphins! – and I also knew I had a pancake breakfast to look forward to! I put some layers on to stay warm (brrrrr it was cold once I stopped moving and thanks to being wet from the rain) and headed over to the finish line tent, where volunteers were serving up pancakes for all the runners. Awesome! Every race should do this. :)

middlebury maple run pancakes

I snagged a little of everything and met up with some of the other Cabot Fit ladies at a table in the back. Love that they had maple water – and of course pure maple syrup and Cabot butter for the pancakes!

middlebury maple run breakfast

Hit the spot! I also had a donut once we got back to the car a little later. :) Our Cabot friends had picked up some locally made donuts the night before – yum!!

vermont donuts

After showering I hit up the local Middlebury Food Co-op grocery store with Roni (who also did the whole half marathon vs. the relay) and hit the salad bar as a late lunch. Balance FTW. :) This was followed up by a cheese tasting – more on that to come tomorrow!

middlebury coop grocery store

What a fun race! Even with the rain I had a great time out there. I can only imagine how beautiful this course would be in the sun! Highly recommend it if you’re looking for a small, low key, well organized, and friendly destination race. :)

I think one of the really cool things about this race was realizing that my casual/comfortable pace has gotten faster. I was expecting to finish a super hilly race that I wasn’t doing for speed in about 2 hours or so and was really surprised when I ended up finishing in 1:56. Those track workouts must be paying off. :)

P5010048

Another huge thank you to Cabot for having me this weekend and for covering my travel, accommodation, and race fees! Congratulations to all my fellow Cabot Fit runners – proud of all of you. :)

I flew back to DC last night and was sad to miss out on the final night of festivities with the others – totally should have stayed but needed to get back to work since I’ve been traveling so much lately. Better get back after it – I’ll be back tomorrow to recap the rest of the weekend! Stay tuned for cute cow pictures. :)

Who else raced (or ran!) this weekend? I know the Broad Street Run in Philly and the Pittsburgh Half/Full Marathon were also going on in the rain yesterday – anyone run them? I ran the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in 2014 with Matt and my brother and some friends and enjoyed it, although that was another tough/hilly course with all the bridges!

p.s. I usually get this question, so – I got photos during this race using my waterproof point and shoot camera (I use it as my main travel camera – takes great pictures, including underwater)! I usually use a lightweight point and shoot camera for racing but since it was raining I had to break out the bigger one. :) I think it’s way easier to get non-blurry action shots with a real camera vs. a phone! I alternated between holding the camera in my hand and putting it in one of the pockets on my hydration vest.

Comments

  1. 1

    I ran the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon this weekend (on Saturday!) in Louisville. It rained / poured almost the entire race, just like your rainy day in Vermont. Obviously fun to add another medal to the collection though. Love the feeling of knowing running off comfort / feel can end up being faster than you expect. Nice work, Anne :)

  2. 3

    So excited to read this recap. Wish I’d been there :) Thanks again for all that you do to support our farmers!

  3. 5
    Jen Johnson says:

    Looks like fun race!! My husband, sister-in-law and I travelled to Cincinnati this weekend for the Flying Pig Half Marathon. Super fun, beautiful city and well run race! Lots of hills but still managed a PB!

  4. 7

    I ran broad street and even with the rainy and cold conditions managed to get a PR!! Big congrats to any other runners and especially to the volunteers and spectators who came out to support the runners, couldn’t have done it without them. Highly suggest you put it on your list if you haven’t already.

    • 8

      Woohoo!! That one is definitely on my bucket list – I keep hearing how great it is! It’s a lottery system race because it’s so popular, right? Congrats on your PR!! :)

  5. 9
    Elizabeth H. says:

    I ran the Cap City Half Marathon in Columbus this past Saturday (my second half)! They were holding the USA half marathon championships at the race as well, which was very cool–I didn’t get to see any of the elite runners, since I was way back in the sixth corral, but exciting to know they were there. And I got a new PR! :)

  6. 11
    Kelley Ferguson says:

    So nice to read your race recaps! I completed my first half this weekend at the Nashville Rock and Roll (formerly Country Music Marathon) Marathon. The race was delayed about 30 minutes due to lightning and a huge downpour, but only a few raindrops after that. Nashville is very hilly too, but we had been training on the course so I knew what I was getting into.

    Thanks for all the inspiration and great recipes for runners – especially appreciate all the veg options!

    • 12

      Congratulations on your first half marathon – that’s awesome!! I’m glad the weather got that tantrum out of its system and you all were able to run! :) Crazy how many races there were this weekend – love hearing about them all!

  7. 13

    Congrats on the strong finish! I did the Rock n Roll Nashville Half Marathon this past Saturday and we also got the rain–we started about 35 minutes late due to thunder/lightning (and a downpour), but then we only ended up with a little bit of a drizzle during a small portion of the race. Pancakes post-race sound amazing!

  8. 15

    Wow congratulations! Looks like a great group of running gals too!

  9. 17

    Wooooop woop! Congrats, my friend!

  10. 19
    Allison says:

    Hi Anne! I was wondering if you could share the details of the hydration vest you wear? Do you wear it in warm weather races too, or find that it chaffes, is too hot, etc? I feel like I might have seen details about it in another post, but can’t find it. Thank you!

    Good job on the half. VT is a beautiful area, I am hoping to do a half there in the fall (leaf peeper).

    • 20

      The guys I was running with were talking about the leaf peeper race! Sounds like a fun one. :) I love my hydration vest – it’s the Nathan intensity vest and I’ve worn it for years now including full marathon training in summer heat. It definitely adds a little heat for summer runs but it’s better than having no water! I never have any problems with it chafing though (unlike some of the other vests I have tried). I wear it for all my long training runs and long races – highly recommend!

  11. 21

    I ran the providence half marathon this Sunday! :)

  12. 23

    I was the reader who said hello :). I’ve been blog a reader for years so it was fun to see you out on the course and thanks for the words of encouragement!

  13. 25
    Roadrunner says:

    Impressive, Anne. Great time for a training distance run. And looks like a fun race, too, well done, on short notice!

  14. 27
    Jessica says:

    Yeah Vermont! It was fun to hear your write up about this half. I grew up in VT and still live here now. I did the Vermon Unplugged Half a few weekends ago.

  15. 31

    Sounds like a fun race! I traveled home to Cincinnati for the Flying Pig and ran the Half Marathon! Was supposed to be rainy but ended up with great weather and the crowd support was amazing! It was a super fun race, but definitely had some killer hills!

  16. 33

    Congrats! Fun way to explore the city/state and college campus! (Middlebury randomly hosts the Monterey Institute for International Studies, so I’m used to seeing that name all over…or was used to it… ;) )

  17. 35

    It was great seeing you this past weekend Anne, and congrats on a great race. I love seeing what the second half of the course looks like. Love all those barns and the horses too.

  18. 37

    I love the wood medal! Nice race!

    Question….does your Garmin pick up the satellites pretty quickly? I have a much more basic Garmin one and I get frustrated because sometimes it doesn’t pick up a satellite and start measuring until almost .75 mile into a run. And sometimes it doesn’t pick one up at all.

  19. 39

    Curious-did you like the huma gel? I’ve only tried clif gu but it gives me cramps 😞

    • 40

      Yes, I’ve been having HUMA gels for the past few months now and really like they – don’t seem to bother my stomach!

Trackbacks

  1. […] part 2 of my weekend adventures in Middlebury, Vermont with the Cabot Fit Team! If you missed my Middlebury Maple Run Half Marathon race recap, check that out […]

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