Yesterday morning was the big day. Well, it was a big day, as I have two other half marathons coming up as well as the really big race, the 26.2 with Donna in February. I woke up at about 3:30am and got moving. I was able to spend the night at my grandmother’s house which is about 20 minutes from the race start, so that was definitely a good thing. I met up with a fellow Orlando Galloway runner, Jennifer in the parking lot at about a quarter to 5am. We had to walk over the A1A bridge to the starting area from parking. It was a cold morning (60s is cold for us Floridians) and the wind was not so friendly, especially over the bridge.
It was nice to walk over with Jennifer, as we were able to chat about training and other upcoming races and such. She had planned on doing the half marathon, but since she had a 23 mile training run the morning before, she changed to the 5k distance race. She was still debating a bit about doing the longer distance anyway. I told her that it was probably best to take it easy and not overdo it. When we got to the starting area, we got in line (long line!) for the port-o-lets. Thankfully, the line was moving pretty fast, so that was nice. We then met up with some other Orlando Galloway runners and took a couple of pics before making our way to the start.
I had brought my iPod, unsure if I would be running with others from my group, the Dream Chasers. As it turned out, I was able to run with a few of them. Started out running with about six others, but ended up running mostly with three others, Rick, Carol and Pat. Pat is in my pace group, but Carol and Rick are not. They are both faster runners and it was so cool of them to hang back and run with them at my pace.
I was able to get to know both Carol and Rick as we pushed through the miles. It really made the race go by pretty fast. Carol is running the NYC Marathon this coming weekend. She has run at least five marathons. She’s incredibly motivating and sweet. Rick is the Galloway group leader’s (Laura) husband and he’s also motivating and funny. I felt fortunate to be able to run with both of them. And of course, my fellow Dream Chaser Pat, who is great.
While it may have been cold, it really was perfect weather for a race. Once you got moving, it felt good. It’s probably my favorite kind of weather to run in. It’s not too cold, and it’s not too hot. It’s just right. Now, the excess wind I can do without, but, it wasn’t horrible at all.
My toes did a lot better on this race. I’ve been experiencing toe pain/discomfort on longer distance runs, so while they did bother me a bit around mile 8 or 9, it wasn’t as bad as it normally can get. I think that the new socks helped as well as trying to keep myself mindful about if I was curling my toes as I ran/walked. I never really thought about that as an issue until I read about that happening with other runners who have posted online, but I guess I do that at times.
The hardest part of this race was the end. We had to cross the A1A bridge. That same bridge that we walked over before the race start. I had said that I was just going to walk the bridge and not run at all, but Rick was saying we should run if it was a run interval, just to take it easy. So, as we got to the bridge, I found myself just going. I ended up leaving the trio behind and heading off on my own. It wasn’t easy, but I just told myself to do it. I ran when it was time to run, and walked when it was a walk break. I think the worst part was the wind and it causing me to breath harder.
I was so happy to see that finish line. I tried to do an all out run to it, but the bridge had took a lot out of me. So, I walked some and then seeing some of the Galloway folks near the finish, I broke into a run. I used all I had to just run. I ran it out until I hit the finish mat. It felt so good to be done! I did this half in 2:58 according to my Garmin. But, thinking about it later and seeing the race results, I think my brief potty stop cost me time. The race has me listed with a finish time of 3:02. So, either way, I did it in 3 hours which is what I hoped for. I couldn’t be happier that I did this race. It was a great time with great folks.