Catherine Valley Half Marathon 2012

by Joanne on August 19, 2012

We drove through Ithaca to Watkins Glen for the Catherine Valley Half Marathon, running on Sunday August 19th. 

Saturday afternoon, with incredibly beautiful weather, we enjoyed a casual drive from Utica and stopped for lunch in Ithaca, where we picked up the race packet at Finger Lakes Running and Triathlon Company on Ithaca Commons. 

We took our time and arrived in Watkins Glen at 4 pm.  Such a beautiful area!

Catherine Valley Half7

The sun began to set and the water glistened, setting up for an evening made for romance.

The Famous Zoltar told us so!

We perused the local wine shop and had a little tasting of “Chocolate Lab”. It tasted like a cherry cordial. Of course we bought a bottle.

The oversized champagne bottles were to be admired from Watkins Glen Race track.

It was time for dinner at Seneca Harbor Station.

A seafood dish, focusing on pasta as a pre race carbohydrate loaded meal with sauce on the side. *Sometimes I worry about eating shell fish before a race. Not sure why I feel safer with a light white fish meal?  Knocking on wood, no bad effects so far.

Our motel was The Villager on 4th street in city center and only .6 miles from the race. It was the only accommodations which allowed us a one night stay.  The room was anything but fancy but we did manage a good nights sleep after the other guests stopped stomping around.


Could a day for a race be any better?!  It was about 55 degrees in the morning and 60 or so when the race started.  The sun was peaking through the clouds, PERFECT! There would be no excuse for poor performance.

My warm up of 2 miles 2 hours before hand was slow and enjoyable.  A little bit of pain in my left foot ignited concern that I had brought the wrong sneakers for a half marathon, New Balance 1600, flexible and very light but supposedly cushioned enough for a marathon.  Since the majority of the miles were run on a cinder trail, I hoped that would solve the problem.  It did.

We left for the race at 7:50 am and waited around only to hear that the start was to be delayed 15 minutes allowing porta-potty use as well as late comer sign up.  So I did some warm ups.

The warm up face…or rather the PLEEAAASSSEEE let me warm up face.  60 degrees for me is cold. I’m so cold sensitive! That’s why I don’t swim.

FINALLY, the beginning of 13.1 miles!

It was such an enjoyable trail run.  The path was narrow but the runners spread out pretty quickly so there wasn’t any congestion.  It was an out and back course.  The first 2 1/2 miles were flat then the next 4 1/2 were a very gradual incline.  You can imagine how much fun it was to turn around and come back from 7 through 12 miles.  No better way to get negative splits.  We all finished with a 3/4 run around the track. Great way to encourage a fast finish.

The foot pain was non existent but my right leg from calf to hamstring began to tighten up at about the 8 mile point.  Nothing came of it but I held my breath in case it turned into a cramp or complete tightening of the hamstring.

Ted rode his bike beside me most of the course since the trail wasn’t closed to cyclists. 

In taking a quick look at the official results before leaving:

  • 10th out of the 40 – 59 year old age group (quite the age group gap isn’t it?!).
  • 10 out of 71 in my age group.
  • 37th out of all women and…
  • 109 out of 330.

I managed a half marathon PR by 3 seconds and felt absolutely terrific all the way until the last mile when I was ready to get the run over. 


A really good half marathon.  The course was excellent. The organization very well done. Race course nutrition was water and Gu Brew (not sure what that was, I stuck to water) at every 2 miles or so. Organizers were meticulous about being clean on the course. Don’t toss GU packets or cups any where but at the aide stations. One gripe: Needed more spectators.

Ted said to me on the way home “Maybe WE’LL be running this next year.”  Really?!  Maybe Ted’s FIRST half marathon race.  He’s running Disney as his first half marathon but that one is just to finish and for the pure enjoyment of being at Disney.  Catherine Valley Half look out! Ted just MIGHT be coming! Open-mouthed smile

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  • At 2012.08.20 03:11, Choc Chip Uru said:

    I am so proud of you my friend, your running is inspiring 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

    • At 2012.08.20 09:11, Heather said:

      Wow, speedy!!!!!!! Congrats! Sounds like a great race.

      • At 2012.08.20 09:44, Alison said:

        Woooooo! Congrats on the PR – the cooler temps lately have made exercise a lot better I think. Way to rock it!

        • At 2012.08.20 12:10, Nancy Jean said:

          Was SO hoping you’d have a cool morning too, when we woke Sunday! So very happy for you with the PR and feeling so well throughout. WAY TO GO JOANNE!

          • At 2012.08.20 14:22, Cucina49 said:

            Congrats on your PR and on having a great race weekend! It sounds like you had a lot of fun exploring in addition to having a good fast race.

            • At 2012.08.21 14:01, Meatless Any Day of the Week said:

              […] the day following the Catherine Valley Half Marathon in which I ran 3 seconds faster than my last PR, I decided to do a recovery run.  Everything […]

              • […] was a PR at 1:46:24, average pace 8:08.  Catherine Valley was a 1:46:48 so it was close, but I’ll take it. It was a good enough time for a 3rd place age […]

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