It’s been a long long time but I am popping in to give you an epic race recap of my half marathon this weekend.
In other news, I am getting married in 32 days! AH. This race was exactly what I needed and what I wanted as the fine details of wedding planning, honeymoon planning and things in my family life have put me under some serious stress. I know you totally get how running 13.1 miles seems to just make all that melt away, so a few weeks ago I searched half marathons in the area. I needed the following criteria: 1-2 hour travel time to get there, max. affordable. 1/2 marathon distance. sometime in September. I found, the Gulf Coast Half Marathon. Interestingly enough the day after I registered for this race ($60 bux, but early registration would have cost $50), I found out through a friend that there was a 1/2 marathon going on in my hometown of Norwalk on my favorite roads of West Norwalk. I was a little bummed as that race is only $18 , however, now that I have run this 1/2 this past weekend, I have zero regrets. Everything about it was INCREDIBLE.
So I didn’t quite PR, but my fellow running friend Lisa, of Lisa Runs for Cupcakes, (fun fact we went to high school together), did PR, so I am super excited for her! Anyways, let’s start from the beginning:
The race started at 8 am on Saturday morning and I was a little worried at first as it was CHILLY! The crisp fall air coupled with the race starting on the beach made for really quite the cold start. John, my fantastic cheerleader fiancé, and I arrived at the race around 7:10, and packet pick up closed at 7:30, so I ran over to the table, but really there was no need for a rush. These people are organized. All our bib numbers were posted a few days before on their facebook page so they really had everything together, even cooler, I was number 100 and for some reason I just think this is a cool bib number, so go with it, ok? Another awesome thing about this race is that it is capped at 600 runners. Big enough to feel like a real race, small enough to make it intimate and make you feel like more than just another runner at the finish line.
I decided to hit up the bathroom one more time before the race started and the line was LONG! Counting down the minutes to 8 am, I knew there was no way this race would start on time, or else they would have pissed off about 40 women. After finally getting through that line, as well as everyone else in line, all the runners were lined up and after a few announcements the horn went off around 8:10 am. I started the race next to Lisa and Brian, another friend from the high school years… well he actually was my high school boyfriend, so it was fun to reconnect a little. I hit mile 1 and looked down at my watch and saw 7:47 and thought, “Oh crap, I am totally going to burn out” so I put myself in check and started being a bit more mindful of my pace. Around mile 3 I heard a “hey” and a tap on my shoulder and Lisa ran up next to me. We gave each other the no pressure go ahead if you want to talk, but we ended up staying together for the rest of the race, and it really was awesome.
A huge part of this race was run along the beach coast, on the board walk, along Silver Sands beach in Milford. Also the roads we ran on were filled with beach home houses, big and small. A few of them Lisa and I pointed at saying we wouldn’t mind them for ourselves. I do not know if any of this shoreline was affected by Hurricane Sandy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if so as there was a lot of construction going on to many of the homes. The race had water stops at miles 2.5, 4.5, 6.5, 8.5 and 10.5. After 10.5 we were on our own… that was sad because around mile 12 I was really shot. Really I could not have finished this race as strongly if Lisa wasn’t there running next to me. I did zero training (as per usual) and the last 13.1 mile run I had went on was when WE RAN DC. Actually, the last time I even ran more than 7.5 miles was during the DC race, so really… I am just happy I ran this entire half, and I finished 10 seconds over my PR time.
The stops had water, gu (which is not for me, but great for others), and Gatorade. I stuck to the water. The other cool thing about out and back races is that you get to see all the other runners and we ran into Brian who was only about 2 miles behind us, if even. We even ran past another person I went to high school with. I knew she was running and this was her first half marathon so I gave her a quick shout when I saw her. Amanda looked strong, and it was so cool to see her entire family cheering her on at the finish. This race pretty much flew by, and I really didn’t start to feel the burn until mile 10.5/11. That last bit of the race really was rough, but there were some great spectators out there even though few and far between. There is always one of those signs saying “You paid money to do this?!” out there, and it cracks me up every time. Love those spectators.
If I had one gripe about this race, it would be the finish, or rather the last 2/10′s of the race. Ok, it’s not really a gripe but more of a “Are you effing kidding me?”. This race ended on the beach, so the last 2/10s or so was on the sand. Talk about kicking a runner when they are down! I truly think I would have PR’d had there not been sand, but then again the last mile I did totally slow down. Either way, the finish was filled with a cheerful crowd, I spotted John filming Lisa and I running toward the finish line with his phone, and I crossed the line, welcomed a really awesome medal around my neck and a wonderful giant bottle of water, then quickly had a seat on the sand and stopped my Nike+ (which recorded me on a treadmill because I was dumb and forgot to change that at the beginning of the race. FAIL). The final results indicated 1:50:22, an 8:26 pace and the 137th runner to cross the finish line. Considering I really just wanted to de-stress and not care about my pace, I was ecstatic! And Lisa shaved serious minutes off her PR so that was awesome. John found us and we waited for Brian to come in and cross the finish line. We took some post race photos, team Norwalk representing with our bling! While there was post race food by subway, I skipped this option, Brian, Lisa and I said our goodbyes and we headed off to spend the rest of our Saturday with family.
Thank you Shoreline Sharks for such an awesome race! I can hardly wait to do it again next year.
So my next countdown is the countdown to the wedding. I do not have any races on my line up in the near future, and truthfully, I am a baby when it comes to cold running, so I am not sure I will be running a race again until my favorite 5k (the O’Hartford) in March. However, Lisa is training for a marathon, and running with her was awesome, so maybe I will have to join her on some of her local-ish races in the near future!