A lot goes through my mind the days prior to a race. It doesn’t matter the distance or my level of preparedness. I always mull over the same thoughts:
This past Saturday was the last leg of my King Crab Challenge: the Baltimore Marathon. In the days leading up it hadn’t hit me that I was running a marathon that weekend. I felt great, relaxed, and not too worried. I was happy because I had completed my training plan – all of it – without a hitch, something I had yet to do. I was ready. I was more than ready. I would own that course.
This past weekend I ran my second race since my fracture. I really wasn’t feeling up to this run so I just told myself I would aim for a finish.
The packet pick up was very nice and organized. It was at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. It was a super tiny expo compared to what I’ve been to but it was extremely nice. I ended up buying a pair of New Balance Minimus cross-trainers for only $50. They were ones that a customer tried out for a run or two and didn’t like. They were practically brand new so I didn’t hesitate to get them. After we were done there, we checked into the Marriot and met a friend for dinner.
For the run I had packed a tank top and shorts. It was really warm for the RnR so I assumed that this would be no different. I was wrong. It was 54 when we left for the start. Luckily I had packed my Brookes lightweight jacket so I wore that during our walk to the start. Once we were there I drank my pre-race drink (some form of Starbucks coffee..tall size so I wouldn’t overwhelm my bladder, lol). Runners separated themselves since there were no corrals. That kind of sucked but people were actually pretty good at separating themselves. Before I knew it we were off.
During the first half of the run
After the turn-around point (half-way mark). I was feeling great
After I crossed the finish line
There really isn’t much to comment about this race. It was a really pleasant run and almost entirely flat. There were two gradual inclines and they were at the first mile and right before the turnover point. We ran the entire time along the Potomac River and through a park (I’m not sure which park as I am not too familiar with the DC area). I really enjoyed it.
They served Gatorade at the water stations which was great after I hit the 8 mile marker. They didn’t have GU or anything else, though, which kind of sucked since I usually need it for those last 3 miles. Still, I was able to run the first 8-9 miles without stopping. I really felt great during the run. After that I stopped twice: once because my thigh started to lock up and once because my hip flexor started to lock up. Once I stretched it, though, I didn’t have an issue picking my pace back up. I was able to maintain about a 9 minute pace which was slow to me but pretty good consider my lack of training. I ended up finishing 995th at 1:58:40. It’s not a PR but it’s definitely a lot better than my RnR time. Once we crossed the finish we received out challenge coins and water. They didn’t have much in the sense of post-race food but I wasn’t feeling their food anyway. They had bananas, apples, cookies, muffins, and gummy candy. I ended up buying a pretzel on my walk back to our hotel (it had to be the most delicious tasting pretzel I’ve ever had). Izzy ate my banana so the food didn’t go to waste, lol.
Challenge coin front and back
After I showered back out our hotel we checked out and started heading home. We did get stopped, though, on Pennsylvannia Avenue by Secret Service Police. Why? Because the POTUS was on his way out. I got to see his 9ish SUV escort, police escort, and personal fire truck/ambulance go by. I definitely was really cool.
Super official cop car
The race was a great time and I would definitely run it again =). Up next is the Crawlin’ Crab in Hampton in 2 weeks. Here’s hoping for more improvement!
On a whim, I decided to run the Williamsburg “Run For The Dream” 8K and half marathon. 2 weeks after registering, I found myself facing one of the hottest days I’ve even run…
Packet pick up started on Thursday but because of work, we couldn’t go until Friday afternoon. Of course, that day one of the LCDRs at CNMOC (our boss down in Bay St. Louis) needed to have a telecon with us so I had to stick around until 1630. Boo. After sitting in a ton of traffic, we made it to the pick up center. This was a fairly small run so the expo wasn’t much to talk about. However, they were extremely organized and pick up was such an ease. I really appreciated that. We didn’t do much up there and opted to head home afterwards.
Since we live in Chesapeake, it takes us about 45-60 minutes to get up to Williamsburg. However, we left so early in the morning, it only took us about 45 minutes. We found the parking garage fairly easily and headed over to the start area. Unlike other races I had been to, this race allowed packet pick up the day of the race. They were extremely organized as well. The start area was probably one of the calmest ones I’ve been to. Though we had written down our expected finish time, the corrals were self-regulated. It wasn’t too bad, though, because most people were actually realistic about their running skill. I say most because there were still those walkers who decided they wanted to be up front. I tried to steer clear as this 8K was also a Master’s final race. This race was way more important for them.
The race started right on time. There was a group of 6 soldiers marching the 8K with a 180 lb dummy to simulate the adage of “no man left behind”. Much respect to those men as they were in full battle dress and kevlar. The run started out great. The first mile was fairly flat which felt awesome. I, however, forgot that this was Williamsburg and Williamsburg has many hills. Seriously. I had no clue what I got myself into. The rest of the race was on rolling hills in the broad sunlight. It was about 75 degrees that day but humidity was at around 85%. It sucked. Bad. I managed to maintain a 7:30 pace for the first half but then the heat started getting to me and I pulled back a bit. I crossed the line at 39:54. Not exactly my best time but I think I did fairly well considering I haven’t trained for hills.
I look in pain because I was hurting from all the heat. It really sucked.
After going through the runner chute we went over to the after party and I had half a beer. I got my band for the Patriot Challenge and then we went home. I just wanted a shower, lol.
Smile glued on my face because I was so glad to get out of there and the heat.
The next day we arrived an hour earlier since the race was an hour earlier. No Starbucks was open so I couldn’t get my usual pre-race coffee. I settled for an apple and we headed to the start area again. This was also self-regulated when it came to the corrals but this time we had pacers that helped people segregate themselves for their finish time. I was shooting for a 1:45 finish but I knew that may not happen due to how hot it was already and the hilly course. It was in the mid-70s, but there seemed to be a nice breeze this time. The race began about 5 minutes late but that wasn’t too bad considering I’ve been in one where it was delayed 30 minutes. Off we went on our journey and I settled into a nice, easy, slow pace. My goal was for a finish this time around, not a PR.
The entire run was non-stop rolling hills. There were many steep inclines and some really long, gradual inclines. Thankfully, they had marked the route so that it went through a well shaded area. I didn’t feel nearly as hot as I had the day before and I continued on my merry way feeling great. I ended up finishing at 1:55:59. Lol. It was really close. That wasn’t bad considering I said if I couldn’t maintain the 1:45 pace I was hoping to get it under 2 hours. That included long walking breaks in the last 3 miles. I felt great, though.
So, so glad to be done with all those dang hills. Ugh.
We headed over to the runner party and I grabbed my Patriot Challenge medal. I headed over to gave my beer and we sat down so that Manuel could eat and I could drink my beer.
I forgot to bring my 8K medal (boo). Half marathon on the left, Patriot’s Challenge on the right.
Manuel’s boss was there. He lives in Williamsburg and is the runner that does a running streak (essentially, the guy that gave me the idea to start my own). He was such a great and motivational man. I just loved how positive and encouraging he was. He finished just under 1:30 and I told him I hoped to once day run as fast as him. He told me given my history with running and how much I’ve improved in a short amount of time, I was a natural runner and in no time I’ll be beating the pants off of other runners. It was really nice of him to say. I’m really reconsidering running groups now because he’s in one. I didn’t realize how nice runners can be. I’ve run into a lot of elitist runners who don’t think you’re good enough to be among them. Crazy, right?
All in all it was a great race weekend. I definitely realized I needed new shoes after this race because my feet took a beating due to how worn down they are. I also realized that I never want to run a race in the late spring/ early summer again (at least, not in VA). This was my last run until September. Now I have nothing but 3 months of training ahead of me.