Yesterday, I ran my 18th (whoa) half marathon: the Middlebury Maple Run in Vermont!
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):
- Jess of Dietitian Jess
- Katie of Healthy Seasonal Recipes
- Amanda of The Wholesome Dish
- Danielle of Food Confidence
- Roni of Green Lite Bites
Awesome group of fellow fit foodies! We had a great time together. 🙂
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.
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. 🙂
Best van ever – never gets old!
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!
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!
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.
- 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. 🙂
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!
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!
Around mile 6.5 we arrived back at Middlebury College, which was where the relay switch off would take place.
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
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!
A little while later and we were back to the country roads – my fave.
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
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. 😉
I loved all the old barns on this part of the course, too!
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! 🙂
Yay – mile 12! Love the last mile of a race – always so exciting. 🙂
- Mile 11: 9:01
- Mile 12: 9:00
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!
- 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. 🙂
- 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!
Aren’t these medals pretty? So unique – made from wood!
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. 🙂
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!
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!!
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!
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. 🙂
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.