Covered Bridges Half Marathon 2017

Covered Bridges Half Marathon 2017. This race is the prettiest course in New England, and the highlight of my year for running. Find out why it sells out within minutes every year.What a gorgeous morning for the Covered Bridges Half Marathon! Our weather has been all over the place recently and there’s definitely been a lot of rain in the past couple of weeks, so it was a lovely surprise to a have a cool morning that became a warm, sunny day as the race went on.

I had no expectations for this race. I think I mentioned I signed up for it and then kind of forgot about it until right around the time training should have been starting. While I did try to get a long run in every week, there was definitely no speedwork or formal training taking place. Sometimes life takes over, and I was in the midst of packing up my apartment and moving myself and the boys down to my new area when some real training should have taken place.

Thank goodness for exploring the trails and running paths around Woodstock after I moved, and also for starting a new job where I’ve been getting lots of cross training trying out all the classes. It meant the distance felt fine, the hills on the course weren’t too brutal, and I ran by feel without having any point where I hit the wall.

So, how did running by feel work out? It felt good, since it’s what I’m used to these days. After looking at my splits, I definitely started out too fast, but it didn’t feel that way at all. The atmosphere of being in a race environment, especially during the starting miles, definitely has a big effect on perceived effort, obviously. I finished in 2:08: 12, which is slightly faster than I thought I’d run, but nowhere near where I could be if I put the effort into training. Running is humbling, and racing tells you exactly where you’re at. Luckily, the Covered Bridges Half Marathon is such a beautiful course, running through the prettiest New England town, past farmland and views of rolling hills and then all along the Ottauquechee River.

Covered Bridges Half Marathon 2017. This race is the prettiest course in New England, and the highlight of my year for running. Find out why it sells out within minutes every year.

LOGISTICS

This was the first year I drove and parked in the runners’ parking area, then got the free shuttle buses to the start. Not knowing the area super well yet, I was worried I was going to get lost and not be able to find the parking. It was SOO easy, though and really well organized. Getting out at the end was even quicker than previous years, because the bottleneck to get out of the spectator’s car park took longer than getting bussed back to the runner’s parking and driving out of there.

A really nice touch was the volunteers handing out bottled water to runners waiting in line to get on the buses from the parking area to the start. 

Covered Bridges Half Marathon 2017. This race is the prettiest course in New England, and the highlight of my year for running. Find out why it sells out within minutes every year.

Given all the stories I’ve read recently about people’s race bibs being copied by bandits after runner’s posting bib photos prior to the race on social media, it’s kind of nice that you don’t pick your bib up until the morning of the race, at the starting area. It’s also one less thing you need to worry about having with you in the morning.

Covered Bridges Half Marathon 2017. This race is the prettiest course in New England, and the highlight of my year for running. Find out why it sells out within minutes every year.

There was a baggage truck available for those who wanted to have a bag waiting for them at the end. It looked like you didn’t need to use a clear bag, and I noticed at the finish section that the bags were arranged by last name initial. I didn’t use baggage, I just had an old hoodie to keep me warm that I discarded at the start. Am I the only runner who has a really hard time with leaving behind old clothes? Seriously, the hoodie I left was probably 15 years old, definitely stained and may have had a couple of holes, and I was still having separation anxiety pangs.

Covered Bridges Half Marathon 2017. This race is the prettiest course in New England, and the highlight of my year for running. Find out why it sells out within minutes every year.

There were plenty of porta potties at the start and finish and at various points along the course, at miles 1.5, 3, 5, 8 and 10. Water stations were at miles 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12. Gatorade was available as well at miles 6, 8, 10 and 12.

HIGHLIGHTS

There was a man around mile 2 or 3, who had obviously just come to the end of his drive to pick up his newspaper, who was saying, “Good morning!” with a curt little nod to everyone running by. It was fantastic.

Running past some cows at Billing’s Farm, around mile 5, they all started mooing at the runners and people were thanking them for cheering.

The awesome people (I’m not even sure if they were volunteers or just spectators going above and beyond) handing out ice cubes on the hill at mile 8.

The woman cheering on the runners at the mile 11 marker. I’m almost certain it was the same woman who was there in the pouring rain last year, giving everyone a boost just as they needed it most. This lady knows exactly what to say to make you feel like a rockstar and her voice carries so you can hear her well before and after seeing her. I went out of my way to high five her.

Seeing a butterfly at some point along the river, which fluttered alongside me for a few minutes and made my day.

The free beer at the finish area. Beer just tastes better after running 13.1 miles.

Covered Bridges Half Marathon 2017. This race is the prettiest course in New England, and the highlight of my year for running. Find out why it sells out within minutes every year.

The food spread in the finish area was AMAZING as usual. They have bagels, pretzels, homemade cookies, lots of different fruit, ice cream, yogurt, coffee, tea, water, soda and probably more I’ve forgotten. I hung out for a while, enjoying my beer in the Harpoon beer tent, then wandering about, and when I walked through the food tent to grab a last banana before getting on the shuttle bus, there was still tons left. 

The best part about running this weekend, though, was that I rediscovered my love of racing. I hadn’t run a race in a year, or felt any inclination to do so. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t even have thought to sign up for the Covered Bridges Half Marathon this year if they hadn’t sent me an early-bird link to register, since I’ve run it more than a few times before. While I don’t think I’ll get back to the packed racing schedule I used to maintain in NYC once upon a time, I am definitely interested in seeing what other events are on the calendar and doing some more racing in the near future.

Covered Bridges Half Marathon 2017. This race is the prettiest course in New England, and the highlight of my year for running. Find out why it sells out within minutes every year.

The Covered Bridges Half Marathon is the race I recommend most to people. If you’re looking for a June New England race, you’d be crazy not to consider running this half. You can check out their website here and sign up for email updates, but registration usually opens around mid-December. 

What’s your favorite race and distance to race?

Comments

  1. Oh I am SO glad you had a great race!! Sounds like everything went right from the parking to the weather and even the spectators! It never ceases to amaze me how a perfect word, shout, wave or high five from a complete stranger can give you just what you need, when you need it, in a race!!
    Congratulations!!
    Allie recently posted…The Rundown – Beginnings and EndingsMy Profile

  2. Congratulations Carly! Sounds like a fantastic race and a great day. I love Vermont and that looks like such a gorgeous race. I’ll have to put it on my bucket list!
    Gabby @ Marathons and Macarons recently posted…Running Routes and Races in the HamptonsMy Profile

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