You can see the first part of this recap here.
After a fitful night of sleep, I woke up at 6:00, ready for my 7:00 race. Unfortunately the forecast the night before said that it was supposed to rain into the afternoon, and when I got up, the weatherman was right. It was pouring outside.
I had laid out all of my clothes the night before, and decided to do french braid pigtails, a hair style that always proved beneficial during rainy field hockey games, as my wet hair stayed in place and out and the way.
I was ready to go. Tired, but ready.
I left my hotel and walked over with someone else in my hotel who was running the race. It was only drizzling at this point, so I was hopeful that the rain would hold up until after the race, but I was wrong. Shorty after it started pouring again.
The corrals were located right outside of the Amtrak station, so while most people stood in the rain, I waited inside the station for it to get closer to 7:00. The race didn’t start for about 15 minutes until after the projected time due to the police trying to figure out road closures. I managed to find a comfortable place just outside of my corral under someone’s umbrella, which made the wait more tolerable.
As my corral started to move forward, I was finally able to get inside the gate, and I was off. Overall the course was pretty good, though hillier than I expected. I actually should have been ready for the hills, as the course elevation map from the race’s website shows the following:
The hills kind of messed me up, especially that big overall incline between miles 3.5 and 5.5. I did see a sign at the beginning of one of the hills though that said, “next hill at 7.8 miles,” which was somewhat inspiring and kept me going.
The biggest problem with the race was definitely the rain. My shorts had completely absorbed all of the water and were definitely weighing me down. I found myself wringing water out of them throughout the race. I also spoke to a woman who had to safety pin her running skirt because the water was weighing it down so much it wouldn’t stay up.
Here is me at mile I-have-no-idea, completely soaked and ready to be done.
The other problem with the rain was that my headphones were soaking wet and I couldn’t listen to my music because they kept falling me out. This wouldn’t have been a big deal on a sunny day, but because it was raining it was absolutely necessary. You see, because of the heavy rain all morning, probably about half of the bands weren’t outside playing. No live music results in too much quiet and too much time for me to think about how crappy it was. This was also kind of disappointing because I feel like having live music is one of the things that makes the Rock ‘n Roll races so big. Each mile there is something to pump you up. That being said, the bands that did play were awesome and I have a lot of respect for them for sticking it out (even if they were put under tents!).
The course support was also really awesome. There were a ton of volunteers standing in the miserable rain, handing out water, Cytomax, and Gu. And there were still people outside cheering, which at times, really kept me going. One part I distinctly remember was approaching a highway overpass, and from hundreds of yards away, you could hear people screaming. When I finally got to the overpass, there were a bunch of middle school-aged cheerleaders screaming for all of the runners. That definitely made me feel like a rock star.
A couple of other notes about the race.
The last few miles of the race were a struggle to keep going, mostly because it was so crappy out and I was so tired. But the good thing is, they were flat. As I turned a corner, I saw a sign for the 12-mile marker. I immediately got really excited, until I realized that that sign was for the runners coming back from a two mile stretch and my sign, on my side of the road, had the 10-mile marker. At this point two miles shouldn’t have felt like a big deal, but thinking I was one mile away when I really had three to go briefly killed me. And, running past all of the people that were almost done also had its ups and downs. In a way, it sucked because hey, those people were almost done and I still had a few miles to go. But at the same time, it was inspiring, because I knew I would be coming back passing people at some point and then I would be almost done.
I’d say about a tenth of the last .15 of the last mile was up a crappy hill. It really sucked. By then I was honestly absolutely dead, but I pushed it up the hill and by the time I made it to the top I wanted to collapse. But, I didn’t. Instead, I ran the last fifth of a mile or so, and then, I was done.
Considering the injuries I faced only a few days prior to my race time, and all the panicking I did, I was really happy with my time. I expected a time around 2:11 (a 10-minute mile average pace), and I managed to pull off a time of 2:11:50. I’d say that is pretty awesome for my first half marathon.
I was so, so tired, but so happy that I did it. I can officially call myself a half marathoner.
After grabbing a banana, some Snickers Marathon bars, a bottle of Cytomax and water, I temporarily got lost (as I do), and then eventually
limped found my way back to the hotel.
Clearly, I was thrilled. I did it.
And, even though it took me a couple days to recover, I think I want to do another one. And, I booked a hotel at a currently undisclosed location to do another one. We’ll see how training goes, but I can definitely see how people get hooked on this stuff. I felt a sense of accomplishment I’ve never felt before.