What a day! I honestly don’t know where to start and I will try not to write a complete novel, but after such an amazing day, it will be difficult. Regardless, Half Marathon #5 is complete!
Until a few weeks ago, I was still thinking about going for a PR in this race. After all, I PRd in it last year (Last year’s race recap), so why shouldn’t I try this year? Umm…yeah. I realized with the trail hours I’m putting in training for the Playin’ Possum 50K, it would be silly to think about trying. Instead, I was going to use this as a training run and also a fun day with friends.
Talking with my friend, Kate, who was getting ready to tackle her first 26.2, my friend, Andrea who was thinking about running for a PR, and they were going to run about the same pace, I decided to run with them. Excellent choice as it turns out!
There were 7 of us carpooling to Xenia which always makes the day more fun, especially when you leave at 6 am. We debated the ability of cows to accurately predict the weather forecast, we talked about anything and everything, hoping to keep everyone’s nerves at bay before the race.
Parking and check-in were just as easy as I remembered them being last year, then we all started debating what to actually wear. Winter has been holding onto us here and never seeming to let go. Race day, of course, was 60* to start and over 70* by the time we finished. Coming from the 40s, it got hot!
Since it’s a small race, great price ($25 for early registration!) and an early season race, there were approximately 35 of us from our running group heading down. It was awesome to see so many blue and orange shirts before the race and along the course. I love cheering for other people during a race, but it’s even better when you can call out their names!
Clothes were changed, knees were taped, pictures were taken. And we were off! The Half and Full Marathon course were the same for the first 7 miles so we were able to start with Kate and Angie before they headed off to the country roads for the marathon. While we went to the Half Marathon turn around.
It was just Amanda and me at the point and we said we wanted to wait for the others. When we saw Andrea and Stuart, we decided to turn around again and stay with them. (That added about .5mi to our day). We all stuck together to get to the finish and just had a fun day. Seeing so many of our DMC crew and cheering for everyone was so much fun!
We got to the finish line, yay! Oh, wait, not done yet. So, we grabbed a cookie (best finish line food at this race!), talked to our friends for a few minutes and then Amanda and I headed back out. We both needed the miles, plus Kate and Angie seemed happy that we would be joining them for the final 4 or so miles of the race. Stopping for about 30 minutes may have been too long. My body protested that first 1.5 miles that we were running again, but luckily, it got with the program.
Reaching the out and back trail just before the 22-mile mark, we stopped at a water station to wait for a little bit of shade. (wow, was it getting warm!) Then we say them! I was so excited to see them so quickly as it meant they were pretty much on track of where they wanted to be time-wise. They filled water bottles and we were off.
At this point, I was 18miles into my “half marathon”. Coming up with funny stories gets harder the longer you run and more effort you put in, but my brain got with it and I kept up a steady stream of chatter (sorry Angie!). Miles 20-26.2 of the marathon are THE HARDEST miles to get through and I wanted to try to make them easier for my friends.
Around .5-1 mile from the finish, we had two more Run-DMC friends come join us for the end of the race. They had both finished the marathon and come back out. Amazing support from our group! If you’ve ever thought that running was not a team sport, our group completely proved you wrong this weekend. It was all about TEAM, and I am proud to be a part of such a supportive group of runners!
Running with friends, celebrating their victories of PRs, of first-time distance attempts, of a first successful (no injury) marathon was more rewarding to me than any goal I could have set for myself. Funny that my slowest official finish is my best race yet!
It was an honor to me to run with my dear friend, Kate, for the final miles of her first 26.2. I remember the thoughts, the feelings that went through my head when I ran my first marathon. It’s emotional. It’s difficult. It’s a once in a lifetime feeling. Thanks for letting me share it with you, Katie!
Congrats to everyone who raced this weekend!
13.1 miles 2:40:59
Overall place: 816/930
Age Group: 75/86
22.5 miles 4:26:04