I have been questioning my desire to run longer distance races lately. My hip issues have been bugging me and I just think I need the break. With that being said, I had just completed my 15th Half Marathon in Delaware and although my hip was sore, I had been considering running the Historic St. Mary’s City Half Marathon the following weekend. First of all, it’s local for me. It’s not very often that I get to sleep in my own bed the night before a race and then only drive 20 minutes or so to the start. 2nd, I figured I was already semi-trained. I might as well knock another one out before taking my break. But the 3rd and most convincing reason was because I had several running friends who were considering it and we were all kind of in same boat training-wise (i.e not feeling like we are in top running form). We all decided to sign up on Wednesday night and race it together. We didn’t want to put any time pressure on ourselves. We would just run and have fun.
The weather was a big concern heading into the weekend because the forecast was calling for a very hot and humid day (my weather app even had a cactus on the icon – yikes). I was pretty nervous about that. I don’t perform very well in heat/humidity (see Super Hero or Crawlin’ Crab recap) and I hadn’t even run one training run in the heat this year. Our weather is sporadic and even though we had a few hot days sprinkled in, I hadn’t actually run on those days. Oh well…no turning back now!!
I didn’t have time to pick up my bib on Saturday, but they were offering packet pickup on Sunday morning before the race. Sam and I got to the race around 7:00. It was already pretty humid and the temp was rising! Since it is a smaller race, there wasn’t even a line at packet pick-up. Nice! We put a few items back in my van and headed to the start to find Ashlee at the start. I also ran into a few other friends who were running. It’s not the norm to run into so many familiar faces at half marathons so that was really nice. We found (boy) Sam and headed to the start line. After a few selfies, it was go-time!
Mile 1 – 3 – Ashlee, (girl) Sam, and I had decided to run intervals. Initially, we planned to walk every .5 mile, but we were all feeling okay so decided to push the walk breaks to each mile. We made a loop around the St. Marys College campus and out to Mattapany Road. It was so nice having the ladies to run with and talk to.
THE HILL – We knew there was a pretty significant hill on the course, so I was mentally prepared. I hadn’t trained on any hills so I wasn’t quite as prepared physically but am really proud to say we made it through without walking (even though I really, really wanted to). We passed (boy) Sam on the hill (he was heading back the other direction). Luckily there was a walk break coming up soon after the hill. We found the turnaround point around mile 4.25 and were able to head DOWN the same hill. It was nice to see a few of my runner friends along the way. We were all very hot by this point. I ate a Stinger Waffle around mile 5. We couldn’t wait to find the next water stop! We filled up our water bottles and poured some water on our heads/necks. That felt so good.
We ran down a street (out and back) and I remember feeling miserable around mile 8-ish. I just felt like I was spent. My hip wasn’t hurting too bad, but my blister on my left foot was hurting pretty bad. I was so hot and started wondering if I could make the full mile intervals. We talked about walking at .5 mile intervals when we got to Mile 10. Fortunately, I felt a little boost of energy during the next mile. At that point of the race its crazy how you can feel so differently from mile to mile.
The boost of energy didn’t last very long. We headed through some beautiful neighborhoods and I enjoyed the scenery, but I was feeling pretty exhausted. We passed our last water stop around mile 11 and I should have refilled my water bottles again but I thought I had enough to finish the race. I think I ran out by my 12 and that last mile with no water was particularly tough. We had been lucky enough to have a lot of shade on the route, but one of our turns in that last mile put us directly in the sun with no shade and no water. I was miserable!!
We turned into the historic trail and headed for the finish line. We spotted Sam, Steven, and Gabby, who were at the finish line cheering us on and gave it all we had to get across that finish line!! Thank Goodness…so glad to be done!! My official time was 2:30:23/11:29 pace.
Luckily, we were greeted with cold, wet towels at the end and of course, our medals and water. We found a shaded spot in the grass to sit and talk about the race. Sam (boy) had rocked it and finished under 2 hours, but we all agreed that the heat, humidity, and hills made for a tough race. I heard them announce my co-worker finishing and it was her first half marathon!! Congrats, Sarah! What a tough first race! I also heard some of my other runner friends finish. Jaime came and joined us for a bit while we continued to cool down and enjoy the shade. Steven and Gabby were nice enough to get my flip flops out of the van for me. I desperately needed to get those running shoes off and take the pressure off my blister! After a bit longer, we all decided to head home. Best part…we were home in 25 minutes! No 2-4 hour drive after this race!
Here are my splits according to my Garmin:
Mile 1 – 10:24
Mile 2 – 10:47
Mile 3 – 11:05
Mile 4 – 10:32
Mile 5 – 10:44
Mile 6 – 12:27
Mile 7 – 11:03
Mile 8 – 11:37
Mile 9 –11:38
Mile 10 – 11:50
Mile 11 – 12:09
Mile 12 – 12:23
Mile 13 – 12:32
Mile .11 – 9:37
I’m glad I decided to sign up for this race. Although my “time” wasn’t the greatest, there was really no reason for me not to run this race. I really enjoyed running with my friends and it made the miles fly by much faster than they would have without them. My half marathon season is officially over. I ran 2 this season and am happy with that. I’ll probably let my hip heal for a couple of weeks and then get back to shorter runs. I have my eye on a couple of upcoming 5k’s, so hopefully I’ll be all healed up in time to run those. As for half marathons, I’m sure I’ll miss them after my break, so we’ll see what the Fall brings 😉