Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Outer Banks Half Marathon Race Recap (Part 2)


Picking up where I left off...lights out at 10:00pm the night before the race...

Surprisingly, I did not have a hard time falling asleep. Unfortunately, I had some bad dreams and tossed and turned most of the night (I think it was the beer). I had set my alarm for 4:45, figuring if the singing didn't wake me up, my alarm would, but alas, there was no singing. What ended up waking me up an annoying 15 minutes before my alarm went off (don't you hate that!) was the shower in the bathroom next to my room. Oh, well, at least I didn't oversleep!

Thank goodness I had figured out what I was going to wear and had it all ready, otherwise I might have been tempted to make last minute changes. I wore my new black "yoga" pants from Target (which were really way too warm, but the alternative was shorts and, NO!), a tech shirt from Target in turquoise (my new favorite color), compression sleeves, and my new DIG DEEP Bondi band under my black Brooks hat. I wore a windbreaker that I planned to ditch before the race and my new pink gloves, of course!

Breakfast was a quick PB&J on a whole wheat bagel and a cup of coffee, and after double and triple checking that I had everything, we were off! Since we stayed north of the start, in Corolla, we had a drive ahead of us, so we were out the door around 5:30. We were behind some super slow SUV for what seemed like forever and were all getting a little stressed, but we made it in plenty of time and scored a great parking place at a bank just a block from the start.

By the time we got there, it was not nearly as chilly as I had thought it would be. Maybe it was just my adrenaline, though, because I'm pretty sure if I walked out of the house dressed like that I would be shivering! Since I hadn't thought to bring a bag to check, I stowed my coat in a friend's bag, then hit the line for the porta-johns. While in line I saw these adorable pirates...

Aren't they the cutest?

I love their socks! I really want to dress up for a race!

Ready to run! "Pinky," Pam, "Perky," Sloane, Lou

View from Corral F (the back of the pack)

With only a few minutes before start, I finally met up with my running partner Megan and then the cannons started booming and soon we were off!

Mile 1: Megan likes to go out like a bat out of hell, so I concentrated on going SLOW! We were doing 3/2 intervals and worked on keeping our walking speed brisk. As usual, my first mile felt crappy - my legs felt like lead. The front of my ankle was bothering me, so I stopped for a minute to stretch. 

Mile 2: Same as the first. 

Mile 3: Starting to feel warmed up. My foot/ankle were feeling much better. Last part of the third mile we detoured off the main road and ran along the sound for awhile - it was great to have a change of view!

Mile 4: Fourth mile takes us back onto the main road. I am glad I decided to wear my Nathan fuel belt - there were water stations every mile, but I was very glad to have my own to sip on. I put Nuun in two of the bottles. 

Mile 5: At the end of the fifth mile, we turn toward the water again and run through a neighborhood. Lots of spectators and cheering, which was great! Somewhere around this point I think I ate my first Gu (Espresso Love, baby). Megan pointed out the causeway we would be running across at Mile 9...can you see it waaaay across the sound?

Mile 6: Hitting my stride now, feeling really good. Running through another neighborhood which was a great change of scenery - that main road gets pretty boring! At one point, I looked at my watch and we were doing like a 9:30 mile! Since I didn't want to crawl across the finish line, we slowed way back down! Our half-way time was 1:25, right on pace for our goal finish.

Mile 7: Feeling very warm now in my long black pants and again very grateful that I'm carrying water. Stopped at the next water station for some Gatorade - never been a fan of green, but it never tasted so good before!

Mile 8: Back on the highway and heading toward the causeway and dreaded bridge. We saw Allison on her bike - what a pick-me-up that was! That, and the Gu I ate to give me some energy before THE HILL.

Thumbs up - doing good!

Mile 9: Turning onto the causeway...THE HILL is in sight! They were rocking some great tunes at the water station. Grabbed some more Green Gatorade - seriously, how is it that this stuff is so good?! We decided we were going to walk up the hill instead of exhausting ourselves trying to stick with our intervals. Looking back, I do wish I had run SOME of it, but we kept a really good pace.

Funny, it doesn't look quite as imposing in this picture
as it did coming up to it after 9 miles!
View from the top!

Mile 10: Over the hill and running down at a good pace, feeling strong.

Mile 11: Legs are feeling heavier now. Look - more green juice! Went to eat another Gu and realized that somewhere along the way I had dropped my last one! Probably when I fumbled taking my phone out to take pictures. I was forced to grab a Hammer Gel (Apple Cinnamon) at one of the water stations...EW! It was so sweet I could barely choke it down, and definitely did not give me the boost my Espresso LOVE would have.

Mile 12: Coming into Manteo...just one more mile!!!

Mile 13: Running down Main Street in Manteo - Megan is pointing out the damage from the recent flooding. The streets are lined with cheering people, which is a good thing, because I am running out of steam. At some point, the marathon leader passes us looking great. Wow!!!!

.1: This was absolutely THE. LONGEST. TENTHOFAMILE. EVER!!! With maybe half mile to go we had decided to run it in and my ass was really dragging. At one point someone told us "only three more flags" but we passed a lot more than that! Finally the finish line is in sight! I don't think I had much of a kick, but my time was 2:50:31 - spot on my goal time (our second half was exactly as fast as our first, even with the hill)!

As soon as I cross the finish line, I grab whatever they hand me to drink and guzzle it, eat the very hard and pretty tasteless granola bar (don't know what kind), hang my medal around my neck and start thinking about how much I can improve my time in my next race!!!!


Fleet Feet Finishers! See me in the back with my beer and medal?
Sloane, Lou and I celebrating with the pirate. Doesn't he look like he's about to behead me?

Wow - I think it took me longer to write the recap than to run the race! This was an amazing experience from start to finish, and I absolutely cannot wait to do it again. And again. And again!

Today I am grateful for:
  • 101.5 FM - all Christmas music, all the time!
  • peppermint bark
  • Fleet Feet training groups
  • running friends
  • a totally non-tech Christmas (sorry, kids!)

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