Leading up to Race Day:
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’ve been having a hard time with my running lately.
In fact, I stopped writing about my training because I was so far off schedule and extremely frustrated that the more I trained, the slower I seemed to get.
My last long run, which happened a week before this race, was 11 miles shorter than it was supposed to be and I was actually in tears for the last three miles. It was bad.
Driving home from that run, I was seriously considering not running the ZOOMA Half Marathon at all.
But I had really been looking forward to it. I am originally from Cape Cod (or thereabout). Almost all of my extended family still lives there. So, in addition to running with my cousins and my sister, the trip would also serve as a family reunion of sorts. I didn’t want to miss out.
Interestingly, none of the family members actually running the race still live there, though.
My cousin Kristen was driving in from just outside of Boston and my cousin Jess was flying in from Maryland. My sister was flying in from NC. I was driving up from Virginia. I hate flying. If it is remotely possible to drive, I always choose to drive.
I was having a hard time with the idea of running another sub-par race. But, when I thought about it, I knew that I would much rather run slowly than not run at all. I was frustrated with myself for getting so hung up on time. I used to just run because I loved running. Why couldn’t I go back to doing that again?
So, that was my plan.
I was just going to run. I wasn’t going to worry about my time.
I didn’t even bring my Garmin with me.
I met Kristen and Jess at Aunt Alice’s house in Wareham and we rode to Falmouth together.
We were spending the night at the host hotel, the Sea Crest Beach Hotel, which was where the race would start and finish. The hotel was also the site of the race Expo and after party.
We met up with my sister at the expo. The expo was kind of small, but packet pick-up was easy and we got some really nice swag.
I love the water bottle and yoga mat. The necklace in the picture is actually the finisher’s medal. It has “ZOOMA 2013” inscribed on the back.
The rooms were nice, and we had a spectacular view of the ocean.
Everybody set their alarms for 6am, but I was up before that. I went down to the lobby and got some coffee, then made my way outside to get a look at the ocean.
Old Silver Beach is beautiful. It has white sand and crystal clear water. I will never understand why my family goes all the way down to Myrtle Beach every year when they have a far superior beach (in my opinion) so nearby.
Once everybody was up, we all went down to the beach and found somebody to take our picture.
It was Jess’ second half marathon and she’d run a 2:05 at her first one. She was hoping for a PR. We found the 2 hour pace group, which seemed like a reasonable place for both of us to start.
At about mile three, there was a little out and back with a wide open view of the water at the turnaround. We saw Jen already on her way back as we were heading out to the turnaround.
I couldn’t believe how good I was feeling! It was by far the best I’d felt during a race in a long, long time. The middle miles were mostly on a nice, tree-lined bike path. I was thankful for all the shade.
I was also excited to try the new Salted Caramel Gu that I was carrying in my fuel belt. I had been looking everywhere for this new flavor, but wasn’t able to find it anywhere in Charlottesville. My sister was nice enough to take one of my Espresso Loves in exchange for one of her Salted Caramels so I could try it.
The later miles were mostly through quaint, Cape Cod neighborhoods. There were a lot of rolling hills, which actually felt good. I live in Charlottesville. I’m used to hills. Jess and I were passing everybody.
It was the first time in a long time that I hadn’t started out too fast. I’d forgotten how good it feels to pass people in the final miles. I’d become all too accustomed to being one of the ones getting passed.
Anybody think I’ll remember this lesson for my next race?
It was nice to see my Aunt Mary, Uncle Bill and Aunt Kathy all cheering for us at the finish.
We crossed the finish line together in 1:53:10 and 1:53:11 (me). Jess had bettered her PR by more than 10 minutes!
I was the only one in our group who didn’t run a PR.
Jess said that I slowed down to run with her, but it was the fastest half marathon I’d run in a long time. If I hadn’t run with her, I probably would have started out too fast, and she probably would have come flying by me in the final miles. So I think we actually both helped each other. But, it doesn’t really matter. I had fun running with her and I was just so happy to know that running could actually feel good again!
We met back up with Jen and Kristen, who had both done really well.
Jen had run fast and ended up placing 10th overall in the Half.
We made our way down to the water.
We had a Champagne toast on the beach.
Thanks Kristen, Jess and Jen!
Aunt Mary and Uncle Bill were nice enough to host a cook-out so the whole family could get together after the race.
Everybody brought some sort of baked good. There was a table overflowing with every kind of sweet treat you can imagine. Restocking my glycogen stores was not a problem.
We took group photos of my generation
**Many of the pictures I used came from my Uncle Bill, Aunt Kathy and sister Jen. Thanks, guys!