If follow me on any sort of other platform other than my blog you probably know it was a good race for me. Not because I posted a best time but because honestly I won. I won a half marathon. It wasn’t my best time by any means as it was 4 or so minutes from my PR but it was still a personal favorite. I’ve won two other half marathons (The Plattsburgh half and the Run from the Sun Half) but neither had a cyclist riding next to me (which was really cool) nor have I ever broken a tape in any race. So both were just an awesome experience and so cool. (Do I sound like a kid in a candy shop or what?)
Where to begin. I live about an hour from Williamsburg and dad and I had to make that drive twice. Once the day before to pick up packets and obviously to get to the race…so race day we were up at 4 am ready to go to the race. The expo for this race is pretty small but that doesn’t bother me since I’m not much of an expo person. I could run most races no frills but we all have different tastes I guess.
Moving on to race day. I like to eat breakfast before races and we left at 5. No traffic (for once) up there and we got to the starting line where we chatted with various people. Since there were so many races going on this weekend, I didn’t see many of my Hampton Roads Friends…I thought I might do a warmup but never did. I didn’t have many expectations for this race really because it was already hot, the course itself is really hilly and I knew (from the website…I didn’t actually know that when I ran it 2 years ago) it was certified as long.
Like I said, my only warm up was me sprinting with my shoe untied to the bag drop off because it was the last call for that. Somehow dad and I were one of the first people there at 6, yet I was literally the last one to give them my bag. I lined up at the start and just chatted with a couple of people at the start. I noticed the 1:30 pacer was near me at the start and I asked if this was a chatty 1:30 pace group.
He said I know of no other way…which was fine by me.
And with that we were off. For the first mile we ran a 5:57. Hmmm not really 1:30 pace but I wasn’t complaining. For the first mile I was pretty hidden in with a pack of people. I was feeling pretty good so decided to break away into my own little world. I was a bit distraught because I was already hot and we were running in shade and hadn’t even begun to reach hills.
Around mile 2, I noticed there was a cyclist near me. In my mind I was like…does this mean I am number 1…am I going to have a cyclist like an elite runner. Oooh neato. The cyclist introduced herself as Cindi and said she would be following the number 1 female. I think I about fainted on the course I felt so cool. I literally said, YES someone to chat too the entire race. She said I didn’t have to chat, but I said honestly I’m the most talkative person you’ll ever meet and I was so excited. I’m sure I looked like the worlds biggest clown. (6:30).
Mile 3 we started some rolling hills and I just remember it being hot. (6:36). Actually scratch that miles 3-6 were pretty hilly and hot. That’s all I really remember and going around a parking lot to a Harris Teeter. (6:40, 6:42, 6:42).
Mile 7 we started along an out and back course where I saw the first overall male followed closely by the second. He had a car he was following with a giant clock posted on it. I said I was really glad that I didn’t have to worry about that…I would physically hate to be running chasing a clock. With four or five people just sitting there while I’m on the pain train. Plus neither of them got to chat with a cylist…though it seemed that neither of them would have been interested. (6:47)
The hills from mile 8-10 were pretty brutal and it was directly in the sun. The good thing about this part was that since it was an out and back loop there was so much support! I personally really like out and back courses because I love feeling people’s energy and it gets me more pumped up. That is something I never had for swimming (since you are staring at the bottom of the pool and no one is down there…you hope). People were cheering for everyone and with your name on the bib it was easy (I wish I had put LOLZ though). (6:53, 7:01, 6:43). I saw dad too which always lifts my spirits. Mile 10 was actually pretty difficult too because after seeing so much spirit for the last 3 miles you go into no mans land. I think it was probably the only mile I wasn’t chatting because I was just trying to make it through.
So with that we entered mile 11 my least favorite mile of the race because you are dead from the rolling hills. It’s hot and humid and all of a sudden they go…BONUS ROUND and up a steep highway interchange you go. (7:05).
Mile 12 was just perusing back by the start and by this time I was tired. I am normally able to drop the pace a bit and just cruise to the finish line but it was so hot and my hair had turned into an afro. I was looking real cute but knew we were getting close to the stadium so tried to pick it up as best as possible. We began to see spectators again as well as the William and Mary campus and for some odd reason whenever I know there is 1.75 miles left to go I get really excited…I have no idea why but I do that for every distance. (6:38).
Mile 13 was a bit of blur and I remember running through a sprinkler, learning Cindi worked on the William and Mary campus and then getting to the end of the race (it ends on the track). I entered the track all by myself and saw mile 13 as well as the finish line on the other side. They announced: The number 1 female is on the track and honestly it still feels surreal to me. I didn’t know what to do (besides keep running…derp) and then saw I was going to break a tape. At that point I had a mini panic. What do you do when you break the tape. Do I grab the tape. Do I just run through, what if it closed lined me. What happens. More thoughts flooded my mind in that five minutes then other part of the race. So I just kept running and threw my hands up because that is what I remember from other people breaking the tape. (By other people I mean woman, because after researching I see woman throw their hands up and men just run right through like Mac trucks).
I finished in 1:29.10 (overall 6:42 pace) which with all the hills, humidity and heat I’m completely happy with. (I’m always happy to finish injury free). Though this was about 4 minutes slower then my Pr half last month, This was a humbling experience and honestly this race just made me feel so awesome. It is certainly a contender for one of my favorite races and one of the races. I can’t say I have any more half marathons for a while (not until Labor Day) but who knows.
Question for you:
What has been your favorite race to date?
That is tough for me. This one, Nike Woman’s half last year or two years ago my first overall win at the Allen Stone Run-Swim-Run. All are in my top three but I’ve honestly enjoyed 95% of races I’ve done.