Where do I begin? I wanted to write this earlier but the busy work week got in the way. Well it is now five days past my 1st half marathon and I am still speechless. There was no need for my morning Starbucks iced coffee thanks to the pre-race adrenaline rush which I was lucky enough to have throughout the entire race.
Upon my arrival I was greeted with a strong brisk breeze that had me second guessing what I was wearing. I knew once the sun got it’s act together and decided to get up, along with running 13.1 miles the shivers would go away. There was a short walk to the starting line and before you know it I had 60 minutes of spare time to walk around, stretch, and have the marathonfoto paparazzi take my picture 4 times while waiting in line for the bathroom.
With a 7 a.m start time I made my way to corral number 12 there was a good 15 minute gap between the pros starting and myself. I used that time to focus, stretch some more, and squeeze out my salted caramel GU 5 minutes before go time. To learn more about this GU and other flavors visit guenergy.com
It was finally go time and those with me in corral number 12 counted down with the announcer from 10…9…8…7…6. Okay you get the point and we are off! I am now officially running in a half marathon running past the ABC 11 studio on Fayetteville Street. I got off to a slow start as I was trying to make my way through the crowd but that is my own fault, since I had the opportunity to change my starting time at the expo. Either way it was a great starting pace that I needed in order to have gas left in the tank to finish.
With the slow start I managed to keep a sub 9 min pace during the first 2 miles which is a dramatic improvement from my first run back in July of last year. With each mile the course got challenging thanks to those wonderful North Carolina hills but with all of the adrenaline flowing and perfectly timed hydration stations, I was able to push through each hill not feeling the need to walk which is not like me at all. I missed my opportunity for breakfast as I ran past a house that had a huge plate of bacon! I thought about running back to get a strip or two, but I was currently running a personal best versus my training time so I settled for some difficult to chew while running energy gummies that were handed out at the next hydration station. As I left that station I was too busy looking at the gummy packet that I missed my chance for some Gatorade. Thankfully there was another spectator handing out 24 oz gatorade sports bottles around the turn that helped me through the grueling final stretch.
With the final 3 miles to go I was slowing down but still somehow I stayed in the high 9 minute per mile pace. The entire race I would glance at my Apple watch and think to myself is this really happening? Am I going to finish well below my goal? I trained hard in my neighborhood planted with hills to get me here but I did not expect to have a run like this. Then reality hit as I exited Dorothea Dix Park, ran up South Saunders St, and when I turned left the most challenging hill of the event slapped me in the face. I said screw it and started to sprint as fast as I could up Lenoir to S. Boylan Avenue but as I got three quarters of the way ”F” it. I walked for a good 30 seconds until I reached the top, which happened to be my one and only walk.
THE FINAL MILE
The last stretch was amazing! Another burst of energy kicked in driven by a wave of emotions. I was minutes away from becoming a HALF MARATHONER! I made the turns around Nash Square and headed back down towards the finish line on S McDowell Street. The crowd was very motivating the entire race but the cheers from the largest group of the day pushed me to finish strong and paint a picture to my overall experience that I will never forget.
Thank you Raleigh, Rock N Roll Marathon Series, and the group that motivated me You vs The Year.
IF I CAN YOU CAN TOO