1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Half Marathon 2019 Recap

By Janelle @ Run With No Regrets | race recap

Jun 12

Why hello! It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to catch up with you, but I’m still here! Last weekend I ran the 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Half Marathon for the third time, and I have to say that it was a real struggle! But when it comes to running, you always have to take the good with the bad, and I still thought it would be worth sharing my recap of the race!

For the first time in ages, I’m linking up with Kim and Zenaida for Tuesday Topics, and Debbie and Marc for the Running Coaches Corner.

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I'm sharing my recap of the 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Half Marathon, a fun and hilly trail half marathon in Philadelphia every June!  Check out more races at runwithnoregrets.com!

1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Half Marathon Recap

The 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Half Marathon is a small race that takes place in Pennypack Park in Northeast Philadelphia. It’s organized by Uberendurance Sports, and they’re well known for their various trail races and ultramarathons in Pennsylvania. This is Bret’s all-time favorite race and it’s pretty high on my list, so I was looking forward to running it for the first time in 3 years. However, since I had to take an over 2-week break from running in mid-May, I was really nervous about my performance this year.

Race Morning

The alarm went off at 5:30 am. Since we’re able to pick up our bibs on race day, we drove early to the Canstatter, parked, grabbed our supplies, and then waited for a bus to take us to Pennypack Park. In past years, the buses seemed to come more regularly, but we ended up waiting about 20 minutes for a bus. We got to the race area at about 7 am and went straight the porta-potties. Then I dropped our bag at bag check. I told the volunteer to write Bret’s name on the bag since he would definitely be finishing first. He wrote mine on as well “just in case”….LOL. Then we did a brief warmup run on another trail and a few stretches before separating.

The Starting Line

I didn’t really notice a Wave system like in previous years. Bret went in the front and I lined up as far back as possible. With 376 runners, it’s pretty straightforward. The race was supposed to start at 7:30 but we were delayed a few minutes. The organizer said something in a microphone but it was so muffled that I couldn’t hear. I got my Spotify playlist downloaded on my phone and waited to start. At the last second, I tried to look up what pace would get me a 2:30 finish, but I never figured it out…then it was go time!

Miles 1-5

I crossed the start and looked for the marker on the ground so I could start my watch but I didn’t see one, so a few seconds later I started my Garmin. Earlier in the week on my training runs, I focused on running on feel and keeping my heart rate low – that keeps me around an 11:30 pace. So I did the same thing at the start of the race and felt very comfortable. Us folks in the back went a steady pace and I was even running alongside a couple of speed walkers – it was so interesting watching them go. I didn’t care if anyone passed me and I made no efforts to bob and weave. I actually focused on the beautiful trees on the trail and watching the sea of people ahead of me on the narrow trail. Every couple of miles there was water and I took advantage, always walking through the section. The first few miles went quickly and I was feeling pretty good. Between miles 4 and 5, I was already seeing the leaders heading the opposite direction. I did see Bret and we gave each other a high five as we passed.

11:31, 11:26, 11:35, 12:14, 11:26.

Miles 6-10

This was when things started to get tough. There were hilly sections here and there and I would run up them when I could, but eventually, I just ended up walking. There was a group of people that I ran with almost the entire race, and we did some of that fun leap-frogging, though I had no competitive bone in my body so I was really aiming to keep up with, not pass them. Eventually we turned towards the Trail section at Mt. Cuckoo. There’s this section where you have to run on the grass and it’s really unpleasant. Finally we get to the trail and it was CROWDED. And since it’s so narrow, you have nowhere to go. The trail is really nice, but you have to watch your footing as it was easy to trip or get really muddy. Around this time, my knees were really starting to hurt. I remember seeing a mile 7 marker and feeling pretty miserable lol. The trail portion isn’t that long, but it felt long this year! And the long uphill was miserable as there was nothing to do but walk. I couldn’t wait to get out of there even though I knew I’d go back to rolling hills, as the race is essentially an out-and-back. So the hills were back, and I walked up and tried to gain speed on the downhills, which hurt my knees even further. I felt myself running out of gas as I was starting to walk even when I wasn’t going uphill.

11:16, 12:25, 13:13, 12:53, 12:49.

Miles 11-13.1

I was feeling pretty disappointed in myself at this point and I knew I had to try to get it together to finish strong. I had no idea what my finish time would be (since I didn’t care), but I knew with the pain I was feeling, I needed to get this race over with. Fortunately the last few miles are relatively flat, so I pushed myself to pick up the pace, especially once I hit mile 11. There were lots of marathoners heading in the opposite direction (they do the entire course twice!) and we were giving each other encouragement as we passed each other. I did end up passing quite a few people that I had run/walked with on those hills. Of course the last mile was the LONGEST, and I kept waiting to see the bridge that indicated I was near the finish. Soon the path opened up and I saw Bret cheering me on. I nodded and waved and powered my way to the finish line. So glad to be done!!

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12:35, 11:39, 10:33.

Race Results

My watch clocked me at 2:35:35 with 12.98 miles, which makes sense since I started my watch a bit late. My official results online show 2:36:50, which doesn’t seem right to me. Somehow my chip time and gun time are almost identical, which seems weird. Regardless, this was almost my worst half marathon ever, just a few seconds shy of my personal worst at the Philly Half Marathon in 2012. It is what it is! Bret finished his race in 1:44:53.

After the Race

After the race, I wasn’t feeling that great. I was eager to get out of my running shoes and into my Oofos. My knees were still killing me and walking was very uncomfortable. Bret made me a plate of the post-race food, still the best in the city: cookies, Twizzler bits, watermelon slices, and homemade bread. I nibbled on a few things as we headed towards the buses to get back to the Canstatter where the real after party would take place.

Bret was hoping for an age group award and was keeping an eye on the official results. We were able to watch some traditional German dance performances and then the awards were given out. Unfortunately, Bret didn’t collect one this year, and it seemed like all the super speed demons showed up this year. Most of the male age group winners had a finish time in the low 1:30’s – geez! In any event, we hung out, ate our bratwurst, and Bret enjoyed a couple of beers. It wasn’t long until we packed up and called it a day!

Takeaways

The 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Half Marathon is always such a treat, even though it is NOT for the faint of heart! I will always recommend this race, especially for those who are tired of the “same ole” road races in the city.

Pros:

  • Great price. If you paid morning of, I think the half marathon was still only $75, with the full marathon a little bit higher. I think a lot of us have paid much more – Nashville was over $100!
  • Beautiful course. I really focused on enjoying my surroundings in this race, and Pennypack Park delivers! There were definitely points where I wished I could just stop and enjoy the view!
  • Well organized. There are never any surprises with this race. Even with a slightly delayed start, it wasn’t a big deal. They had plenty of water and gatorade along the way and all the miles and course markers were well labeled.

Cons:

  • It gets really humid. Running amongst the trees is awesome but I definitely felt like I was trapped in a greenhouse at times. Fortunately the race was not as hot as years past – imagine running in 85+ degrees!
  • The course is overall on a narrow path. If you’re claustrophobic, the start of the course could be frustrating for you. The paved trail is maybe 6-8 feet wide, and since it’s a public park there are other walkers, runners, and cyclists. The trail section allows about a 2 by 2 set up, which can get a little tight.
  • The hills can mess with your momentum. I really thought this race would feel easier than Nashville since I’ve run the race before, but the hills just kept throwing me off since I had to walk up each one. They’re short but steep so it makes me admire those speedy runners even more! This is NOT a PR course!

Shoutouts

Thank you to Coach Laura for once again guiding me along. The spring racing season is over and while I didn’t run a lot of races, I learned a lot along the way. I’m just so grateful to be BACK from plantar fasciitis (I wouldn’t wish that injury on my worst enemy), and I hope to continue to grow as a runner in the years ahead.

I also want to shout out my company’s Running Club because I was able to get in some really high quality training runs with them on our Saturday runs. I’m so grateful that people have committed to our group and come out each week.

Now the summer is almost here and I don’t have any races until September, so my goal is to keep running with the group on Saturdays, explore some new trails, and try to keep a good “base” mileage while having as much fun as possible! Oh, and I do have lots to blog about soon, so don’t think I’ll vanish again for another month! 😉

Did you finish out your spring running season? Have you run a trail race?

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