After months and months of training it was finally here; Shamrock!!! For me, it Sunday morning started at 3am. Then 4. Finally at 5 I said fuck it and got out of bed and made coffee. I knew as soon as I started putting one foot in front of the other I would be fine, but until that point in time I was going to be a complete mess.
I had picked the perfect hotel as our start corral was literally one block from the start line. This made life incredibly easy. Although, as we weaved our way between the port-a-potty lines I joked that we could have paid for our entire weekend hotel costs by selling access to our bathroom.
C and I had not actually run together in our training. With her being in Colorado and me being here this was going to be a real test of our ability to stay together. We agreed before we crossed the start line that our strategy was going to be run a song walk a song. While it isn’t as accurate as the 4 min on 2 min off that I had been training for; the interval timer wasn’t working so we decided this was our best back up course of action. It actually worked out great!
The course itself was absolutely gorgeous. It was basically a lollipop shape. This gave us an awesome opportunity to see the elite runners coming back (already) when we weren’t even at mile 4 yet. Having spectator supporting (which I didn’t get at Diva’s) was awesome. As we began to pick the miles off we fell into a rhythm that was very easy. We crossed the half way mark at 1:18 which was 40 minutes faster than any other 10k I had done. I said as much to C. There was a runner in front of us who said, “Whoever said that congratulations!” I was tickled pink.
Running on Little Creek/Fort Story was just gorgeous. Both in terms of the nature scenery and, well, the Marines that were out on course. Hey, I can appreciate both, right? Even on base there were plenty of spectators, signs, and support. Of course, when we saw the light house we had to pause for a quick ‘runfie’. Hey, how often do you have an opportunity to take a great picture like that?
Coming off of base I spotted a guy approximately in his 70s carrying a full sized American flag. As we caught up with him I tapped him on the arm and asked him if he had run Diva’s in the fall. He said he had and in his red white and blue tutu. I smiled at him and told him I remembered him. I asked him if he had served in Vietnam. He said he had. We wished him luck.
We both we remarking how great we were feeling as we crossed the 10 mile marker. Then we came out of the protection of the woods and rounded the corner onto Atlantic Avenue. The air got very cold and very damp. My lungs immediately started giving me the warning that they were not happy. Rather than risk doing something stupid, I took another shot of my inhaler. That made all the difference. We laughed as we ran in front of our hotel jokingly whining about “can’t we just stop and go get in the hot tub now?” Passing the hotel we knew that we were getting very close to being done.
We both agreed that we were going to run the boardwalk. We broke our run a song, walk a song rhythm to get a quick breather in before we made the zag onto the board walk. Rounding the corner it was there right in front of us; THE FINISH! Ironically one of the songs that I hear in barre class started playing; Chambermaid Swing. I started to smile and sing; “Pulse, pulse, pulse, and tuck, and tuck”. It really gave me a swell of happiness knowing that all of the work I have been putting into this particular moment was worth it.
C and I grabbed hands about 150 feet from the finish line. We started together and we were going to cross together. We opened up our stride and sprinted it all the way to the finish. WE DID IT!!! While my body was aching my mind was perfectly clear something I didn’t have the last time. My rhino horn didn’t hurt even though I didn’t tape my feet; those Altra Running shoes are awesome! We reached our goal! We crossed sub-three hours! I couldn’t have been more pleased. A PR for both of us!
Overall, this experience blew my first half marathon out of the water. The volunteers were awesome. The spectator support rocked. There was still plenty of water left on course even when my slow fat butt went by. While there wasn’t anything other than a banana available for me to eat at the finish there was plenty of food for everyone else a rarity when you are slow. These guys know how to run a race!
While training through the winter was rough I would most definitely do it again. I’ve set my sights on completing my Washington 10k in less time than 1:18. Guess this means more time at Biker Barre for me! Onto my next goal and my next race EX2 Aventure’s 10 miler in two weeks!