Yes, it was hard. Yes, I am visibly limpy today because Holy Hell does my knee hurt. But yes, I am definitely doing another 1/2 marathon.
Here is the low-down.
We (me and two of my friends who were running as well) left Saturday morning around 10:30am from home, and with stopping for lunch we were in Kill Devil Hills around 3:00pm. We headed straight for the expo to pick up our race packets and see what the expo was all about. And yes, I picked up Ray's packet as well and texted a picture of his bib to him, because I am a nice wife like that. Actually, I just thought it was cool because our names were on the bibs. The only not-nice thing I have to say about the race was the fact that I registered for a small shirt, and I got a medium, which is actually more like a large. So that sucked, but really in the grand scheme of things, that was no big deal. I picked up a cool headband and some arm warmers at the expo as well. We checked into the hotel after the expo, hit Walmart and then headed to my favorite pizza place in the Outer Banks - Tomato Patch in Corolla. We filled up on spaghetti and headed back to the hotel for an early bed time where we all fretted over what we were going to wear for the race.
The weather was supposed to be mid-50s, but we were worried about the wind. I was pissed because the one of the arm warmers I bought was too big at the top of my arm and I wasn't sure I wanted to wear it. In the end I did and I was fine.
I think we were in bed by 10:00pm for a not-so-good night's sleep. I know I tossed and turned and by the time 5:00am rolled around, I was ready to get up and get the show on the road.
Right on schedule, we were out of the hotel and to the start by 6:30am. And it was crazy! The lines to the port-o-potties were huge. With 3,500 runners in the half, there was no way there were enough toilets. I checked my bag for the end of the race and found the 2:30:00 pacer. The plan was to start with the 2:30:00 pacer, and then hopefully go ahead at some point. I was worried about starting too fast, but I shouldn't worry about that with a race with this many people. Our first mile was slow because there were so many people around us. And we pretty much left the 2:30:00 pacer behind by the half mile mark. Here we are at the start (me and my friend Wendy, my other friend Stella was starting with the 2:15:00 pacer in hopes of beating 2:10:00, which she did). I am on the left, bib 6611. Yes, I am wearing Virginia Tech running shorts. Wendy's husband Matt came to be our photographer. In fact, he got up and drove from Raleigh at 2:30am in the morning to be there at the start.
Mile 1 - 11:06
Mile 2 - 10:31
Mile 3 - 10:31
We were right on track those first couple of miles. I felt great, and the miles were seriously ticking right by. The course was awesome and flat and the weather was perfect.
Mile 4 - 10:42
This is where we saw Matt, Wendy's husband for the first time after the start. I ditched my arm warmers at this point and we kept trucking.
Mile 5 - 10:32
Mile 6 - 10:28
Mile 7 - 10:20
Those miles were great. We were in and out of neighborhoods, there were spectators, the Sound to look at. Nothing was hurting, no cramps. I took a Gu at about Mile 6 and took some water at each water stop. The course was well equipped with water stops and medical stations.
Mile 8 - 10:37
This mile started the straightaway to the bridge, the only hill on the course. It was starting to go uphill from here.
Mile 9 - 10:39
Mile 10 - 10:36
Mile 10 was actually right before the crest of the bridge, right at the top. Wendy and I seriously hauled ass up the bridge, passing people left and right. And then once on the other side of Mile 10, I felt like I was really running down the incline.
Mile 11 - 10:17
And I was. This was my fastest mile, and the last mile I have data from the Garmin Wendy was wearing (I really, REALLY want one now). At Mile 11, right after we turned to head to downtown Manteo, Wendy started to pull ahead and I started to hurt. Between Mile 11 and 12 were the absolute hardest part of the race. I had some serious pain in my left leg all the way from my hip to my ankle. Both my knees felt like they were on fire. And I am not a wuss, seriously, my threshold for pain is pretty high, but this hurt. Plus, I was on the other side of 11 miles, and 11 miles was the longest run I had ever done. My body had never gone this far. So I started to have a little pity party for myself. I saw a neighbor (who's husband finished 28th for the half!) and I am sure she thought that I was dying. I was sort of running limping and probably had a terrible look on my face. It was right after her I started to cry. I wanted to walk, but I was so close to my goal. And then I saw Mile 12 and I thought "only a mile left, SUCK IT UP and get this thing over." And I did. My legs sort of went numb and I ran. And I felt better. My friend Stella was right at the end, cheering me on as I crossed the finish line: 2:21:03 (yes, totally kicking myself as I realized pretty close to the end that I could have finished in under 2:20:00, but oh well. Next time.).
Chip time: 2:21:03 - 10:47 pace
196/373 for my age, 1023/2213 for femalesWendy, me and Stella at the finish.
So yes, there will be another one despite how horrible my left knee feels at this point. The excitement of the race, the thrill of finishing 13.1 miles was so cool, I can't explain it. Plus, I know Ray really wants to run one, and I would love to do one with him. I am eyeing Myrtle Beach Half Marathon in February, and I am pretty sure I am in for the Disney Princess Half in March. For now, I am going to lay low on running for this week. I have a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day to do where Ray thinks he will beat me, so I need to be in top shape for that.
Anyone wants to train with me, let me know...