Saturday morning Maddux, my nice friend, and I headed down to Hampton, VA, for the Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon weekend. I was beyond excited for this race because it's by J&A Racing, which has put on probably my favorites races I've ever done (Wicked 10k, Virginia is for Lovers, and the Shamrock Half Marathon--my first and best half!). All the races have been extremely well organized and lots of fun. I was also excited because we were right around my old college city so I got to see some of my old haunts.
Our first stop was to Plaza, my all time favorite Mexican restaurant. I was so happy to see two of my favorite servers there and it was great to catch up with them for a few minutes. (They still know me after a few years of being away...can you tell I went there maybe too much? One of the servers even knows my mom and offered to be my at school mom when she found out my parents were moving to Pennsylvania!).
|So many memories...good times with good friends :-)|
Since we had Maddux, we got our food to go and had a nice picnic out on the Noland Trail, which is where I put in the majority of my college miles, and is one of my favorite places in the world. Maddux was so happy exploring new territory.
Once we got to Hampton, we checked into our hotel and went straight over to the expo. It was small, so I didn't spend much time there, but the volunteers were all extremely friendly. The best part? I got to see my best friend! She decided to run her very first half marathon! Yay Ashley!
|This is us looking pretty along with my amazing college roommate. We didn't take a sweaty picture because it was raining and we are responsible adults who take care of our phones now :-)|
I woke up on race day with all kinds of nerves. I foam rolled, ate a Power Bar, and drank some G2 and water and finally headed out the door to meet up with Ashley and her friend before the race. The sky was gray, but the temperatures were nice and cool which was encouraging. After chatting for a little while, we headed to our corrals and awaited the start. The race announcer was dressed as a crab which made me smile. As we started off, my legs felt surprisingly fresh and I was feeling pretty optimistic about the race, even though I tried to convince myself not to set my expectations too high and to just enjoy the race. When the first mile marker came into view I looked down and saw that I was at 9:15. My first thought was "OH MY GOSH I HAVE TO SLOW DOWN!!!!!!!!!" A 9:15 pace is fine for a few miles, but I knew that definitely wasn't happening for an entire race.
The first 5 miles flew by. I smiled knowing that at mile 4 I felt like I hadn't been running more than a few minutes. The course was mostly flat. A lot of the miles weren't too exciting and just along streets where you would pass a McDonald's or something, but some of the miles were along the James River and absolutely gorgeous. I laughed because I had assigned a mile to a bunch of my friends and family so that I would be held accountable (who wants a crappy mile?) and my brother left a message on my Facebook saying he would be honored if I walked his mile, mile 8. His mile ended up being my favorite! It was all along the river, there was a guitarist playing, and super friendly spectators sipping their morning coffee and cheering us along from their front yards. I'm not sure why, but they didn't want to trade their coffee for a run. Yes, I really asked. I did get a couple of high fives though. Seriously, what's better than a sweaty high five from a stranger? Another cool part was running through Downtown Hampton past the Air and Space Museum. Too bad it wasn't open yet or I may have stopped in.
There were tons of water stops, a few radio stations out on the course, A CANDY STOP!!, and a band to keep us motivated. I was smiling like a fool for the majority of the race. Then mile ten hit. Mile ten kind of sucked. It was into the wind and I felt like I was on it forever and it was COLD. Luckily, as soon as we turned a corner, we were back to a slight breeze at your back. Things were going well again, but as soon as I hit the mile 12 mark the skies opened up and it started pouring rain. My shoes got so heavy and my socks felt so gross! At that point I just kind of laughed and was thankful I only had a mile left in that nonsense to go. I tried to pick it up a little and started picking out targets I wanted to pass (got 'em all). I would like to say my final kick was strong, but I honestly don't remember. I was a little emotional because I was so happy to be done in a time that I felt good about so I was half laughing and half on the verge of crying (who am I?!). I can't wait to see that finishers pic....
My final time was 2:08:42, only 2 minutes (and some seconds, who knows) slower than my PR and 10 minutes faster than that blasted RnR race. I think I'm still riding the runner's high this morning :-) Now I'm thinking that 2:05 time is within reach again and am ready to find my next race so I can kick some butt!
The rain finally slowed down and I easily found my nice friend and Maddux after the race to get a sweaty hug and my crab chowder bread bowl. Then we headed to the finish line to watch Ashley finish her race. If only I had a cowbell.
When Ashley finished it was raining pretty hard again, and my tank top was just not cutting it in the 50 degree weather, so we said our goodbyes and after a hot shower, we packed the car and headed home. A big thank you goes out to my nice friend for standing in the rain to support me and for hanging with the pup so that he could be a part of my race weekend!
Today I am very sore. Maddux and I have been cuddling on the couch and the only productive thing I have done is type up this post and make delicious pumpkin pancakes. Fall really feels like it's here now!
|So gourmet. I should switch to food blogging. Or maybe I should just leave it to Pursuit of Sweetness.|
Thanks again to J&A racing for putting on another fabulous race and for giving me a lot of crab jokes to read along the course to share with my nice friend on our drive home. I'm sure his laughs were real and not just pity laughs. Now he thinks I'm hilarious and probably is more inclined to keep me around for a while ;-)