Bring on Kilimanjaro, baby!
Okay, maybe not really quite yet, but, there were plenty of hills in this race, and they felt awesome. (Granted, I walked them, but at a pretty nice walking pace.)
The weather at the inaugural NC Half Marathon was an extremely welcome change was from running on the sun last week! It was nice and cloudy here, with a teeny, tiny hint of rain droplets at one point.
I didn’t really know what struggles the day would bring. I had slept very little during the week leading up to this (but I had lovely sleep the night before). Plus, my body was still a wee bit sore from pushing hard last week.
This morning, I walked downstairs and went to the lobby/continental breakfast area. I looked around at all the runners standing there and asked if I could hitch a ride with anyone to the race. Luckily, Claudia and Stephen volunteered to take me.
We were floored by the amount of traffic to get into the Speedway. I guess maybe we should’ve been expecting it, but it was a pretty small race (I think fewer than 2,000 participants), and they were opening the gates and gear check and everything around 7, so we thought that if we left about 5 or 10 minutes before 7 to drive down the street, we’d be okay.
I guess everyone else thought that as well. Apparently, it was not the correct thought. Luckily, Stephen was not running, so he was able to just drop Claudia and me off right by the entrance, which really helped. Claudia and I booked it to the start line, and we made it about 20 seconds before 7:30.
Traffic had been such an issue though that race officials ended up holding the start for about 10 minutes or so. I hope everyone ended up making it to the race. People were still sprinting across the speedway to the start as the first runners were crossing the start line.
Before I started, I glanced down at my phone to re-read a text message from yesterday, giving me a little extra inspiration.
The day before this half marathon, I had texted my wonderful friend, Tyler, who lives in North Carolina (although not anywhere near Charlotte), telling him it wasn’t too late to jump in on the race with me.
He wasn’t able to, but, he sent me a text that said, “Good luck! Run hard and run fast!”
I don’t know exactly how “hard and fast” I ran. (Actually, I do. Not that much of either.) But, knowing that he was rooting me on and believing in me (as he is awesomely, incredibly wont to do), helped me put any excuses of being tired or sore out of my mind and bring thoughts of “I can do this” to the front of my mind.
I knew I needed to take it easy on this race. I really pushed myself hard last week, so it was time for sort of a little recovery half marathon. My only focus was finishing comfortably within the time limit, and hopefully feeling great at the end.
I walked an extremely large part of the race. Here’s the super weird part – every mile, I’d check in on my time to make sure I was pacing within the time limit (with some wiggle room on top of that). In every mile, I was faster than I thought I was going to be.
I think spending this past week in New York started to make me a faster walker, or maybe I’m just adapting to half marathoning basically every week, making them a little easier or some miles a little faster. I don’t know…
You know what’s funny? I was 2 minutes and 1 second slower than last week. Last week, I pushed like crazy. I was hurting at the finish. I was pretty sure we all were going to die. I walked about a 1.5 mile/hour pace to lunch after that race.
I was only 2 minutes and 1 second slower today, and I was ready to go for a dance party. (And I bet I could’ve even shaved off those 121 seconds had I not stopped to take pictures, and had I focused on beating last weeks time at all.)
Weird, right? Maybe it’s something about more even pacing as opposed to running hard, tiring myself out, walking slowly, then running and tiring myself out again. Or maybe these hills weren’t quite as bad. (Goodness knows the heat was a big issue there, and non-issue here.)
The point is, it was a great, successful race. That’s my general sort of overview about the day. Come back tomorrow for more specific, fun details, and to hear about the absolute coolest medal I’ve gotten yet!