I love J&A Races; in fact, the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon is one of my favorite half marathons in general. It’s fun, flat, and unless it’s hot and humid, it’s fast.
The nice thing about blogging is I can look back and see what I’ve run in previous years, including a 1:30.02 and 1:32.29 (LOL). My goal beforehand was to run around 1:28. When I arrived on race day and determined how I felt, I knew that would not be an option. Sometimes you feel bad but run fast. Sometimes you feel bad and run bad. Sunday was the latter.
To be clear, any race I can finish healthy is not all bad. Some races just don’t go as you planned, and that was the case for me. Two weeks ago, on a much more challenging course in San Francisco, I ran around 1:29.30. I expected to at least run that on a flatter course.
I arrived at the race around 6:30, with it going off at 7:30. After scrambling around for some pins, I lined up. I had a few friends running, so I chatted with them. By the time I knew it, we were off. The moment the gun went off, it felt like a struggle. I felt stiff and tired. I was hoping for a miracle that gave my legs a boost, but it didn’t come.
I ran the first mile of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon in 6:42. I thought: Maybe I do have a 1:28 after all. For some weird reason, I kept clinging on to hope. I knew it was also going to be in the 70s towards the finish line. It’s usually hot in Hampton around that time, and this year was no different. However, to be fair, we had slightly cooler weather than several times before.
The second mile of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon is relatively flat, and I ran a 6:48. There was not much of a note, and I just kept trotting along. I grabbed water and Nuun at every stop.
The next few miles continued with very little excitement. I can’t say I minded. I just focused one mile at a time. I was evaluated how I was feeling, and I ran a 6:51, 6:47, 6:45. These were pretty much my last miles in the 6s.
I got a nice boost from seeing one of my favorite race directors Jerry (J of the J&A Racing). He said it was nice to see, and honestly, it was great to see him too. I honestly cannot say enough good things about all of the J&A races, and even on my “worst days,” I always have a good time. Plus, I enjoy seeing the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon race director out on course cheering.
As we headed into mile 5, I just told myself to get to the halfway point. We headed around Hampton, and I focused on running tangents well. I did not feel like running longer than I needed.
At mile 6 of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon, we headed along the waterfront. This is one of the most scenic parts of the Crawling Crab. On a good weather day, it’s flat and fast. On a bad weather day, you get wind, and it’s hot. This year was the latter, and we ran right into a headwind. Even the leaders said they slowed significantly. I knew we were nearly halfway, which kept me motivated. Then I saw my good friend Susan, and I grabbed Nuun from her. That broke up the nearly 2 miles along the water.
I ran a 7:02 followed by a 7:00. I told myself: ok, headwind done; now we just should enter the tailwind. Around mile 10 of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon, we did get a nice tailwind. My motivation was “just a 5k left”. A long 5k that involved running over a couple of freeway overpasses. But still just a 5k.
I grabbed Nuun and marched on. At mile 11 of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon, two women passed me and put me into 6th place. No one wants to get passed period, but no one wants to get passed in the final miles of a half marathon. I knew there was no way I was recatching them. I focused on running my own race.
I sailed down the overpass, and we had half a mile to go by the time I knew it. I focused on smiling for the race photographers but ended it ended up being an awkward grimace smile. I finished the last mile in 7:00, which I felt ok about.
I crossed the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon at 1:32.32, which is my slowest time in the best weather at the Crawlin Crab. I still had a good time, and while it wasn’t what I wanted, they all couldn’t be. I would have loved to be around 1:28, but it wasn’t my day.
If you are ever looking for a flat and fast course, the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon has potential. It can be hot and humid, but that is also a risk of any east-coast race in October. You can count on a well-marked course, with plenty of on-course aid and fun times. Would I rerun the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon? Of course! This year my body just did not feel good.
Questions for you:
Have you run the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon?
What is one of your favorite races?