So, since it was such a last minute sign up, I didn’t really get the pre-race nerves. It actually worked out quite nice. Not something I would do on a regular basis, but it really did work out since it matched up with my training for the weekend and it was great to have the course support.
June and July were super hot, but August hasn’t been too bad, weather wise. That Sunday was beautiful. Not too hot, too cold. Actually, I had sweats on on the way to the race, and if my arm warmers were clean, I would have at least brought them to wear before the start.
I told J and O they didn’t have to come with me, since we had to get up super early, but my cheering squad was determined to join me! And I’m glad they did. J dropped me off close to the start while they went to park, and I found them right before the start. I loved my last smile and wave before starting.
We look way to happy for getting up so early on a Sunday morning.
I started out slow. I got a little antsy about that actually. While I set out knowing this was a training run/race, and I was trying hard to keep my heart rate steady (or I guess, trying hard to not try to hard and spike my heart rate), having a slower first mile than any of my recent races was hard to see. So, I did start a little discouraged.
The run was beautiful. After mile 2, the rest of the race (until running up the chute to the finish, which was the same place as the start) was on the W&OD. A few years ago, right before I got pregnant, J and I ran a 5k that started at the Loudoun Fairgrounds (they also had a half marathon that day, at that point I was all like, crazy people!). That course also used parts of the W&OD trail, including a hill that just seemed monstrous at the time. I think partially because it was windy, so I couldn’t see where it ended. So, the 20k covered this same hill. I think my second favorite part of this race was making it up this hill without a problem. Once we passed the entrance to the fairgrounds, I knew what was coming, and I may have panicked a little. But you guys, I just chugged on up and before I knew it, I was up and moving on. For the record, favorite part was going back down that hill. The second half of the race had more downhill action, so I felt much better after the turn around. There were no huge hills, but I could definitely pick up an incline on most of the first half of the run.
As I said, I felt better on the second half, or at least for most of it.
10 miles down and no walking. None. Not even through water stations, which was probably one of the biggest accomplishments of the race. I didn’t choke myself and shoot water up my nose while going through water stations, and I most definitely grabbed water at each station! I bent the top of the cup so it was more like a corner instead of rounded, and the funnel worked! I know it sounds funny to be so excited about not drowning myself with a dixie cup of water, but I can’t help it, I am.
This was the first time, I think, that I have run double digits without walking. Around 10 miles I hit a wall. All the sudden the easy pace I had been maintaining since mile two started getting slower and slower. One man and I had been going back and forth with each other, passing one another. The last time I passed him, he told me, “good job!” and when he passed me back, I cheered for him. And then he kept going, maintaining his pace, and I soon lost sight of him.
Miles 10-12 were tough. My hips hurt, my back hurt, I was tired, and I just felt like I would never be done. But I made it so far without stopping, and I knew I couldn’t give up just then. I had come too far and too close to a goal I thought unattainable. I knew how upset I would be if I walked even a couple steps at that point. That’s what kept me running. Truthfully, at that point, I thought I was going to cry when I crossed the finish. Mainly if I were able to keep running just a bit longer, partly because of the pain, and partly because whenever I know I’m going to reach a new achievement in running, I’m sure I’m going to cry (I have never cried yet while running, or at the finish of a race).
I saw my boys around mile 12. The thought of reaching my goal got me through miles 10-12, but they got me through 12-12.4. I had to smile and laugh when I saw them standing there for me on the last corner before the last hill to the finish. (I’ve said it before, but seriously? I ended a race going uphill again? Why does this always happen?) J ran O in his stroller with me for a couple minutes and then pulled off to the side by the finish.
I was way above my time goal, finishing in 2:24: something (apparently my bib didn’t register, my official time didn’t show up in the results). But I met what I thought would be my hardest goal and didn’t walk at all. I’m so happy and proud of myself for that.
1. Finish under 2:15. Nope, but that’s ok.
2. Only walk through water stations. Surpassed
3. Run the full race. CHECK!
Finished sweating pink and showing off the guns. I’m actually really proud of my arms in this picture, but please ignore the funny face.
And this weekend is a planned race, the Virginia Beach Rock n Roll Half Marathon. One year anniversary of my first half, and one year anniversary of J having meningitis. This is the same race I ran last Labor Day, and it feels like so much has happened in this year. A part of me knew once I ran one, I would sign up for other halves to see how I improved, but outwardly, I felt like this distance was a one and done type thing. I have been kind of on the fence with how I felt about running this again this year. I haven’t been stressed, I really haven’t thought much about it, because, really, how is it September already?
But this week, I started to get really excited about it. And nervous. But like excited nerves. Though, also like, um, I hope I can do as well as I want because I feel like I haven’t been as consistent with nutrition and training as I would have liked. But mostly excited. Last year, we didn’t really get to celebrate or enjoy the after party. I didn’t realize how much this race would take out of me. I was so incredibly sore and exhausted afterward. I just wanted to sit and do nothing. We thought J was getting over meningitis, but on our way down, started getting worse again (he ended up in the hospital again for a week the following night). It was kind of a mess.
This year, we’re both healthy. We’ve both come so far in our training, and it will be great to run this with J (and by that I mean, see him before the race and have him waiting for me at the end, having finished much earlier than me. But I’m so excited to celebrate at the end and just relax after and enjoy the post race festivities. Goals aside, that’s really my plan for this weekend.
But, it wouldn’t be a race if I didn’t set goals.
1. Walk only through water stations. I’ve proven to myself I can run at least 12.4 miles without walking, but I want to feel stronger at the end this weekend than I did at the 20k.
2. Beat last year’s time (2:41:28)
3. PR (under 2:19:23)