Runners Review the Garden Spot Village Half-Marathon

May 19, 2014

Written by Scott Miller

Some call us crazy, but as runners we understand the drive and addiction that makes us sign up for races. If you have run the Garden Spot Village Marathon in the past, you understand the challenges that come with it (The Hill), but also the gorgeous scenery and unique experience of running with the Amish.

If you are considering signing up for 2015 Garden Spot Village Half-Marathon/Marathon – hear from some of the 2014 runners about why it’s worth signing up for.

Meet Laura Brenner, runner since college and agriculture advocate.

What was your favorite part of the GSV Marathon?

I love getting all the emails from the RD. It really makes me feel like I’m part of the process, and keeps me motivated. During the race, my favorite part are the signs along the way filled with running humor and wisdom. They really keep a smile on my face. And the staff and volunteers are great, so helpful!

How do you motivate yourself for long distances?
I have to admit that the long run is my favorite work out. It’s such a feeling of accomplishment. I could do a long run 4 days a week, but we all know how that would end. My real challenge is motivating myself to do tempo and speed workouts, and that just takes grit.

What was your strategy for conquering The Hill?
I like to repeat the mantra, “attack the hill”! Since I know it’s coming I will reserve my energy a bit at the turn around for the half, then keep repeating my mantra.

Do you have any “rituals” that you have to do before running a race?
I always, always arrive early. And not like 20 minutes, more like an hour early! Of course there are the typical potty routines, but I try. I try not to get into many habits on race mornings. Sometimes things don’t work out the way you expect, so I don’t want to get hung up on having to do something.

Meet Laura Peifer, runner for 14 years, blogger at MommyRunFast who recently completed the GSV Half Marathon at 24 weeks pregnant!

Do you remember your first race? 
My first race was the Philly half marathon.  Some college friends and I decided to train together.  The farthest we had ever run was 4-5 miles before training.  It felt like such an accomplishment to cross that finish line!

What motivates you to run long-distances?
After that first race, I fell in love with the half marathon distance.  I continued to train for 1-2 per year and really enjoy having a goal race to keep me motivated.  I also find running is a great stress relief and has become what I do- I don’t have to try to motivate myself anymore.  I just do it because I love it.

What was your favorite part of the GSV Half-Marathon?
Having grown up in Lancaster, I loved running the beautiful country roads and thought it was great that so many Garden Spot Village residents were involved as volunteers, or part of the pre-run band.  The whole atmosphere was so well organized and everyone was really helpful.

Do you have plans for any more long-distances this year?
I’m now in my third trimester of pregnancy, and plan to keep running as long as I can but I won’t be doing any more half marathons.  I hope to “race” a few local 5ks and then plan to ramp back up next fall with the Philly half marathon and a spring full marathon.

Meet Allison Fiorini, one of our pacers for the Garden Spot Village Half-Marathon.

Do you remember your first race?
Yes, my first race was the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon in 2007. I’d never run any races or had an interest in running prior to that. I’d been running to get in shape when a friend suggested the race, and I signed up. I knew nothing about proper training or pacing, and just kind of winged it.

What is your favorite thing about running long distances?
I love running long distances for the solitude and camaraderie – sometimes, I love to go out running solo to get away and have alone time, and other times I enjoy running long distances with friends.

How did being a pacer compare to a normal race? 
Being a pacer was an amazing experience. It was an incredible experience to help others achieve their goals. In some ways, it was less stressful because I was able to run a comfortable, relaxed pace and just talk to people and motivate them. In other ways, it was more stressful because I needed to make sure I kept my pace even and consistent to cross the finish line in my goal time (1:45). It wa a very different experience than racing because my focus was different. (You can read more about Allison’s experience as a pacer on her blog.)

Do you have any “rituals” that you do before running a race?
The night before, I always take an epsom salt bath, and the morning of the race I always have to have the same breakfast: coffee and half of a bagel with banana and peanut butter.

Meet Amber Hadigan, who had quit running over 20 years ago, ran the GSV marathon as her first race on her 40th birthday!

What was your favorite part of the GSV Marathon?
It is hard to pinpoint my favorite part of the race. It was such a well-planned race, and I felt like everything was covered. The route was well marked, the pasta dinner was great, everything was very well coordinated. Pus the post-race food was incredible! But I think it was running through Amish country. The scenery was so beautiful and the people were so friendly. The route was so diverse and so many people cheering on the sidelines, even through the country. It was inspiring.

How far in advance do you start prepping for a race?
I started planning for this race in October and gave myself plenty of time to train since it was my first. I had not run more than three miles at a time when I started my training, so I was very pleased with the results.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about running since you started running races?
The most important thing I have learned about running is to not compare myself to anyone else. I only need to compare myself to the person I was the day before, the week before, or the year before. When I compare myself to other people, I focus on the negative: that I cannot run as fast or as far. When I look at only myself, I take pride in the fact that I can run faster and farther than I did yesterday or last month. I can take pride in pushing myself, and know that if I can accomplish my running goals, I can do anything I set my mind to.

What advice do you have for anyone new to the GSV Marathon?
I would advise anyone running the GSV to do plenty of hill training! Also, have fun. The people, the scenery, and the camaraderie that I had with other runners at the race made for such a wondrous experience, and everyone should enjoy it!

Meet Nora Haefele, a runner who regularly participates in races even with arthritis in both knees.

Why did you pick the GSV Marathon?
I picked it because someone in the tent at Bird in Hand in 2012 told me about the lack of a time limit as well as the opportunity to get the road apple award. I mean, who wouldn’t run 26.2 miles for a petrified poop on a plaque?

What advice do you have for anyone new to the GSV Marathon?
My advice for anyone new is not to be intimidated by that hill.

Sign Up for the next Garden Spot Village Marathon!

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