Spring, wherefore art thou? It's snowing this morning!
I have raced (and PR'd!) the past two weekends (this weekend is a blissfully light one!): a 5k that doubled as a run test, and the Shamrock 1/2 marathon in Virginia beach. The 5k was a great neighborhood event in Forest Hills that I ran with Sharon, Lynn, Molly and Maddy. It was "canine friendly," so leashed dogs could run with you, and a nice little one hill course winding through the park. The hill was a beast though. My mile splits were roughly a 7:46, 9:15, and 8:30. Sophie was having a ball, and would've won top dog had I been able to run faster. Pictures show all of us in the background:
Race morning was early, but for whatever reason I didn't hear my alarm go off. I rolled out of bed at 5:19 and we were due to leave the house at 5:45! Ack. Over coffee in the kitchen Bart and I looked at eachother at 5:40 and had a moment's panic--overnight the winds had picked up considerably and we weren't relishing the thought of battling a headwind for the first half of the race. Down the coffee and jump in the race clothes--weather be damned! I was putting my shoes on and wondered why my "new" shoes felt so roomy....same socks I normally wear. I turned on the light to see I had grabbed the wrong shoes. The ones I brought that had been lying on the floor of my closet weren't the new ones--instead they were over a year old and had absolutely NO liner/insole/orthotic! Over a quick skype with Joe, I was feeling totally screwed. Bethany wasn't feeling quite herself either, so we had a mini pity party but we decided quickly that we couldn't not race, so may as well make the best of it. At that point I was resigned to at least a couple of good sized blisters.
Off we went, speeding toward the Virginia Beach oceanfront. Parking was going to be a bear, but I showed Bart our secret lot next to a 7-11 that no one knew about. We gathered up our stuff, kissed Bart goodbye, and headed up to the race start at a nice jog. WINDY! We dropped off my post-race bag and lined up for a last pee at the portapotties. Found Lynn and Sharon and good-luck-hugs all around. The national anthem was playing while we made our way to the starting corral. Bethany and I had the same time goal in mind, but given how we were feeling back at the house, we knew it was going to be a mile by mile race to overcome and agreed that if either was "feeling it" to go on ahead. After standing around for another 5 minutes, it was time to start!
In discussing the race plan with Jen, we agreed that I would start out conservatively. Build and hold was my mantra. First three miles I'm always afraid of starting out too fast, or not fast enough... Our mile times were good: 9:25, 9:14, and 9:17. Right past mile 3, the course turns west as you head to Fort Story and the trees provided some nice wind break. I felt good. Bethany told me to go on ahead, so I did. I knew several runners around me were aiming for about a 2:00 half, so I decided if I could keep my pace steady, hang with them, I'd probably be ok. The race clock at mile 5 said 47minutes and change, but was from the first gun. I was doing good! I vowed not to look at my watch until mile 10--just keep this pace and I should be fine, and don't walk the water stops. Between mile 7 and 8, the course is right along the beach, and man did it get windy! I found a tall guy running my pace and I tucked in right behind him and let him break the wind. I gu'd every 3 miles, and tried to drink a little water in between. My feet were definitely feeling the rubbing in the shoes but it was nothing horribly unbearable. My splits for miles 4-10 were 8:47, 9:00, 8:50, 8:46, 8:47, 8:55, and 8:56.
Mile 10 is close to the gate leaving the Fort, and I finally looked at my watch. I was right at 1:30:00 so I knew then that I was going to make a sub 2 hour half. I was totally pumped! At this point I knew I could do it even at a 10 min mile pace, but wanted to be under that 2 hour mark by as much as I had left in me. The next mile went pretty quick (8:44), but then the fatigue started to settle in and the legs started to hurt. Mile 12 was a 9:05 and I told myself the faster I ran, the sooner I was done but my legs felt like there was no turnover left. Halfway through mile 12 you turn back onto the boardwalk and hit the wind again. One of the race pics taken at this point isn't very flattering of me; I was in pain! That tall guy from mile 7/8 showed up right beside me and told me to push it in. I asked him to carry me please! Final mile was a 8:54, and the last .2 miles (I started my watch before crossing the start line) was 1:30. My official time was 1:57:59--I did it!!!
Melissa was right behind me, also with a 1:58, and the rest of our peeps came in shortly after that. We all had great times!!! It was time for a beer!
Nikki was a dear and let the kids sleep in and brought them down post race to the beer tent. We made it through 2 beers and decided it was time for pancakes! Oh my legs hurt so bad. Walking up to Pocahontas Pancake House, the wind was blowing and we cheered for the marathoners running by. Bart, Bethany, kids and I headed back to the beach house to let the dogs out and take a well deserved nap. And yes, I did have some pretty gnarly blisters.