35 hours post race and I can honestly say that NOTHING I could have done would have prepared me for that horrible hill in the Lynchburg VA Half Marathon. This was the first race that I picked, signed up for and which no one else i know has done. It was pretty challenging and pretty amazing and my family was at the finish line to cheer me on. It was 70 and absolutely pouring out. The 4:30 wake up time for he boys was not appreciated but they didn’t complain once! I gave them the option of staying home and neither of them wanted to hear anything about it. I love my boys! So we packed in the car at 5:12 and off we went to find our way to the parking lot. My Aunt and Uncle arrived just after us so we all walked down to the starting line. One port-o-potty stop and now I was just in a waiting pattern until they called us to the start. I’m so happy it wasn’t cold out, just rainy. I had my tunes on my arm, my water on my hips and my cliff bar in my bra…yeah thats my spot of choice for my race food…easy to access and put away while running. More convenient than trying to reach around the back to unzip the pouch. LOVE my new water belt. So awesome! Thanks honey!
They called us at 7:20 and I headed over. I started my music and put my phone in a lunch bag, in my arm sleeve and under another lunchbag that was fastened to my arm with an elastic band so my phone stayed dry. It worked like a charm except the ziplock side chaffed my chest with every arm movement during all 69, 168 feet of the race. Lesson learned. Next time use a fold over baggie. So the tunes were on, my watch got set and successfully found the satellites and then they pulled the trigger on the starting gun and we were off.
the first 3 miles were in the woods on a paved path and fairly straight. People started passing me which I knew would happen even though I was in the front of the line of 361 runners. I’m not the fastest but not the slowest either. I ran 3 sub 9 miles in the beginning which pumped me up. My music playlist was just kicking ass awesome and I was grooving. Mile 3 began the trail path of the race which was muddy and narrow. we had to negotiate around branches and mud and puddles. The mud was just a short distance but not the end of the trail. Trail continued into mile 4 at which point the damn hill arrived. No word of a lie. This hill was so steep that there was no such thing as a stride. All we could do was little baby steps and all on our toes digging into the rocks and dirt / mud to keep our grip on the road. /when I got half way I thought the climb was over but one glance up and I saw that I was sadly mistaken. I had to stop for :20 seconds to catch my breath because I truly could not breathe. My stop was only short lived and I moved onward to the top. SO happy to reach the top. It took me nearly a mile to catch my breath and for my legs to cooperate and move at the pace I wanted them to. I seriously didn’t think they were going to behave and thought for a moment that I was going to have to stop. NOPE! I’m not a quitter and my sons were waiting for their mother who was going to finish this race. I kept moving. That mile was a 10:21 haha
The top section was a big loop in what looked like an abandoned millitary base. We did the loop twice and then headed back down the hill. There were a few hills at the top but nothing unconquerable since I just maneuvered up the hellacious mountain. I laughed when I got to the downhill and said out loud to the volunteers that I liked the hill in this direction. I nearly galloped sideways to keep from falling down the hill and when I got to the bottom I was very happy 🙂 I knew there were just 4 little miles left..motivation. I hit 10 and started feeling like I wanted to be done. I hit 11 and started counting. At 11.5 my music ended and I couldn’t get my phone to cooperate due to the condensation in the bag. Thank goodness my phone didn’t get damaged. At mile 12 I was really tired but realized that I had enough time to squeak under my first half time. Unfortunately I couldn’t do it. My legs were so tired that they didn’t move me fast enough and I finished a minute longer than the first but given the hill and the rain I think it’s successful.
I rounded the last corner and heard my sister before I saw her standing with my family. I high fived them as I went by running as hard as I could make myself go trying not to cry. It moved me so much to see them waiting for me that I had trouble breathing at the end which does not make for an easily finished finish. I did it and collected my medal. I placed 3rd in my age group (12 in that group so it’s not really the best but I can’t complain..3rd is 3rd) I finished 166 / 361. The backs of my legs were killing me which didn’t happen the first time. They were tired and so was I but really proud. I thanked everyone for coming many times. My Aunt had a great time and my sister was the greatest cheerer ever…maybe because she’s the loudest! Great race, yucky day weather wise but a great one despite that. What an experience!