I completed my 8th half marathon today, and man do I feel good! It started out with me waking up well before my alarm clock was to go off because I was afraid I’d already missed the race. Fortunately, I was able to go back to sleep and get up on time. The wind was vicious this morning, especially after several super nice days with temps in the 70s and 80s! At the last minute I decided a long sleeve shirt was necessary under my green, technical shirt from Shamrock 2 years ago.
I did manage to find capri tights after all! They weren’t solid green, but rather had designs and flowers all over them- quite the conversation starter on the course when paired with my little white running skirt! I was thankful for those tights this morning as I was walking from my car to the starting line because I swear those wind gusts were determined to try and blow me over!
The race started on time, and I was off as soon as Corral 4 was called. Mile one was great! I felt good, I was moving along at a good pace, and the sun was starting to come up. Then I hit the 1st mile marker, and my bladder decided I needed an urgent rest break. I swear I’ve never ever had to pee so bad while running in my life, ESPECIALLY not during a race! This is where my query comes in- I had to wait behind ten other people to get in the lovely porta-potty, and when it came my turn, I swear it was like I hadn’t gone all day! (Mind you, I’d been to the bathroom 4 other times before I even got to the race and didn’t even drink anything this morning.) So my query is this- do I knock off five minutes of my time while I anxiously awaited my turn, or do I just suck it up and leave those five minutes on my race time? (More to come about this.)
I quickly resumed my pace after mentally stomping on my bladder for being so defiant, and found that rhythm we all seek as we get started in a race. I barely stopped at the first few water stations, only long enough to swish water in my mouth and spit it out. I feared a 2nd trip to the porta-potty. I have to say the path along Shore Drive heading into Fort Story is quite pretty, even this early in the year. With each step, I noticed something different. I definitely can say I love spring at the beach. I also realized that I was not really as focused as I had previously been on running- I was noticing my surroundings more instead of telling myself to breathe and to keep running.
Mile marker 6 I was starting to feel a little pressure behind my knees as we climbed that hill (or at least Virginia Beach’s version of one) through Fort Story to the lighthouse. I pushed through it, and found some grass to run through for a bit. I caught the photographer laughing at me for grinning because the ground was squishy, but it relieved the pressure in my knees some. This was about the same time the goo was handed out, and I can honestly say I don’t train with it, but have taken it and swallowed at least two small squeezes at each race lately. A little extra fuel is never bad, I guess.
As we came around to the other entrance to Fort Story, and made our way back onto Shore Drive, I realized I hadn’t been paying attention to the mile markers, and figured out that we were already over half way. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that my mind wandered so much today. It made me think less of the pressure on my knees, and I was focused enough to keep a pretty steady pace. So maybe not a bad thing?!
I did pay attention, however, when I saw mile marker 12, and knew that I was near the end of my race. As we left Pacific and got on the boardwalk, I could see King Neptune from afar, and had to control the urge to sprint the remaining 6 blocks. Despite my lack of attention today, I was giving my all, including a consistent speed, and the last thing I needed was to burn out right before the finish line. I did pick up my pace some, and as I got to two blocks away, I held back no longer, and sprinted with everything I had through that finish line! I saw the clock said 2:38 something but hadn’t seen the clock when my corral pushed through, so I was unsure of the time difference. I still felt great crossing that finish line and getting another half marathon under my belt! I shamrocked it! 🙂 My time ended up being 2:32:55! If I’m allowed to take off 3-5 minutes for my unexpected potty break, I have a PR today. If not, I have a 2nd best PR from last year’s Chesapeake Dismal Swamp Stomp. Regardless, it was a great race! Sham Rock On!