2015 Runner's World Half Festival Race Review

I've sat and looked at this blank page for months now. There was so much that happened over the weekend that I felt so inadequate every time I tried to put it all down.  So finally I've decided to just do a quick race recap of each race and share all my pictures at the end.

I have to add that Altra was the big sponsor for the weekend. They provided free race photos and they were some of the best race pictures I've ever seen come out of a race. The photographers did an amazing job.

I got to meet a lot of people this weekend, that I know from my phone but they inspire me daily. The Sub 30 group is a fantastic, encouraging and slightly insane (in a great way) group of runners that don't care what pace you run, what distance you run or how often you run. If you run, even just occasionally, you should check us out, they just might inspire you to reach for new boundaries.

Friday Night Trail Run

The trail run is a 3.8 run through the woods.  I thought it would be fun to sign us up for it. It was fun but man, that course was tough.  The few little hills and the big one at the end were the best parts of the whole thing. I loved the last hill, it was steep and challenging and then at the top opened up to a wide flat downhill to the finish line. The hard part was the loose rocks, narrow trails and tree roots hiding all over.  I'm not sure how My Musician and I managed to stay upright but we did.  The trail was challenging and fun but it's not my thing and I won't be doing a trail race again for a long time!

It was so cool meeting so many that I only knew from my phone. This whole weekend was like a class reunion.

Always running side by side, to the finish

Saturday Morning 5k and 10k

The 5k was My Musician's goal race.  We'd been working together for a couple months on his training to run a sub 30 minute 5k.  I knew he could do it, he'd worked really hard over the summer and fall to get in shape and to increase his pace.  It was pretty chilly as we toed the start line.  We tried to do a mile warm up but his knee hurt and my foot ached so we only did a half mile warm up so that he could make it through the race.  Thankfully his knee stopped hurting but little did I know that my foot was on it's way to messing with the rest of my fall.

We started the 5k at a nice easy pace. I was keeping a close eye on our pace so that My Musician could achieve a sub 30 5k.  I'd run this course before so I knew what to expect. The first little hill at the end of mile 1 is nothing compared to what we run at home but My Musician is much better on hills than I am.  He zoomed right up the hill and when I caught up with him at the top, I kept the increased pace.  As we were coming back down the loop and on to the bridge, I was pushing his pace faster than mile one.  He was starting to struggle with his breathing a bit and as we were crossing back over the bridge, he asked me to slow down just a bit. So I backed off the pace for about a tenth of a mile and then picked it right back up.

He was doing really good till we got near the stacks. We were a little more than a half mile from the finish and I could tell he was pushing hard to keep the pace.  I knew we didn't have much room. Every time he asked to slow down just a little, I would so he could feel the slowing down and then I'd pick the pack right back up!

He really pushed it down that chute to the finish line.  He'd worked really hard for weeks to get here and I was so proud of him as he crossed that fishing line in 29 minutes and 38 seconds.  He did it!! I was honored to be running next to him as he reached his goal!!

You can read about his side of this experience here on his blog Common Sense Tunes.

My Musician made this cute little gem.
I love it because I've been in that same place after a few of my recent 5k's. 

The 10k turned out to be a great race for me.  I had about an hour between the two races. I ate a couple of my chia seed pancakes and changed into dry clothes.  It was still really cold out so I huddled with my hun and hundreds of others, in the spacious indoors bathrooms.

About 5 minutes before the start, I wander out to find my place in at the start line. I pushed myself up closer to the front, where I wanted to be but as usual I didn't feel like I really belonged up there.

I started out at a very easy pace to just warm my muscles back up. Part way through the 1st mile I ran into one of my friends and ran with Lynn a bit.

Just after mile 1, Drill Sergeant, came up beside us and started to pass us. I ran and chatted with him for about a mile, maybe a little less. He's one fast runner and much as I wanted to keep up that pace, I knew I'd never make the whole way.

There's a street where those near the end of mile 2 are on one side of the street and those who are in mile 4 are on the other side. It's so fun to have that moment to encourage other runners and be encouraged by them.  I was so excited to pass a large group of Subbers. Makes you feel like a rockstar to have a bunch of people, yelling your name!

During the last mile my foot started to hurt. I was freaking out a bit, stuck in my own head, wishing I could see My Musician but knowing he was probably waiting for me at the finish line. Then I look up and there he was. I was like a little kid thrilled to see him (the pictures below of me with my mouth open in surprise and then waving to him are from this moment).  It didn't stop my foot from hurting but it did lift my spirits.

I couldn't stop grinning as I ran down the chute.  A couple subbers, (Kim and Jonathan.) were yelling for me to "Go get it" as I passed them and approached the finish line, I could hear the Subbers off to the side yelling for us all as we came in.  I looked at my watch and knew that I'd set a great PR for this race.

I had a really good time running this one. I was shocked at my pace, especially on the hills.  It's now January, I'm quite a few pounds heavier and strength training is a chore, but this race is the one that I keep in my mind as my inspiration. I ran better then I thought possible. I felt amazingly strong through the whole race. I set a PR when I wasn't expecting to. It was the strongest I felt in my running all year.

The only cloud to the weekend was the pain in my foot the last mile.  By the time I got my medal, got through the rest of the chute and found My Musician, I could barely walk.

We went to the expo, sat in a couple seminars and had the Sub Club Dinner and the whole time my foot hurt so much I limped the entire time. I was freaking out about my half marathon the next morning. I'd wanted to do the Hat Trick since I was there for the 5k, in 2014.

Sunday Half Marathon

I started the morning in tears. My foot was killing me.  We drove to where we'd been parking, right near the start line. After the group picture, I realized that I was wrong, the start line was about a half mile or father from where it was for the other races.  We walked, or I should say hubs walked, I limped all the way there.  Once we got up there, I wasn't sure I could do this. 

I felt crushed and defeated. I had wanted this day for a whole year. I wanted the three medals from the hat trick. I wanted to run this great course with these amazing people I'd gotten to know.  I have weak ankles. I turn them all the time, so bad that they'll swell and turn black and blue. For some reason it never interferes with my running. Even when swollen I can run with zero pain. My Musician and I had a long talk about this standing at the very back of the pack at the start line. I was incapable of making a decision at that point. 

So with comfort and encouragement from my Musician, we came up with a plan. It was a long walk back to the car and it was right around a mile to the hotel. We decided to take the chance of me running on it, to see if the pain would go away, like when I twist my ankle. It helped to have him helping me make a plan because in my mind there was no way I wasn't going to run it yet I didn't think I could really run a step.  

As the race started, I fell in with a group of some of the amazing women from my running group.  By the time we passed my hotel and turned over the bridge, my foot didn't hurt quite as much. During mile 2 we went up a couple little hills. Our paces were different in the group and we slowed down on one of the hills. I can power walk pretty dang fast and I tried to do that on the hill but the pain came right back.  So our group slit and Therese (T.S. from my Philly recap) continued to run with me while the others ran a different pace. 

There's no way I can give a mile by mile recap of this race. It's a blur. BUT a few things stand out. 

  • Therese ran with the entire race with me - she got me through this one!! 
  • We picked up free skirts, which I now love, from a vendor on the course, RunningSkirts.
  • We got to see Ted Spiker on the course (he's the creator of our FB group)
  • Therese kept me distracted from my foot occasionally hurting.
  • Momma Canning was on a particularly challenging hill, running people UP the hill, then back down she'd go to run the next group of people up the hill.  (She's the mother figure of our group)
  • Around mile 10 I realized that I was actually going to finish this and earn the right to say I ran the Hat Trick at RW!
  • Bethlehem has the greatest groups of people who cheer you on. 
  • There are some great hills to run in Bethlehem and it's a really beautiful area
  • Jeremy ran out and met Therese and I near the end of mile 12 and ran us almost to the finish line, before turning around to run in the next group of runners.  
This was a race of overcoming. Plus I was blessed and honored to have run it with T.S.

It took me forever to find My Musician after the race. He figured I'd be celebrating with my friends so he was dropping stuff off at the car. What he didn't know was I was avoiding everyone until I got to see him and hug him first.  Tink usually is at races and gets pictures of us tougher but Therese thought about covering her absence and captured our hug after the race.  I stared the half marathon in his arms in tears and finished it in his arms, in tears!

It turned out, after a couple Dr appointments, that I sprained my foot that weekend.  Probably on trail run because my feet aren't used to the type of terrain I ran on. The Dr. described the exact movements my foot would have done in the trail run as the culprit for the sprain. I'm holding out hope that we'll go again this year (2016) but probably only for the 5k since I have a marathon two weeks before. I, unfortunately, won't be doing the Grand Slam (all 4 races) again for awhile. I'll stick to road races for now.  



Don't judge me. I packed for 4 races
 and two nights out. 
Ready to hit the road 
The Stacks - I got giddy when I saw them! 

Trail Run 

Most of the Subber that ran the trail run

"Hi!!"  The only paved portion of the race

Me and "Koda"
My Neon Man.
I picked those pants out for him. He's still not sure of them but I love the bright color. 

So many Subbers on the trail.

This was at one of the turn arounds, going back up the hill.
My Musician does a great job on hills.  

I love this man and running with him.

I thought I had recorded our finish but I hit the wrong button.
They were announcing everyone's names as we crossed the line.
I can't even explain the energy of the Subbers cheering, it makes you run faster and harder! 

I love how intense he was coming up to the finish.

#Flash.  I believe she's the youngest member of our group. She rocked the races that weekend. 

Bib Pickup

* I know these are not exciting pictures but they were to us.  My Musician picking up his bib for his 5k and me, finally after a year of waiting, getting my bib for the Hat Trick.  


My super speedy friend Lynn. 
With the man himself, Ted Spiker
Some random crowd pictures of all the Subbers at the bar.

Lonnie (our fearless leader - you must be fearless with this group) showing us one of the
two Sub Club flags we all chipped in to buy.  They will go around the country to the various races.



2014 5k gathering VS. 2015 5k gathering 

5k bling
Laura, a very inspiring friend

Leonardo. If you're part of the group, you understand the impact he's had on us all. 

Lonnie presenting a Sub 30 Club shirt to Bart Yasso and Deena Kastor 

Bart Yasso. He's a huge inspiration. 

Deena Kastor.
She's a year younger than me. I know won't have her speeds but she inspires me
to keep pushing and striving for the best I can give. 
Our nickname for each other. 

We're ready, lets get this thing going! 

the crown behind us
all those people between us and the start line

Laurie, Richard sharing smiles before the race 

On the downhill heading back to the bridge
smiling in the last mile! 

So proud of him!! I knew he could do it. 

Laurie congratulating him on his sub 30! 


My projected first 3 miles of the 10k.
Glad I didn't follow them.
That seemed to be my pattern for the year.

I've learned to love running the downhills this year. 

I wish I could see my honey. 

Oh My Gaw'd. There he is!! 

Hi Honey, do you see me?? 

I love having Kim and Jonathan right there in this series of pictures.

we stayed till every last runner was in

wearing our 5k and 10k medals


Bart Yasso was a great speaker. He has a true passion for the sport.
And he thinks he's funny.
This is him showing us the last hill on the half marathon course.
(I believe this is actually Everest) 

I was so glad we got to her Deena speak.
She spoke about the power of the mind with positive thoughts.
Little did I know I'd be employing her words the next day! 

**I thought it was really funny how My Musician and I stood out in these pictures


Kara and Sarah - Two women who I have found inspiration, encouragement and friendship with

Ted Spiker talking to us about what the creation of this group and it's members have meant to him


Half Marathon

Pre race flattie and race flattie
Subbers getting ready to run the half

Jenny, my sweet phone friend from TX. 

At the very back, trying to decide if I was even going to run this
I have no idea who took this picture but I hijacked it because it's an example of one of our group's passions.
Fundraising to fight cancer. This was a donation to St. Luke's. The charity for RW this year. 

Lindsay, Therese, Licia and I in the first mile. 


Therese stayed right with me and I had a great time with her

The race went through a beautiful cemetery 

The home stretch 

He's always right there waiting for me

Finally all three together! 


My friend Tami, who's spirit and spunk encourages so many of us. 

One of our biggest mantras is "No Subber left behind."  There was a group of finishers that ran back out and would run each subber into the finish. The Sub 30 runners ran in every last person of the half marathon, regardless of if they were a part of our group or not.  That's just how our group works. 

time to head home with all our bling

I ordered this custom made badge for my road ID months ago.
Glad I could finally put it on. 

Thanks to Runner's World for the weekend of amazing races through beautiful Bethlehem, PA. 

Extra thanks to those organizers in our group that arranged the mixer and the dinner. It was great to finally meet so many of my phone friends!


  1. Wow, what a lot of fun! Someday I hope to go to RWF with sub30...it looks like such a blast!

    1. If you get the opportunity, you have to go. It's amazing. I'm not sure if we're going to make it this year but 2015 was so fun and encouraging.

  2. Great recap! :) It was such a joy to run with you & to get to know you better!!! I've said it before, you helped me just as much as I helped you!


    1. Thanks. I hope we get the opportunity to run together again, as it was one of the highlights of my year!


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