Anyway, I cut a little more than 11 seconds off of my previous best half marathon time. Adam and I ran together and finished together with a time of 2:22:54. A relief for both of us!
For the not so happy news: it was wicked hot on the run. I think I was probably pretty close to overheating and we ultimately found out on Monday that a man actually died during the race.
I had so much trouble breathing throughout the last 2 miles. We were just zig zagging through the touristy area and the boardwalk of Virginia Beach, a part of the race that I normally would have been soaking in and enjoying the heck out of. There were so many awesome spectators cheering us on. However, I felt like I could only get about 25% of the air I needed. It sucked and every breath was painful and frustrating. At several points, I didn't want to keep going but I knew we were close and I had my supportive run buddy, Adam, helping me to stay hydrated and push through. I was so hot that I thought I was going to freak out without water. I'm sure most of that feeling most likely comes from the fact that I've been running pretty much exclusively with my water bottle on my fuel belt lately and I have intimate knowledge of the water fountains all up and down the Lakefront Path. Not knowing when the next water station was going to be had me a little off my game. Lesson learned: I will be wearing a fuel belt at the marathon and my kind Coach Amy (if you remember from our fab STL half experience) has volunteered to meet me at strategic points during the race with energy bars, fresh water and whatever else I can't carry (six dry towels for my sweaty face, perhaps?).
But back to the breathing... I have made a decision that makes me sad but I think it's necessary to get checked up and get an inhaler again. UG! I was so happy not having/needing one! It's a cruel reminder when someone passes away during a race that I need to first and foremost be concerned about my continued health. I also decided that if it's above 80 degrees on October 11th, I'll walk as much as I need to in order to stay cool. Amazingly enough, I have only my 20 mile long run left and then most of my runs are 12 miles and under as I start the taper process until the big day. It's kind of scary to be at the top of the training mountain and staring down at the final goal! I have lots of fears and doubts that I'll have to work on before race day but I still have as much determination as I did when I set out to meet this goal.
My goal to finish the marathon pales in comparison to what amazing things runners are accomplishing. I had to seriously fight back tears because there was a huge group of elite runners that were pushing special needs kids and adults in what was basically gigantic jogging strollers so that they could compete in the race. They were passing by us across the course at their mile nine when we were starting mile four. There are also so many people that run in honor of cancer patients or to raise awareness about various diseases. Sometimes it's amazing to be just one small person in a sea of 20,000 people with their own causes, goals, hopes and dreams. If you read this blog and take one thing away from it, I hope it is that you are able to experience a race like I have some day. Whether it's 5K or an Ironman Triathalon, you have been blessed by God with a body that is (hopefully) able. There is a really special feeling to be surrounded by so many others that are all working so hard to the best of their abilities. Racing can be a truly powerful experience, if you let it.
Overall, we had a fantastic weekend. Amy's parents hosted us at their house in VB and we had fun cooking and being cooked for (people: I ate EGGS on Saturday morning). The beach was as beautiful as I remember it and we had a great day soaking up the rays on Saturday. We missed the Black Crowes concert and ended up going to bed earlier than planned but 13.1 miles can kind of take it out of you. :)
Running log: 7 miles