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Vermont City Marathon Race Report

In the spirit of teaming up with the world’s slowest race recapper ever on our Totally Trials app, (no seriously, one month for the fifth part of a relay, Sar? Impressive, even for you), my Vermont City Marathon race report got delayed a few days. But, by my count, four is still about 27 less than a month, so, all things considered not so bad. Enjoy:

Marathon #15 is in the books.


Contrary to what my hand gestures would indicate, I did not, in fact, run marathon #51…clearly I am better at marathoning than I am at understanding the science of photography.

As much as I am a little head over heels for racing…okay,  a lot head over heels for racing…earlier in the week before the race, I really did not think I would be toeing the line to run the Vermont City Marathon on Sunday morning. Last week’s ultra left me fatigued. Fatigued in that delicious, I had a killer race kind of way, but most definitely still fatigued. I had a hard time believing I could run a marathon a mere week later as I slogged my way through each post-50k recovery mile.


But if there was one thing I realized I needed to work on after my first ultra, it was time on my feet. (Okay, huge lie, there was no ONE thing, there were several things, including, but not limited to: trail agility, irrational reptile fear, and hillz, but ONE of the several things most definitely was time on my feet). I’ve heard from reliable sources, that my fitness seemed strong for almost the entire 50k race…until the last few miles. This makes sense considering the longest training runs I do clock in at about 3 hours. I think the last time I ran for over four hours was in the ironman last summer, and that was not so much “running” as shuffling upright with a side of sick.

So, I approached VCM with the mentality that the race would be a super solid training run and a great opportunity to work on both running on tired legs and the whole time on my feet thing.


Plus I had two family members itching to knock out some fast half times and I owe the running universe some solid pacing favors after my last couple of races.


Team Halnon: A Vision in Hot Pink and Black.

This race doesn’t really need a mile by mile report. It didn’t feel like my race. I was out there to help my brother PR and help my mom post a strong time for her third half marathon in the last six weeks (no, the apple does not fall far from the tree) and most importantly, to have fun with my family of runners.

So instead, here are some of the highlights from the day:

Jameson knocked out a big fat half marathon PR.

6 minutes fat for a 1:47.


Killer running, Jamo.


The kid decided he didn’t want to know our pace the whole time we were running, which was good, because I had no interest in sharing it with him.


We were crushing some sub 8 minute miles at the end and I could tell he was eager to be done. Filling him in on our speedy finish would have just prompted him to request to slow down. And again, I had no interest in letting him do that. He pushed through some fatigue, slaughtered a few hills, and finished strong.


Andrea brought the team in solidly under 4 hours with a fast second half


I learned a few things about pacing, and my lack of good pacing skills, when I ran the second half with Andrea.



Me: “Alright mom, I’m charging you with making sure I don’t break my streak of never running a 4+ hour marathon after first dipping below the threshold three years ago. Keep up this pace and it’s a done deal.”

My mother: “Go ahead, you can run faster.”

Me (rolling eyes.): “NOT the point mom. I don’t actually care. I am not going to run ahead.”

Mom: “OH, was that supposed to be motivating?”


Marathons are for huggers.

What I lacked in half marathon pacing skills, I made up for in good daughter points


My mom got super pumped when we realized that this was the first time we’ve ever run every mile of a race together. While we’ve participated in the same race events on several occasions (like, probably 50+), we’ve never actually run a course together.


She decided to hug it out, just in time for an official course photographer to catch our special moment on camera. Pretty sure the next time I go home, the image will be blown up poster size in our dining room.

The best thing in the whole entire world to eat on a marathon course is a freezer pop.


No contest.

Especially when it’s hot and your body has no interest in consuming gu the weekend after a particularly gel heavy ultra weekend.

Even better? When there are multiple freezer pop stops. Future race spectators, take note. Freezer pops=instant bff status.

The Vermont City Marathon is the Disneyland of racing. Seriously the happiest place on earth Memorial Day weekend. 


My friend told me that every time he saw me, it looked like my smile went from ear to ear and all the way down to the pavement. And after seeing the evidence on camera, I couldn’t really argue against him.

I had so. much. fun. running this race.


The course is perfect, the race is perfect, the day is perfect, and every mile is a blast as the 26.2 miles weave the city in a way that allows you to see fellow racers, family and friends every few miles.

Thanks to everyone who yelled “Sweaty Emily” at me during the race! It was a blast to see y’all out there.


Family and friends might not understand that running for fun, means you can stop and say hi midrace.


A not at all posed shot of my Aunt Julie. I went in for the hug, she told me to get my ass moving. Next time I see you, I demand two hugs, Julie.

One of my best friends finally realized that marathoning is cool, and it made my year. 

This is Arshad.


Arshad is one of my best friends. I know I use the word “best” to describe a lot of my buds, often accomanied with a qualifier like “best friend from high school” or “best running friend from (insert city, state, and possibly specific neighborhood within city/state)” but Arshad gets no qualifier, he is one of my BEST BEST BEST friends. But, the little shit has never come out to cheer me on in a race, even though he’s lived one block from the VCM start line for the past four years.


I’m in his wedding party and he’s never seen me run. Yes, let’s talk about this.


On Sunday, he came out to cheer for the first time ever. (It may have had more to do with the fact that his over-dressed fiancee was running a leg of the relay, but let’s just roll with it)


This is Arshad’s fiancee. Yes, he is wearing leggings and a long sleeved shirt while the temperature was flirting with 80.

But, regardless of why The Shad decided to come out and cheer, the part that we need to focus on is that he loved it! They practically had to kick him off the sidelines as the last finishers trickled in.


The fact that he was situated in the beer tent might have something to do with it.


That and his revelation that “marathoners are hot! especially the boys that come in around 3 hours.” No duh, Arshad, no. duh.

He still needs some education about the fact that the count of minutes is important when reporting a marathon time (he kept telling people I ran a “three hour marathon” after Team Halnon finished in 3:55), but he’s learning and excited about the sport, and that’s what counts.

Finishing a marathon is always an accomplishment, period.20120527_122020

3:55 is the slowest marathon I’ve run in years, but it was still by no means easy. By the time we hit the last stretch of 6 miles, my legs were feeling the distance. A lot of people will report back on marathons and give some excuse about why it wasn’t a big deal, “yeah I ran a marathon two weeks ago, but it was an hour slower than my PR.” So what, people. 26.2 miles is something to be proud about, no matter what the conditions of the race were. 


VCM, you treated me well for the fourth time in four years, you can bet your bottom miles, I’ll be back for more fun next year.

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33 Responses to Vermont City Marathon Race Report

  1. Um, aren’t uber-hot marathon runners the reason most of us started running in the first place?

  2. Congrats! That’s so fun you got to run with both your brother and mom.
    And, I think the last six miles of a marathon hurt regardless how fast or slow you’re going!

  3. best recap ever. for real. I felt like you were talking to ME, the way your write. I love it. And now I want to run VCM!

  4. Love it! Glad you got to race with your family. Your mom looks so happy in that photo! I loled when you called her Andrea though.

  5. WOO HOO VCM! Burlington truly does turn into the happiest place on earth over memorial day weekend. It really is Vermont’s time to shine! PS I can’t believe you didn’t get a picture of the people who had the poster “call me maybe” As soon as I saw it I thought of you and your bro!

  6. I hope everyone reads this and realizes what a party this whole race (and Burlington) is. The freezer pops + watermelon + hoses from the neighborhoods were a lifesaver.

  7. Looks like the most fun race EVER!!!!! LOVE freezer pops while running:)

  8. I love the matchy matchy sunglasses that your bro and you had on!

  9. This sounds like a blast, and I love the picture of you and your mom, who incidentally has me sold on this race…if I had a travel budget…

    Loved the pictures of your aunt and Arshad’s fiancé. That’s a lot of clothes for sure.

  10. Great race report per usual. I hope you and Sarah win!

  11. You have a way of writing race recaps that make me want to repeat your entire race schedule. If my brother wasn’t getting married next Memorial Day, I’d be adding VCM to my race schedule too. Great recap!

  12. What a fun awesome day! And congrats to your brother, that is a rockin PR! And you continue to amaze me with your serious skills. 3:55 is my marathon PR! Which hopefully I will break in 3 weeks. :-)

  13. You have such a fun family! I dream about ANY member of my family running with me, even a 5K. Alas, this will never happen. However, they are great fans on the sidelines! Great recap!

  14. I totally second Arshad’s appreciation of marathon boys! Those are some smokin’ guys! Congrats on your first pacing gig – sounds like you had an absolute blast :-)

  15. Man, your family is so cool. My family wishes they were that cool. I’m going to make them that cool.

    Challenge accepted!

  16. YAY – congrats on your 15th marathon. I ran Vermont City this past weekend as well. It was my fifth and it treated me pretty well. Little hot at the end, but overall a great time. I can’t believe the fiance was wearing so many clothes – he must have been on fire!!

  17. Congrats on a great race! I was there too, for #11, and my second VCM. I agree with all of your comments, including the freezepops. BUT, I really wish they’d ditch that beltway. Man, that’s a brutal stretch.

    VCM’04 held my PR for a number of years, and VCM’12 gave me my new PR, so no complaints here!!

  18. Awesome that you got to pay it forward with the pacing so quick. And freezer pops are indeed the best thing ever after a race. I’m not entirely sure why all races don’t do it but they should. My husband and I race together, and while we don’t run every race together at the same pace, we definitely enjoy the feeling of being able to deconstruct the experience together after over a bottle (or 3) of champagne.

  19. Right on about the 26.2 miles is something to be proud of! Seriously, 26 miles is rough no matter how fast or slow you run it… which is why I’m partially freaking out about pacing the O2O 4:25 group on Sunday. Yeah, it’s like 40 minutes slower than my PR, but it’s still 26 miles which is not easy.

  20. It’s nice that your family is into running! I might have convinced my dad to come running with me tomorrow. Fingers crossed that he’ll actually come.

  21. Congrats on number 15!

  22. So… ignore my email because I am the slow one on finding that pic of you and your mom :) Congratulations on a great race, and so glad we FINALLY got to meet up! Definitely see you next year (though hopefully much sooner).

  23. This looks like a fun race!! And holy cow, your mom is awesome!

  24. You’re so right that no matter what 26.2 is a big deal! It’s enough miles that you never really know what can happen. I love hearing it from a much faster runner!

  25. Yes, it was a fantastic race……………a totally fun time! Thanks for pacing me! Those miles flew by.

  26. New reader here. For someone as accomplished as you are in the world of racing, I love your outlook…you keep it fun and it’s so nice to hear that “marathons ARE hard”…no matter the pace. Awesome!

  27. It all sounds so refreshing…hope you keep enjoying this

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