The Half Marathon

I am so sorry that I have been so long since I last blogged! It has been a CRAZY month and a half. I will not bore you with the details, just know I am sorry its been a while.

Everything went very smoothly and I had a great run! I love that I can say that several weeks after the run. :) Above is a picture of the finish line the day before the race and then the shot of Lauren, Katie and I. Notice (because I didn't) that my shirt was supposed to say "HOPE" but the "PE" is covered by my running number so it just says "HO". Charming.

So here's the run down:

The night before the race Lauren and I drove up to Fredericksburg and settled into the hotel. Katie (Lauren's friend who also ran the 10 miler), went to the wrong hotel, but eventually met us to go to one of my favorite parts of the race. The EXPO! This is where you get your number, your timing chip and best of all- free stuff! Vendors are there trying to get you to try their products so it can be a real blast.
Unfortunately this was not the case with this Expo.

(Sad trumpet plays) WAA WAAAA WAAAAA. Lauren was not pleased either.

Regardless, we had a nice enough time and we got our great shirts,and even signed the half marathon banner. Side note: I wrote 'FAT RUNNERS RULE'. Take that skinny runners. Its in writing. Now its true.

After the less than awesome expo, we went to our more than awesome dinner pick. We gorged our selves on pasta and bread and waddled back to the hotel. The fact that we were running a half marathon the next day was beginning to sink in. Or maybe it was the indigestion from the 15 spicy meat balls I ate. Regardless, soon after coming back from the restaurant we went to bed since the race started at 7:30 and we had to catch a bus, and warm up before the race.

It was a tough nights sleep, but I woke up the next day at 4:00 rearing to go. My usual race morning routine is to get up as early as I can to make the run as late in my "morning" as possible so that I am not doing a "morning" run. Its a great plan minus the waking up at 4:00 part.

So I got up, did my morning stuff and got my yoga mat to begin my vinyasas in the hotel gym. Too bad it was locked. I ended up doing my yoga in the hall (because Lauren and Katie would not be fans of the breathing methods employed in yoga while they tried to sleep) next to the fire exit. It was magical.

After yoga I drank my coffee and journaled. In the bathroom. In fact, besides the hall hatha I did, I spent the majority of the morning of the half marathon in the bathroom.

Once the ladies woke up I went and got them breakfast and when they were ready, we walked across the road to the catch the bus. Every where you looked there were hunky marines directing you where to go. I thought about trying to get lost, but then I remembered the hunky civilian I had at home, and decided to mind my own business.

While on the bus to the start line, I started talking to the girl sitting next to me. She was wearing a tank top with the picture of a marine on it. She informed me that it was her fiance and that he had been killed last year in Iraq. I cannot tell you how crazy it was to see some one who was my age talking about their deceased loved one. It totally changed my perspective on the race.

The next thing that changed my perspective on the race was the free beer ticket I found out was attached to my racing number. JUMP BACK!

It makes the shirt 'Will Run For Beer' all the more important for me to buy.

The race started well until the first water station. There were just so many people trying to get water that at one point I saw a stack of cups and a bottle of water and just helped myself. That's when I lost Katie and Lauren. Its not like I was planning on racing with them any way. Lets be honest.

Mile 4-6 were real buggers. I was hurting but still motivated. I decided in these miles that I COULD actually do this, but not until I went to the bathroom. So around 6 or 7 I stopped to go to the potty where I met 2 people. One girl in front of me in line, Jessica and one guy behind me in line, Matthew? Mark? I cant remember. I should have blogged weeks ago.

Regardless, they ended up being my running buddies. Jessica and I were exactly opposite in our styles for the middle miles. I run and walk, run and walk and she just runs. This made it so that she caught up and passed me during my walks and I would pass her during my runs. She was a nice little pacer and it was great to have some one to laugh with without trying to run together and learn each others favorite colors. That was Marktthew's job.

Marktthew caught back up with me around mile 10 when we both were forced to stop to let an ambulance through. He had run the Marine Corp Half a couple times before so he was able to help me during the hellacious uphills.

No joke- the hills on this run were mean. Very very mean. Mile 9 and 10 were basically straight up. RUDE.

The finish line was the best part. It was a huge structure (seen in the first photo on expo day) with tons of people and music playing. I had a much less dramatic gazelle for the half marathon that I did the ten miler, but a gazelle none the less.

My finish time was somewhere around 2:40:00. Not crazy good, but nice for a first half! :)

All in all it was a great experience that I plan on repeating in November in Richmond. Any body with me??? :)