I am originally from North Carolina so having the opportunity to run a race in my home state already made the 13.1 mile journey pretty special! Having a friend from high school reach out and ask that we run together while I was in town added an addition 3.1 magic mile touch! Here is the re-cap of a pretty epic weekend!
On Friday March 31st, I got into town and headed to the expo. A friend had reached out to me to help her start running and I convinced her to join me for the 5k on Saturday. So watching her go through the gear pick up and walk through the expo was honestly so much fun!
After getting our stuff we went to dinner and back to the hotel where I taught her about the flat runner and we got to bed.
5k morning was a little chilly but really nothing terrible! I personally thought the weather was amazing (because I know what NC could be!) and I knew it was great running weather.
We got an uber and got dropped off about .5 from the start which is perfect for us to warm up.
Once at the starting line we got settled in our corral and they began the count down to start. We were all the way in the back, because my friend thought it would take her an hour and a half to finish… once we got to the start and they counted us in, we were off! The course was amazing, loads of shade as the heat crept up. The course twisted and turned through the park and had a band playing at each mile, which was great!
About 100 yards from the finish I sprinted to cross and turn around to capture Bernadette’s very first finish line. The look of accomplishment stayed on her face the rest of the day, and best of all is when she looked down and said “it only took us 40 minutes to finish! That’s incredible!”
After the race we headed back to the hotel to shower and then went to a local farmers market to meet some friends from high school for lunch. If you’re in Raleigh I highly recommend hitting up The Farmers Market Restaurant, get the fried green tomatoes!
At 3pm the We Run Social gathering took place at the Starbucks across from the expo, I got to meet all these new faces and introduce myself to the ones I follow along on social media but haven’t met in person yet. @werunsocial is a cult following of the running community formed and founded by Bay Area’s very own Brian Kelley (aka Pavementrunner). The best part of the social gatherings is to listen, learn and connect with people that have the same passions and ideas as you. I learned so much, and even better found that I’m not the only REALLY slow runner who still signs up for races and has fun regardless. Watching Bernadette get advice on running and hear her excitement as she tells everyone “yep! I did my first 5k and I’m signing up for my first half, see you all in San Diego” that makes a momma bears heart warm!
We headed back to the hotel after the meet up, I layed out my stuff for the race and headed to bed. I had an uneasy feeling but chalked it up to nerves.
4:45 alarm is quite early, especially because my body is still very used to california time, but I got up and got dressed and did my mental check note that I had everything. Then we headed out the door. This is my first race I’ve traveled to that I didn’t pre pack food for race day, but I took note that Dunkin Donuts had a bagel with egg whites, which is what I normally eat before my runs anyways, so that worked out perfect!
Got to the start and boy was it cold! I joined all the other runners in the hotel lobby to keep warm until right before the race started. Around 6:45 I headed to my corral and my stomach began to really feel sour but again I thought it was nerves.
The start was amazing! We ran past the capital building and turned through the city into the beautiful Victorian style houses.
Around mile one is when I realized it wasn’t nerves and I needed to be sick. I ducked off course and quickly relieved myself in a bush out of site. Determined and bull headed I told myself I would finish. I walked back onto course and got back into a rhythm falling into pace. At mile 3 I needed to use the restroom pretty badly, I ended up standing in line for 20 minutes (one portopotty) when I came out I realized there weren’t any runners running past! I’m slow, but I haven’t ever been last on a half course! So I started my intervals and sped myself up ( a little too much) in the next 30 minutes I ‘killed’ at least 40 other runners. Later in the race I’ll kick myself for pushing too hard.
I packed enough fuel that would have gotten me through no problem, but unfortunately because I got sick, that alone left me fatigued but also empty, so my fuel got me to mile 10, and then it was fumes. I could feel the cramps in every muscle. I got to a point that running hurt, I couldn’t pick my knees up any more, but I kept telling myself I was closer then I was when I started.
Around mile 11.5, I came up to a gentlemen I had started in the corral with, he was limping really badly and I could see his ankle was very swollen. I stopped and walked with him and asked if I could help, he was also very much like me and was bound to finish. He had landed wrong on a rough patch of road around mile 8 and has been walking since. He wished me luck and told me to get on, he would be fine. I obviously wasn’t going anywhere fast, but I did get a burst of energy. And stayed to help pump him up.
With 3/4 to go I hear my name and turn around just in time for Joe to snap a selfie with me, and he told me to get to running. I knew he didn’t know what I’d been through, but we all had our own journeys so I picked up my pace, and took the last two turns until I saw the finish line. In my head I swear I was sprinting, but in reality (and from what Bernadette said) you could see the pain all over my face.
My official finish time was 3:41, the longest elapsed time I’ve ever had on a half. The course was absolutely gorgeous! So many bands! I’d say they had one every two miles, which is amazing!! The crowd support was plenty, so many people out cheering and stayed out cheering even for those in the back of the pack.
I was thrilled to get to run two races in my home state, and I will return with a better game plan so I’m not fatigued.
Thank you Rock and Roll, Raleigh weekend was epic!