Tag Archives: Hershey Half Marathon

Did Someone Say Chocolate?

12 Nov

Playing catch-up again!!!
So, in a nutshell…

Hershey Half Marathon – a fun, cold chocolate and friend filled weekend!

Marine Corps Marathon – a fun, friend filled weekend with a fairly disappointing race

Wine and Dine Half Marathon – seriously. At Disney again with my Ohana?! It’s a win-win situation!!

Up first –

Hershey Half Marathon

After running this for the first time last year (review of last year’s adventure is here!) I’m pretty sure it’s going to become an annual event – I left work early that Friday (what? You didn’t realize I was working again?! Hah! Well, there’s a story there too!) and headed over to PA with my trusty sidekick


He doesn’t really have a triangle coming out of his head!

My friends Jennifer and Mark were going to be at Disney the week prior to the half, coming home that Saturday and Jenn very graciously offered my their house so I could avoid hotel costs. We got to their house around 7 Friday evening and settled in with snacks I’d brought from home.

Saturday was expo and HersheyPark day and I was hoping to run into a few friends.

This year they moved the expo over to the stadium, outside. In the cold wind. And I’m not sure why but the crowds seemed much heavier this year – there was a wait in line to get bibs and then a separate wait in line to get shirts/swag. And as you can expect there were some complainers in the crowd!


I picked up my swag and shirt


And also a pair of BondiBand compression socks since I’d forgotten to pack some of those! Then it was time to head into the park…

Where I ran into the Grace clan and joined them on a couple of rides before heading out to get my long awaited Phillie Cheese steak over fries that I loved so much last year!! Which worked perfectly since my new pre-race carb load dinner has become very meat and potato centric in the last 4-5 years.


Race belt makes an appearance so that I have a place to store the chocolate from the chocolate mile 😀

I got my clothes all laid out, and everything I was going to need for 13.1 the next morning and got into bed. I expected the family to come home in the wee hours and wanted to get in a few ZZZZs before they did.

Before I knew it my alarm was going off and it was time to get up and dressed. And I had hoped to get Phred out for a walk before I took off. As I was heading out the door, Jennifer, Mark, Brian and cousin Roger came in so I happily left Phred in Bri’s capable hands 🙂


Unlike last year I expected the traffic and left early enough to avoid it. I was, however, unable to avoid the cold wind! There had been talk of us all meeting up pre-race but the only person I managed to find was Cannon (on account of he’s so tall and was wearing his purple Dopey cap!) and once we entered the starting area we split up so he could get to the front of the line where he belongs!

Things started on time and the course was as I remembered. Which is to say, hilly – but gorgeous with great crowd support where needed. And, as last year, my favorite part was running through the Milton Hershey School grounds – those kids are all completely awesome!!

The chocolate mile this year was Hershey Kisses! And, spoiler alert, so was the medal!!


I finished up with a decent time but not great…and headed back to the house to take a quick shower and get on the road home.

It was great to see Jennifer and Mark, even though it was a very brief visit and, as always, a nice visit with the chocolate 😀

I was looking forward to heading back out the next weekend for my Fifth Marine Corps Marathon – I’d be running with friends for the first time and was sure we would have an awesome time. Plus I’d get to see my Disney Ohana again!!


A Lesson in Running Your Own Race. And Chocolate.

23 Oct

Last weekend I ran the 5th Annual Hershey Half Marathon. And I can’t wait to do it again!! There are obviously a few things I’d do different, but I am definitely doing this one again!

As you know, I’m a fan of amusement parks of all shapes and sizes. And, I’m also a fan of chocolate — so win win! Oh, and there’s that running thing too.

I was running with 2 friends  – one of whom hasn’t done a half marathon since the More Half Marathon back in, I wanna say 2006 (because I’m sure it was before I moved into my house…) and the other who ran at Hogsback with me last month 🙂 The plan was my usual 1:1 intervals combined with my love for walking up hills and running down them. My training plan for the week called for 9 miles so I was really not concerned with time. – I’d be happy to at least keep my Hartford Half pace!


Packet pickup was simple and fast! There were only a few vendors which was fine with me – I only intended to buy a special 13.1 magnet for the car (the “.” is Kiss shaped!). And I did. Nice long sleeved tech shirt + some Hershey treats in the swag bag (which was a nice string sack!). And 2 tickets to HersheyPark in the Dark, per person!


We dropped our things back in the car and headed in to the park even though it wasn’t dark yet! Time for some rides. And by rides I mean Roller coasters of course!!


Disclaimer: Jenn took this picture on race day, not park day!!

We played around for a few hours in the chilly day — note: roller coasters in the cold are really kind of fun!!! Back at the house we ate dinner (hearty burgers, roasted potatoes, green beans and a glass of red wine) and headed to bed early. We figured if we left the house by a quarter to 7 we’d have just enough time to park, potty, take some pictures and line up.

And that’s where things started to go … um…not good.

Traffic. We sat for 20 minutes on the highway waiting to just get into the parking lot! This was after I’d splashed fresh hot coffee all over my hand and then spilled some all over my things in the car! Jenn found us a lovely parking spot and we hopped out of the car. As we walked/jogged/trotted towards the start line we heard the National Anthem start. And finish. And then we heard the voice of a small child starting the race.



Stop!!! Wait for us!!!!!

And at least one of us really still needed a potty!! So, knowing we’d have to stop soon we decided to suck it up and hit the portapotties at the start line and then get started.

Now here’s where the “running your own race” lesson comes in handy.

When you start well after the majority of the pack, there is no doubt that you’re gonna be a very literal “Back of the Packer”!  The temptation is quite STRONG to try to catch up with the larger pack. Even though you know there were still a lot more people still coming in from the parking lot!

We started out quite strong — and worked the intervals! The first couple of miles seemed to fly by – and I was happy to accidentally meet one of my invisible friends that I didn’t even know would be there!


And then we ran into this guy when we got into the park..


We kept up the intervals for the most part even though I know both of my friends would have preferred to run on ahead!! But, this was basically a training run for me, and I really was mainly concerned with finishing. I surely didn’t want to get picked up by “the truck” but also knew that once I passed 9 miles I was good for the day!

It was a gorgeous course – we ran past the old factory, through Hershey and toured the campus of the Milton Hershey School where a lot of the kids were out coaching us through miles 7-9 ish!


This would be an interesting job….

We met up with their mascot The Spartan. Not a Trojan.


The school band was playing as we were heading out of the school grounds

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And then we ran into this guy!


The miles definitely flew by and you know I was eagerly anticipating the “Chocolate Aid Station” — which was a bit before mile 12. Note for future runners of this event – it’s a BOP win cause there are boxes and cases of chocolate that no one wants to pack up. Also, please don’t just throw your chocolate on the ground! That is very wasteful!!


Anyway we got through the chocolate gauntlet and headed towards the Hershey Stadium and the finish line! We grabbed out super post-race goodie bag – in an insulated lunch sack!


There was also a healthy apple (that I ate!) and a granola bar that I gave to Jennifer. The little Hershey bars were my haul from the chocolate aid station!

And then hung out in our mylar blankets waiting for traffic to die down some! Managed to get a post race bling shot too!!

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So, yes, this was a fun one and I will most definitely do it again — and not just for the chocolate!!


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