It’s weird to say but all of my races for this year are complete. This year was made up of a Half marathon in June (my first half), a 5K in june, another Half marathon in October, a Metric Marathon, and finally the Annapolis half this past weekend. Honestly, this about 4 more races than I expected for this year. I’ve reached new distances, and cut a whopping 20 minutes off my first half marathon time. I’m pretty happy with the improvements I’ve made this year.
Anyway.. on to my recap of the Annapolis Half.
My boyfriend and I had taken the day off work on friday the 18th to lay low and relax before the race. It was a pretty nice day. Annapolis is about 2 hours from where we live so we were going to stay at a friends house in Silver Springs, MD which put us only a little under an hour away. Friday night we went out with our friends and had a nice dinner and ended up in bed at 11:30. The alarm was set for 4:45 am. We figured we’d leave at 5:30 and get there around 6:20 and have plenty of time. Wrong. We left at 5:30 and all went well until we got on Rt. 50. We hit standstill traffic getting off the exit to the Navy Corp Stadium where the race started. We sat in the car, time moving faster than the car was inching forward. I was starting to get nervous. I’ve never missed a race before. I’ve always been there early. With only 10 minutes until race start, we were still sitting in the car. I couldn’t believe it. We paid nearly $100 for the race, and drove 2 hours and we are not going to run this race.
We get parked with 5 minutes to race start. We jump out of the car frantically searching for the nearest porta johns. We are literally running to them as they are about a football fields length away from the start line. We run up to the start line at literally 7AM. Whew.. that was close. As the next 20 minutes go by and we are still standing at the start, we are feeling foolish for rushing.. and I’m freezing. I am only in a tee shirt and running shorts and it’s only about 34 degrees. Apparently, they delayed the start of the race because so many people were still not there and, as we found out later the road we came in on was part of the course.
The race started about 7:20ish and the 4000 runners were off! The first half mile or so we circled around the stadium which was nice. It gave everyone a nice wide start without being herded together and banging into eachother. We ran into a neighborhood and had two little hills right off the bat. I was glad for them because I was freezing and they got my heart pumping going up them. Pace was looking too fast at a 10 minute mile. I knew I should slow down but I also wanted a time of 2:23 so I knew I’d have to pick it up a little bit. We passed the one mile point and I was feeling really strong.. much better than I did the last race. We ran through downtown Annapolis and the views were pretty neat! Running on the brick roads and seeing the quaint little shops was definitley a change from our last race which was pretty rural and boring. It wasn’t until a woman running by asked if anyone knew what mile we were at that I realized there were no mile markers. I told her “three and a half” and she kept on going. That was the last time I thought about mile markers. It was pretty nice. At mile 6 or so we crossed over a pretty huge and steep bridge over a large body of water. This was where the race went a little down hill for me. My right knee was hurting.. more so than it has in any race this year. The downhills made it hurt even worse. We were still carrying a 10 something pace and I was starting to feel it. I told Mike through gasps of breath “we went out to hard” and went back to concentrating on running and thinking our time of running races together will probably soon be over. The water stops were few and far between.. this was one thing I noticed about the race. At mile 7 or so we entered the B&A trail. I have nothing good to say about this portion of the race. I don’t know who’s idea it was to have nearly 4,000 runners on a blacktop towpath about 5 feet wide. It was a single file congo line of disaster. The runners coming the other way were faster and running 3 wide while us slower folks were on the other side running single file. This went on for over 3 miles! This is when my knee really starting acting up and I started questioning my ability to finish without walking. I was extremely relieved to be off this portion of the race which put us at mile 10 (or according to my garmin 9.5). There were people yelling out the miles but no signs. Hmm. Interesting. We worked back up another uphill and my knee was screaming at me. I started the all too familiar “I can’t do this” whining session. I don’t know why I’ve started doing this, although it really is only the 2nd race I’ve done it. I just start to feel this hopeless feeling when my knees start to hurt. It’s not just an ache, it’s PAIN. Still I pushed on up the last “supposed” hill to the top of the bridge where the wind was blowing like crazy. The last two miles were no picnic. I was whining about my knee and wondering where the damn finish line was. When I saw it, I bolted towards it and then I saw the clock read “2:17” and couldn’t believe it. We beat our time by 10 minutes AGAIN! We collected our medals, got our pictures and heat blanket. I glanced down to my garmin and saw the distance only read “12.78 miles” and I was pretty bummed. We technically didn’t PR because we didn’t really run 13.1 miles. Damn. Still, I think we would have made it in 2:20 and that still would have been a 7 minute PR. The after party was great…free unlimited beer, breakfast burritos, and an awesome band. Would I do it again? Sure.. as long as they fix the distance thing.
Now.. for a break from running. Marathon training begins in a month.