This morning I ran the Blue Ridge Half-Marathon. Last year was the Inaugural race and my first half-marathon. I had such a great time that I had no doubt I'd run it again this year. In fact, I even signed up to run the full marathon, but later decided the half would be a better distance for me this year. Mathis was signed up for the half too, but he hurt himself earlier in the week and decided to spectate this year instead of run.
Yesterday I went to the expo to pick up my race packet. I was a little disappointed that the shirts weren't technical, but I do like their design.
As I do for nearly every race I laid out all my "gear" the night before...
I had my eye on the weather all week, and it didn't look promising. We've had beautiful spring weather every day this week, but the forecast for Saturday was 90% chance of thunderstorms. They were predicting a ton of rain, so earlier in the week I splurged on a rain jacket. I knew I'd be running rain or shine, and I wanted to stay as dry as I possibly could. Here I am sporting my new jacket before we left the house this morning...
We got down to Roanoke around 7:00am and the race started at 7:30am. It was already raining pretty hard, but fortunately we were able to wait inside the Taubman Art Museum before the start. Here I am before leaving Mathis to head out into the rain...
Mathis documented the start of the race well.
You can see how everyone watching has out their umbrellas!
There I am in the pink!
For obvious reasons I didn't run with my camera during today's race. I usually love documenting the race with photos, but there was no way I was running with a phone or camera today. And because of the rain there wasn't too much to see. When we got up to the Mill Mountain Star the fog was pretty bad, and you couldn't see downtown (unlike last year!).
But it was still such a beautiful and FUN race. The temp was great -- I was never hot or cold. I am SO beyond grateful for my water resistant jacket. I still got wet, but it kept me as dry as possible. What didn't stay dry was my feet. :( I ran through so many puddles, and it rained the entire race. I had put body glide all over my feet in hopes of avoiding any blisters, but the weight and sogginess of my socks and shoes was not fun. My wet feet definitely bothered me towards the end.
One of the things I love most about races is the camaraderie of runners. I ran next to a man running his 87th marathon!!!!!! He ran the Blue Ridge Marathon last year, and he said it is the most beautiful marathon he's ever done!! And around mile 9 I ran next to a woman who's run a marathon in 48 states! Two states to go and she's got all 50. She tried teaching me a few techniques for running the hills, and they helped! :) I saw a young boy running the half who couldn't have been over 13 years old. Runners are amazing people, and I'm so proud to be one.
The volunteers were pretty incredible. It's one thing to run in the rain... it's an entirely different thing to stand in the rain for hours and pass out water. I tried to thank every volunteer and spectator I saw -- they make all the difference at races! Unfortunately the race was spread pretty thin, and a few times I almost ran off course. It's hard when you can't see anyone running in front of you, but for the most part I didn't get too lonely. I managed to stay on the right path, and I'm so glad!
While trying to avoid some of the puddles I hurt the bottom of my foot. It wasn't a bad injury, but it really worried me at first. From that point on I made it my goal to finish the race injury free. I ran through the puddles after that, and didn't worry about how wet my feet got.
I ran with my Garmin, but throughout the race I kept it under my jacket to avoid it getting too wet. It still got a little water underneath, and I'm sorta regretting having run with it at all. I think it's going to be fine, but I have it in a bowl of rice just to be safe. I usually glance down at my watch multiple times, but I wasn't able to do that today. It definitely affected the way I paced myself, and I think I would have done better if it weren't for the monsoon that I ran through. :)
I got so excited towards the end -- I had absolutely no idea what my time was, but I knew Mathis would be waiting for me! He took a few pictures at the end...
I was so glad to cross that finish line! My time was somewhere around 2 hours, 22 minutes -- still don't have the official time. I met my goal of finishing the course faster than last year!! Not my fastest half-marathon, but no surprise there since the hills are CRAZY! I plan on running this race as long as I can, and I'm excited to work on my time each and every year.
The first thing I did once I crossed the finish line was grab two chocolate milks, and take off my shoes! I love love love that they had chocolate milk at the finish. It is my favorite recovery drink! And I definitely walked barefoot back to the car -- those shoes were NOT going back on. :)
Once we got to the car I changed into some dry clothes, and we went to Fork in the City for breakfast. They were hosting special "marathon hours" and giving runners with medals a discount. Fork in the City was on the course so we got to watch the marathon runners go by while we ate breakfast. And I won a "golden fork"$10 giftcard while I was there!!
The coffee and food were great, and I loved watching the runners go by -- from the warmth of my booth! They had live music playing, and it was the perfect way to celebrate the race. I am so grateful for my health and ability to run -- it's something I never want to take for granted. I love that I am able to participate in these races, and today is a race I'll never forget. I can't wait to run the Blue Ridge Half-Marathon again next year. I definitely plan on running this race as many years as I can to maintain my legacy runner status! :)
Time: 2 hours, 22 minutes
Miles this Week: 19.5
Miles this Month: 46