Suz's love for COWS + Allan's work with LASERS = one unique blog name! Welcome to our blog filled with race recaps, pictures of our labs, and everything else we share with blogland!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Viola Valley Half Marathon

Viola Valley Half Marathon is one of those races that I'll probably never set a new PR at and it's a challenging course or at least it is for me. Taking place in May in TN means that even at 7AM it can be pretty hot and after a few miles of rolling hills small inclines start to feel like you're hiking rather than running. However, I love this race! Last year was the first year they held the race and in the last year it's evident that they listened to the runners and started the race an hour earlier and offered a tech shirt instead of a t-shirt. I believe they also added at least one aid station as well.

Pre-race in downtown Viola

Tech shirt and medal

It takes place in a really small town and the race draws the support of so many of its residents. People had their sprinklers going for us to run through and many residents sat outside their homes cheering us on. The entire race (minus the start and finish) take place in the countryside and as you can imagine I had some cows to look at during several parts of the race.

viola start
Off we go!

Coming up on the first nice downhill followed by our first big uphill

Even though it started out overcast it was humid and I felt overheated pretty early on. I took a couple of longer walk breaks and had a couple cups of water in addition to the Gatorade in my handheld and I started to feel better. Once I passed mile 5 there was a downhill section that turned to a long straight portion so I took off passing several runners and feeling really good.

One of the many farms along the course

Around mile 7 another runner and I started to chat and run/walk together since we seemed to be doing the same run/walk pattern. It continued to feel hotter and we did a good bit of walking from that point on.

MY favorite aid station of the day!

There was one spot where I wanted to stop to take a picture and I realized that I rarely have a picture of myself during a race because I always run alone. It was nice to be able to stop, snap a couple of pictures, and then carry on. Another runner stopped and offered to take a picture of my new runner friend and I and it's probably one of my favorite photos from a race.

New runner friend (Kade) and I

We continued our run/walk but mostly walk from there until the finish. My hip was bothering me and I didn't want to risk hurting myself by pushing it. As we neared the finish we began our sprint to the finish and that sprint to the finish is featured on the photographer's site here. I look awful but nonetheless I'm pretty sure I've never had a race photo of me featured anywhere. My official time ended up being 2:57:40 which I can live because I had a great time!

viola finish
This is very similar to the one featured on the photographer's site but this is the one Allan took

This race just so happens to fall right before our anniversary so I was very excited when we arrived at Holiday Inn Express and were immediately upgraded thanks to Allan's platinum-I-travel-so-much-that-hotels-are-my-second-home status.

Couldn't have asked for a larger or nicer suite!

Is there a race you love to run that's always tough and one that it's tough to PR?


  1. I love all of the races you run! You seem to have such a positive outlook on even the toughest of races :) Awesome that you were upgraded!!!!

  2. Man, you've been running a lot of half's this year!! I love it.

  3. Congrats on a fabulous race! Love your during-race picture. I'm glad the race people listened and added the upgrades. YAY for a room upgrade! So nice!

  4. I love when you do a race for the 2nd time and you can see the improvements they made based on the finishers comments from the year before. Nice hotel :)

  5. Upgrade=Holy Grail of traveling. It is the little things that make the travel that much better. This looks like a beautiful course and lots of hills....ugh!
    Congrats on another one in the books that is wonderful!

  6. Holy cow that's a nice room!! Sorry to hear that your hip was hurting during this race, but glad you had a good time!!

  7. Love that you got a hotel upgrade!

    You make so many friends while running, I'm usually in the zone too much and don't notice people (unless I literally run into them at a water stop). I also love that water stop photo, that's really funny!

  8. Awesome job, girl! Happy anniversary and yay for the upgrade!!

  9. Aw man the pictures won't load for me but I know what you mean! The Baltimore Ten Miler is hot as hell and horribly hilly but I love it and I've run it four years in a row now! You always seem to make new running friends, you must have one of those personalities that people can't help but like - at least that's what I get from your blog!

  10. I love the redneck aid station!! too funny~

  11. Your race recaps are always worth the wait with such great pics. Glad you enjoyed this one so much!! :)

  12. I love the t-shirts and hats from the various races! Redneck funny!! Great pics!

  13. Congrats!!! That's great that they featured your race photo - so cool! Glad you met a new runner friend and enjoyed the race :)

  14. I love the redneck aid station! I am glad you had fun at the race because that's what's the most important!

  15. Wow another half! Good for you - how many have you done this year?

  16. that pic is hilarious!! but what beautiful scenery! and yes, big sur would be that race for me-hard to PR but LOVE it.


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