This Saturday morning I woke up at 4:10 am and drove 2 hours to participate in the Run4Shelter Half-Marathon. It seems like forever ago that I ran in a race, when in reality it was only 3 months ago. It’s funny that the summer seemed to fly by, but it feels like so long ago that I was in a race. The Run4Shelter was in Stevensville, MD and started at Kent Island High School.
To back track a little bit since I haven’t blogged in a while… a friend that I train with decided to do a half-ironman the first week of September. Always in search of adventure I volunteered to be her training buddy, and bought my first road bike (a whole blog post needs to be written just on that). After working up in distance each week we did a trial ride/run at the beginning of August where we rode 45 miles and then ran 10 miles after. The day we did the half ironman trial I also adopted my neighbors dog (also deserving of it’s own blog post). My last major long run was at the beginning of August and I’ve been doing a lot of dog walking and less dog jogging and I felt hugely under trained for this race. After a really tiring week I even considered not going. I tried to think positive and call my I’m super busy with work projects, school starting and doggie training an extended taper!
One of the reasons that I signed up for the race was a Facebook page that I follow, the Eastern Shore Running Club which is based in Salisbury, MD. I had seen their Facebook post about the race and checked out the race website. Once I watched the video of the race course, considered the great cause the race was for (a local shelter) and the reasonable price I couldn’t resist. I really wanted to run a local fall half marathon, and this one seemed to fit perfectly with the other races I wanted to do. Little did I know what a great race it would turn out to be.
Packet pick-up for the race was available race day (awesome in my book). Race day packet pick-up means I don’t have to get a hotel room before race day, making the race a budget friendly option for me. The Kent Island High School stadium was a great location because it is very big. The start/finish line was on the track which was fun. I’ve never started or ended a race on a track since I ran in high school and I really liked that aspect as well.
Packet pick-up went very smoothly and was very well organized. The whole race was very organized, everything went very smoothly from start to finish. 20 minutes before the race started they had skydivers come in to the tune of Kenny Loggins Danger Zone, of Top Gun fame. That was really cool. I’ve ever attended a race that started with skydivers and it was awesome! The half-marathon participants were asked to go to the start line and we were serenaded by bagpipes. I love hearing bagpipes and I get choked up any time I hear them. Then without much fanfare we started on time! There were only 212 finishers for the half-marathon, so it was a small race which was really nice. I didn’t feel like I was going to get trampled, or had to go out to fast in the beginning because there was ample room for everyone. One of the many perks of a smaller race.
The course was really beautiful, one of the prettiest I have run. I made a point to look around and take in the gorgeous views while running. At one point I was so busy looking around at the views of the water I almost ran into a pole that was on one of the paths. Just call me grace! The half-marathon course was super flat with a mix of paved trail, gravel trail and road through a really nice neighborhood, and park with awesome water views. After the first couple miles I was around the same runners for the majority of the race. One guy I came upon started chatting and I found out that this was his first half-marathon. It was really nice chatting in the middle of the race because it took my mind off my pace. With my lack of quality training (at least in my mind) it was a nice to focus on conversation. At mile 9 we split up and I took a gel and got down to business. I knew if I could hold onto my pace I would be able to come in close to two hours which is what I usually want in my half-marathon finish times. At one point during the last couple of miles you had a view of the Bay Bridge, which was stunning and just the little boost I needed at the end. The only confusion I had was near the finish because my watch read 12.93, so I was hoping I hadn’t screwed up the course. I stopped one of the women who I’d been running near during the race and her watch said the same exact thing. I had been really trying to run tangents, and my watch was beeping right on each mile marker until the end so who knows? Still a great time for me, even if a tad short. If my watch wasn’t off a little I may not have met Michele, the organizer for the Eastern Shore Running Club Facebook page, who also got first place in her age group! The award she received was really cool wood carved plaque. It was also nice to have someone to chat with after the race since I drove up to the race by myself, and I really enjoyed connecting with someone who I’d known through Facebook.
I’m so thankful for such a great day. The weather was really nice in the 60’s and a little overcast with low winds. Perfect running weather. The race was really well organized, on the small side, and the course was really nice. I was able to surprise myself and had a great day of running, which was unexpected due to my low training volume. I guess I can thank my new doggie for keeping on my toes with mileage even if a little more of it is walking. Thanks to the race organizers, and congrats to all finishers! I know that I’ll definitely try to come back next year!