I'm only a week late posting this but better late than never, right? On Sunday November 18th, I ran my 2nd half marathon. I was nervous and unsure but also really excited. I left Jack and Sidney at home (it was pretty cold and the only shelter was in the car) and got there with plenty of time to spare.
Packet pickup was at a picnic shelter and the start of the race was a little walk away on the towpath, which is also where the race took place. It ended up being an out and back- 6.5 miles out, turn around, and come back to finish. The runners doing the full marathon had to do 2 out and backs. I can't even imagine!
There weren't very many runners and once we got started and everyone spread out, I was last. There wasn't a single person behind me. I tried not to think about it and reminded myself I needed to run my race and keep a pace that was comfortable for me. I was pretty sure I'd have to walk at some point and I knew it would be a difficult race (not the terrain but my lack of preparedness). I just wanted to take it easy.
It was a beautiful run. On one side we had the C&O Canal and on the other side was the Potomac River. There were other people out walking dogs or doing their own runs. It was great. There weren't any clocks, mile markers, or other distractions.
I was so happy to see the turn around point. There was someone there recording bib numbers so no one could cheat and turn around sooner. It was a manually recorded but electronically recognized timing system. There was also a gentleman with bowls of oranges and bananas as well as water and coke. I took some water and an orange slice, finished, and was on my way. That ended up being the only time I stopped. I never walked like I had expected to!
The last few miles seemed to take forever. I had had some Shot Blocks, but I was hungry. I was tired and really wanted to see the finish. I kept thinking about the pizza that they said would be there after the race. I couldn't wait for a slice of pizza! Somewhere in the last mile I increased my speed. After a while I cursed, wondering where the finish line was. I was afraid I had sped up too soon. I just kept going, knowing it would end eventually.
As soon as I caught a glimpse of the finish, I did what I do best and let go. I gave it all I had and finished strong. The clock said 2 hours, 43 minutes. I wasn't sure what the seconds were but I knew it was close to beating my previous time. I couldn't believe it! I was handed my medal- my first (last time I got a necklace) and went searching for the pizza. There were 2 empty boxes and a 3rd box with one slice left! I grabbed it and enjoyed that cold slice all the way to the bathroom. But then it dawned on me...there were still a lot of runners out there doing the full marathon. I really hope they were planning on getting more pizza for them!
I ended up finishing ahead of 3 other women doing the half. I might start out slow but I finish strong!
Here's a pic I took before the race. I feel like I have a weird look on my face but I was freezing!
My first medal:
And my official race photo:
I'll definitely run this race in May if I don't get into the Nike Women's Half in DC the week before. I don't know if I want to do back-to-back half marathons, especially when I'm also doing one in March. We'll see! Either way it'll be a busy and awesome spring!