Recap: Runner’s World Half & Festival – Expo and (my first) 10k!

Happy Tuesday everybody!! I hope your week started off better than mine.

I had an anatomy & physiology lab practical exam on the skeletal system yesterday – and I don’t mean tibia, humerus, rib cage, skull – this exam detailed each individual bone, even the tiny ones in the wrists and ankles, as well as the different parts of other bones in the body. For example – did you know that the bone that makes up part of the bridge of your nose, the ethmoid bone, has 7 different parts to it!? Yeah. And there was no way of knowing which parts she would have on the test. Talk about impossible…

Okay – I’m done rambling now. This past weekend, I did the Runner’s World 10k, part of the Runner’s World Half & Festival in Bethlehem, PA (only about 30 minutes from my house, and less than 5 minutes from where I went to high school!) Kayla and I most definitely underestimated what a huge deal this event was. I mean, it is Runner’s World Magazine, after all!

As I mentioned on Friday, we went to the expo held at the ArtsQuest building by the bethlehem SteelStacks.

A little history lesson.. (skip this if you just wanna know how the race was!)

If you’re even remotely familiar with the Bethlehem area, you already know that it is home to what used to be Bethlehem Steel, a leading supplier of steel to construction companies nationwide, and even supplied the steel segments in the Golden Gate Bridge. In fact, the steel beam in my house was made by Bethlehem Steel. It began operation in the mid-1800s, and ceased production in the 1990s.


By the time I was old enough to recognize Bethlehem Steel, the buildings looked dilapidated. I always used to pass them on my way to my acting classes as a child. It was haunting and kinda cool in a way to see an area that was once thriving, now empty and abandoned. As I grew into my high school years, development began on the grounds of the factory.

Eventually, part of it was transformed into the beautiful Sands Casino & Resort – complete with restaurants like Emeril’s chophouse, a shopping center, and the Sands Hotel. I was lucky enough that my schoolbus crossed the bridge that runs right over/through the Sands every day for 4 years, so I was able to see it turn from nothing into a beautiful, high end business.



They utilized an unfinished bridge as a marquis for the Sands

After I graduated high school, the development continued to span the ENTIRE campus of Bethlehem Steel (it’s massive.) A local news station, PBS 39, has a beautiful new broadcast station there, events like Musikfest and Oktoberfest are held there, and it is home to a large event venue welcoming events like boxing matches and popular musical artists. There is also a smaller outdoor stage in what is called the ‘town square’.


Back to the recap…

The Expo

The expo was held in the state-of-the-art, absolutely beautiful ArtsQuest building. The building is complete with a movie theatre, food services, as well as the space to host events such as this. As we walked into the expo, we passed the finish line being constructed – the finish line that I thought I may or may not cross at the end. (just kidding. kinda.)


We walked into the building through an arch that said “Welcome Runners”. It made me feel kinda cool to be able to call myself a runner! I was never an athlete..there’s just something great about being able to identify with something like that.


We picked up our bibs and clear gear bags, and headed up to the 4th floor where the expo was being held. Being runners, pretty much everybody was taking the stairs 😛

As we entered the expo room, we got our t-shirts and from that vantage point, we had an awesome view of the entire expo:


The event was sponsored by Altra, Belvita, Deer Park, Larabar, and many others. One of the things I know I’ll never get tired of about races is the freebies!! We got a pack of Belvita Breakfast biscuits, Deer Park gloves, 2 mini Larabars, and some free chapsticks too! Naturally, we entered pretty much every giveaway there – especially the ones that were raffling off free entries into races like the Trenton marathon and Heartbreak Hill half & festival.

Kayla had informed me that some of the bloggers we follow were at the event, like Carrots ‘N Cake and Eating Birdfood. I ran into Brittany from Eating Birdfood, and she was super nice! This might be nerdy of me, but I was fangirling just a tiny bit inside. It was exciting to meet one of the bloggers I look up to!

The Race

The entire morning prior to the race, I kept repeating over and over in my head, “Why do I do this to myself!?” I psych myself out, thinking that since I’ve never run more than 5.5 miles, I may or not be able to complete the race. I was also freaking out because Bethlehem is almost all hills (yikes!). Innumerable anxieties fill my head – what if I have to go to the bathroom? What if I get too thirsty? What if my throat hurts too much from radiation? What if my plantarfascia starts hurting again, or if I develop a new injury? Someone please shut me up, cause I could go on and on about that.

The 10k course started and ended on the road that goes through the steel stacks. It took us south (and uphill) through part of the Lehigh University campus, across the Fahy Bridge and up a huge hill past the Bethlehem Library and the town’s original 1741 Moravian settlement. It then takes us up Main Street, which has tons of adorable restaurants with outdoor seating and little shoppes. We then ran through the town’s residential district, and back across the Fahy bridge. The course goes past the former Bethlehem steel complex to the finish line under a flaming arch in the shadow of the Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces which first went into operation in 1863.

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 12.03.23 PM

Naturally, my body did what it always does to me at pivotal moments – I had to go to the bathroom ten minutes before the race started. (Freaking out! I could not go 6 miles with a full bladder.) By the time I got into the portapotty, it was THREE MINUTES to race time! Luckily they were right by the start line, and there were so many people that we had to walk to the start line before we could run.

Kayla and I ran separately for the race, and occasionally this gets in my head – it makes me ask myself why can’t I run as fast as her? Am I not working as hard? To answer my own question, NO!! I’m listening to my body and pushing myself to a level that works for me. She’s been running for longer than I have, so it’s natural that her pace is faster than mine.

The course was absolutely awesome – I love Bethlehem. Once I got started with that first mile, I felt awesome. There was a hill, and I was able to see a street full of people running. The weather was beautiful, and all I could think to myself was, “This is so nice. It was amazing to me that all these people get together to just run – to better their health. I felt honored to be a part of it, and honored to run alongside people like this wonderful lady, Janet OberholtzerTalk about inspiring! She almost lost her leg due to a 6-vehicle accident, 5 of which were semi trucks. She is a prime example that anybody can do anything they set their mind to.

As I ran near her, I gave her a big smile and a thumbs up. (All I could manage while running.) On her running skirt, she had her website – Way to go, Janet!! It’s people like her that remind me to never let anything get me down, ever.

I didn’t stop once during the race – I am so proud of that. As we approached the Sands, I knew I was closer to the finish line so I picked up my pace a bit. Just before the finish line was the flaming metal arch. I felt like I was in the Olympics, so I ran super fast!!


And nothing elated me even more than seeing my mom right before the finish line as I sprinted towards it.


Just before crossing the finish line – Steel Stacks in the background

I honestly feel like I could’ve kept running – the only problem is, I need better running shoes!! I’m a little sad that I’m not  currently registered for any races anytime I’m working to change that! 🙂

Here’s Kayla and I post-race:


We treated ourselves afterwards to a yummy brunch at my cousin’s diner 🙂 No photos of that though..I was too hungry so I devoured my food!

Questions for you:

Do you have any suggestions for races in the northeast?

What was a goal you achieved that you never thought you could?


7 responses to “Recap: Runner’s World Half & Festival – Expo and (my first) 10k!

  1. Veronica Heckman

    You,Elyse, are to be congratulated! And a really well witten and informative and interesting blog!

  2. hey girl! I ran on Saturday and it was my first 10k too! I was in the same boat as you..never ran that far but actually enjoyed it! Congrats!!

  3. beachandbackrunner

    Thanks so much for including my blog! I actually didn’t know any of the history behind the Steel Mills, so thank you! That was my first 10k too… definitely more of a half person.

    • You’re welcome! 🙂 Bethlehem Steel has such a fascinating history and it’s awesome how they’re incorporating it with the development of the area. My goal is to do a half by the spring!! wooo!

  4. Great post with lots of detail! So proud of my dance chickies!! Go girls!

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

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