It was an amazingly beautiful day. It was a day filled with in-person and virtual support beyond what i anticipated. Although hubby is on the injured list for running, he brought his bike so he could find me several times on the course.
I have an amazing group of online running friends, one of whom lives close enough to where the event was located that she came to cheer. Not only did she arrive to cheer, but she brought a sign, with messages from the other amazing ladies in our group. BEST. SIGN. EVER!!!
Another bonus was spending time with a high school friend, both at the expo on Saturday, and before/after the race on Sunday. I’ll get back to her later in this post.
It started out on the chilly side, temp around 40, but was supposed to be crystal clear with bright sun and warm up into the 60s. A little hard to figure out what to wear. In order to try and avoid being too hot later, I dressed for the warmth, but boy, was I freezing at the start. So cold, that my leg muscles were feeling pretty tight. Luckily I’m such a slow runner that I felt I would be okay in terms of my muscles warming up once the starting gun went off.
It is an overall great course, with great volunteers and spectators. The worst part of the course (in my opinion) is an early out-n-back on roads with very cambered (slanted) surfaces. It’s not a flat course, lots of hills, most shorter and steeper, and I knew where they all were from previous times I participated. I felt like I was keeping a reasonable pace, pretty much on target for my PR, even with the hills, up until mile 10ish. There were quite a few hills in the beautiful parkway area of the course, and though I didn’t realize it, I must have lost some time in there.
Hubby was amazing and found me multiple times along the way, which really helped and made me happy. He was also my own personal course photographer. Here are two of my favorites, where you can see the beauty of the middle course miles .
In the past, I have had IT Band issues on this course, due to the cambered surfaces and the steeper downhills. I was able to make it to mile 12 before it happened this time. I was close enough to the finish that I pushed through and kept running. It’s a long last half mile-ish at the end, where you can hear the announcer and see the stadium, but it doesn’t seem to get closer as fast as you think it should be getting closer.
I had spent time during my miles thinking about my family and friends and using them as inspiration. I made sure to thank first responders, race volunteers and even some spectators. I knew I wanted to finish strong with or without a PR (I had figured out around mile 11 that the PR was not happening). Just about when I was ready to fade, my high school friend showed up. She had finished (a lot) earlier, ran her own PR, and stayed to wait for me. Not only that, but she ran back along the course to find me and run me in. Her timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
That’s her on the right in the blue, and my running friend clapping on the left. They both ran with me up the final hill into the stadium while hubby took the pics and cheered. I felt so many warm fuzzies! I did finish strong and I felt the best ever after a finish. I missed a PR by 1:04, but ran my best time in 7 years by almost 3 minutes.
The quads and IT Band are sore, I’m feeling the ouch today, but I am using that as a reminder of a great day. I feel so lucky that I was able to spend the weekend with my parents, get cheering and props from my girls, have the support of my hubby and my amazing friends, and have my hard work this training cycle pay off.
I also may have registered for another Half at the expo…as well as a 5k and a 10k the day before…uh oh!
Thank you to EVERYONE who was part of my support crew, near and far!!