VA Beach Shamrock ½ Marthon
Bib:11585 Time: 2:48:25 Pace: 12:50
I’m up early getting ready for my race while Josh continues to doze in bed, the full marathon start an hour after the half starts. I’m nervous and going threw my stuff again and again. I’m double checking my clothing, supplies and other prep. How much to wear? Its cool now, but it’s also sunny and will warm up a little and I’ll be running… I plan on carrying a small water bottle in one hand and camera in the other. I munch on some food the best I can, waiting to head to the start.
Josh gets up and we finally head down to the start together. As we leave the room we look out the windows and can see the crowd of runners outside lining up for the start. Another huge race, as expected. We walk over and find our way to the general coral area for my expected running speed. I’m very nervous and try my best to smile. As the start nears I give Josh my hat and gloves. I know I will be warm enough soon as I get moving. We share a kiss and hug and he gives me assurance and tells me I’ll do great.
The start single goes off and the mass of people starts to crawl forward. I feel a bit lost with out Josh here with me but know I’ll be fine. There is no running for now, just a slow walk towards the electric timer at the start. I snap a picture of the start banner and the mass of people ahead of me as I get close to it, with the disposable camera that I’m running with.(unfortunately almost all the pics came out a bit blurry at best). I get threw the start gate and begin trying to weave threw the crowd of runners and walkers to find some room to run.
I finally settle into a run. But I’m not happy at all. I’m not even two miles in and my leg is hurting. What I’m going to do? Can I run the whole race like this? I keep trying to adjust my stride and foot strike to find something that works. But nothing really seems to help as I push on.
The sun is coming up more and we are blasted with sun each time we pass a street block. I’m glad I brought my sunglass I will defiantly need them. I try to distract my self by looking at the crowds of spectators out watching us runners. There are people with signs, dressed in costumes, cheering, some just stand there quietly watching, some are even drinking beer this early in the morning.
The miles tick by very slowly. I come to the first big water station. But what’s this? A little side station is handing out beer to the runners. It’s so tempting, the thought of the beer numbing my bad leg. But I know beer wouldn’t be a good a choice in the end. How about a bathroom break instead? ‘Sweet Jesus!!” I think, “Look at the lines at the porta pottys!’, well scratch that idea. I don’t need water so onward I go.
I city starts to drop away and more of a woody country feel surrounds the road as I continue on. I’m finding that if I maintain a good even stride and keep focused on my runnin for the most part the discomfort in my leg is little more manageable. I’m feeling a bit better at getting threw this and I’m enjoying the race more. I eve’s drop on the convo’s around me to pass the time. I smile as I see people disappearing into the woods along the road to relieve themselves. I consider it but I’m not feeling that desperate yet. Some one has stuck little signs along the road in this section with interesting facts, jokes and quotes, making the time pass a little more quickly.
We runners come across a water station, fully stocked with cups and Gatorade coolers, but no water…? They had yet to get some one to bring water out to them. I was fine, that’s why I like running with my water bottle. I continued on down the road. Next I start to hear music. Then I can make out a little stage up ahead on the road. What a sweet relief and mood lifter. A live band playing classic rock tunes in the middle of race, love it!
The corner to the halfway point toward the fort looms ahead. My pace drops going around the banked corner. I wince. My teeth grind as I clench my jaw. My leg hurts bad, it’s crippling, I’m not sure what to do with it. I hopple to fast walk for a bit coming off the corner and down the road, this hurts more then running… Limping doesn’t help at all either. Running it is then. I force my legs to run again. I gather my stride take some deep breathes and manage to get things under control again. Just in time for the next water stop it seems. There are a few pit toilets here but also lines. I slow again to grab some water and body tenses up as my leg rebels. And then force my self to a run again…
I continue on, it’s the home stretch from here on out I tell myself. The land opens up more to fields and, best of all, the ocean comes into view on my left. Oh what a beautiful day. I see the light house ahead and nearby a porta potty for tourist with very short line. Sold! I take care of business and hit the road again. With that off my mind my mood improves. I take some salt tabs, advil, and munch on some shot blocks to keep me moving to the end. I finally come out the fort and back onto city streets.
I run past the beer station again and again I’m oh so tempted! But I know it would only come right back up at this point. I can see the city blocks again. The lead marathon runners start to run by us in the opposite direction starting the second half of their run. We cheer them on, but most of them seem too serious and focused on their run to notice us. I try to pick up the pace, the end is near. But I’m tired and loosing track of the miles per say, there are mile markers for both races and for some reason its throwing me off.
My leg is throbbing. I try to keep my stride, pace and foot fall steady and even. My knees are shot at this point and ache from the miles of pavement running. My feet are hot and tender from the miles. My leg muscles are numb, tired and sore. But the end is near and I push the pace down the Atlantic Ave, past the grand hotels. Any time now the course will turn left onto the board walk, it has to be soon… please…?
Finally the turn and onto the board walk! I run along the board walk by the ocean and I can see Neptune statue that is the finish. I come upon a group of girls and a guy. The spectators start to egg the guy on “Don’t let those girls beat you!” his response “They can have it!”
I feel myself kick it just a bit more and run strong across the finish line. I’m thrilled to be done and proud that was able to stick it out for the whole run. But almost fall a couple times as I come to a stop and my leg doesn’t want to move any more. I manage to coax it and tell it walking is a good thing and it agrees. I claim my ½ marathon metal and an awesome tec wick hat that I will wear proudly at any race I can. I snag some water and banana before breaking free of the crowd.
My finish time was great considering my handicap, pretty much right were I predicted it to be. I couldn’t be happier except for one thing. For Josh to finish his race and be here with me! So let the anticipation begin!