I wanna scream it from the rooftops down… just like Seether! Yesterday, I added to my race history when I ran my 11th half marathon at the Sentara Colonial Half Marathon in Williamsburg, VA. It was a planned 13 mile long run weekend, and after some slight twisting of my arm, my friend Mary convinced me to run the race in lieu of the long training run. In some ways, I am glad she did, in others, well, there are no in others.
I live in Virginia Beach where everything is at sea level. Some of you know how drastically different the terrain is between Williamsburg and Virginia Beach. For those of you that don’t, let me explain. Virginia Beach is FLAT. As in, I train on a single bridge off the end of 1st street to get my hill running in. Williamsburg is NOT flat. It is hilly. Or should I say brutal? One hill ends and another begins in Williamsburg… and that’s how the entire 13.1 miles were. I’d be gritting my teeth as I ran downhill, praying that I wouldn’t fall on my face, and come home with road rash, and then I’d hit the bottom of another and be muttering under my breath about how could I have ever trained for this when I live in a place that is entirely at or below sea level.
It’s funny about that muttering. This is the first race I ever caught myself talking OUT LOUD to myself. And it kinda startled me to hear my own voice! It was a lot of this: “Erica, you signed up for this race. You got yourself into this. RUN up that hill. No, you can NOT walk. Run harder. Ok, slow up a bit and take deep breaths. Run strong. Be fierce. Be bold. You’re rocking this race. Hahaha you just said you’re rocking this race, and you’re moving so slow. Wait a minute, you haven’t walked yet and you just passed like 12 people who are walking. Keep going! You can do it!”
You can imagine the many expressions that went along with this dialogue, and if Mary had stuck with me, she’d have been laughing all the way to the finish line. Now let’s talk about that finish line. We got to mile marker 12, and I had already been pushing myself throughout the entire race. I had had two gels, and that last one wasn’t sitting as well as I’d have liked. I kept thinking it was only one point one more mile. It was not hard, in fact, it was cake. Three hills later, I was yelling, ” Are they seriously trying to kill us?” Because at this point, I was facing the last hill, and located at the top was that finish line. I refused to give in to my exhaustion, and that nagging negative voice that says, “Go ahead and walk!” I pushed harder, and ran, literally, into the guy at the finish line who proceeded to tell me I had to come to a very fast halt to be counted for chip time. What?!
This was a very disorganized race from the get-go, but it was an experience I will never forget. The hills were brutal, and somehow I managed to push the hardest I ever have, even through the cooler weather. I PR’d at this race by cutting NINE minutes off my best half marathon, which I just ran at the Rock N Roll Half on Labor Day weekend last year, and finished with a 2:13:44! Whew! What a race. I am understandably sore in my quads, but I honestly blame it all solely on the hills. I think I rose to the challenge Williamsburg…. got anything else up your sleeve!?
Live. Love. Run. Passionately! 13.1 ❤