Monday, March 19, 2012

Quintiles Half Marathon Recap

***Warning*** This post contains pictures of gross runner's feet!!

My friend Cody (who was visiting from DC) and I woke up EARLY Sunday morning and hit the road at 4:35 am! Wilmington bound, we arrived at the hotel where my running buddies were staying by 5:15. In the car, I enjoyed my pre-race breakfast: hard boiled egg, a banana, and some nuun Lemon-Lime. We met up with my friends and took a 15 minute walk to the shuttle area. I started to get nervous that we were too late when I saw the ridiculous lines of people waiting for shuttles, but the marathon organizers were on top of things. Shortly after we arrived, 6 buses and trolleys pulled up and we piled on for a quick ride to the starting area.

We joined more long lines of runners waiting for the port-a-potties and quickly took care of business. Then we met up with the rest of our Stroller Warriors to wish everyone luck. (There were about 20 running the half and another 5 or 6 doing the full marathon.) We set off for a warm up jog and made it back to the start just in time for the national anthem. We hopped in line around the 3:45 marathon pacer sign and before we knew it, the horn had sounded. The weather was holding at 60 and overcast with a bit of mist...PERFECT running weather!

Our first mile, like that of almost every big race, was slower than we would have liked due to dodging people, but around mile 2, we got into our groove. This was my friend Jill and her husband, Pat's, first half. We did some of our training together, so we decided to form a little team. This worked out great and we chatted through the majority of the race, sharing fruit punch flavored Clif Shot Bloks and taking turns pushing the pace. It was a great course with several opportunities for large groups to gather and cheer for those running. Some of my beloved SWs were scattered throughout the course just to cheer for us! There were plenty of water/Gatorade stops along the way too.

Around mile 12.5, we saw a lady cheering wildly and holding out open cans of Bud Light. Feeling frisky, I grabbed one and got a great response from the crowd. I took a few sips and then set the can down on the curb because it was causing a burning sensation in my throat! Perhaps that wasn't the brightest idea:)

During the last mile, I felt a blister squishing around on the bottom of my right foot. It wasn't too painful, mostly just distracting, so we picked up the pace to cross the finish line. My goal before my husband came home was a 1:45, but after a stall in my training and way too many beers and good food while we were in England, Scotland and Ireland, I shifted the goal to just breaking 2 hours. We rounded the last corner and knew that not only did we smash the 2 hour mark, we were on track to break 1:50!

My friends and I crossed the line at 1:48:04 and couldn't have been happier!

Jill, Pat & me

We were running in support of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) research, in honor of our SW leader's son, Cole who was diagnosed with SMA last year. The girls ordered shirts, cotton and technical, for us and I decided to wear mine for the first time on race day. BIG MISTAKE! It was a regular cotton shirt and my underarms were seriously chafed at the end:( Lesson learned, always practice in your race day attire beforehand! 

I waited for Cody to cross the line and ran back into the crowded finish area to link up with him. As soon as we could, we headed back to the car, and although the 15 minute walk back felt miserable with my newly formed blisters, I'm sure it was the right thing to do to give our muscles a cool down. Once we got to the car, I stripped off my shoes and socks expecting to see blisters, but not expecting this:

Yup...they weren't just blisters, they were blood blisters! GROSS! My right sock was bloody because the blister on that foot burst sometime in that last mile (hence the squishing). Luckily it looks more painful that it actually is. I donned flip flops and we hopped in the car and drove straight to the beach where my favorite people were waiting for us with Gatorade and donuts!

The Weasel LOVES the beach!

It was my fabulous husband's idea to meet at the beach so we could walk in the cold water as a pseudo ice bath to relieve our aching feet and legs. Best idea ever! 

My feet felt so much better after walking in the ocean!

This was my second official half (I ran one with my SW group late last year for fun) and I bettered my PR by 14 minutes. I couldn't have been happier. And here's the swag:

The shirts ran small, so not sure how often I'll wear it, but it's super comfortable! And now I have another medal to add to my display rack! 

I did a 3.1 shake out run this morning and felt good. I did cut away part of one blister, but I'm going to let the other ones fade away on their own. Now hoping to get in a few short races and then turn my focus to training for the MCM in October!!