OBX Southern Fried Half Marathon Race Recap

OBX Southern Fried Half Marathon – 11/09/14

OBX was my 5th half marathon!!

I have a goal to run in 5 states before I turn 40. I was looking for half marathons that looked cool in nearby states and randomly stumbled upon the Southern Fried Half Marathon that is held in the Outerbanks (OBX), North Carolina. I read a couple of race recaps about it and it sounded really fun so I decided to go ahead and register after completing Baltimore.

Steven was still exhausted from Halloween and didn’t want another weekend away from home so he decided not to go with me. I invited my mom to go with me and the girls for the weekend and she agreed. We decided to head down Friday as soon as she got off of work (around 4:30). The drive was okay. I think that driving to Florida this summer made me think driving “only” 5 hours to a race wouldn’t be so bad. 5 hours in the car is still a LONG TIME!! We got in around 10:00, got settled into the room, took a quick stroll on the beach, and then went to bed.

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SATURDAY – My mom and I both got up early Saturday and got ready. We were hoping to sleep in a bit, but that just didn’t happen. Sleeping with Gabby is like sleeping with a ninja warrior so it wasn’t the best night of sleep I have ever had. We didn’t want to wake the girls so my mom went for a walk on the beach and I painted my toenails. We finally got them up around 8 so they could get ready. We found a pancake house a couple of blocks away and decided to have breakfast there. Yum!

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After breakfast, we headed over to the expo. It was well organized and was the perfect size…not too big, not too small. I picked up my bib and shirt and then browsed the rest of the expo. I purchased a couple of “runner girl” shirts and even picked one out for my mom to give me for Christmas ;o) She also got me a “Runner Girl” magnet for my van. Makayla started feeling dizzy and we found a chair for her to rest in. She was fine after a few minutes, but wanted some fresh air so we decided to go ahead and leave before completely finishing the expo.

We didn’t have plans for the rest of the day so we decided to just wing it. We drove out to the Bodie Lighthouse. It was beautiful! Unfortunately, the inside was closed for the season, but we got to walk around the outside, take some pictures, and take a walk down the little boardwalk.

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We left the lighthouse and decided to go back to the hotel so we could walk down to the Ocean. The girls really enjoyed playing on the beach. It was a little chilly for my liking, but it was very peaceful. Once they tired of the beach, we decided to hit the indoor pool and hot tub for a while and then made our way back to the beach again.

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We also made friends with the hotels resident cockatoo, Sabrina. She loved Makayla and I, but Maw Maw and Gabby didn’t want to hold her. I don’t blame them. There were signs saying she bites. She never bit me but she didn’t want me to put her back and grabbed onto my shirt for dear life. She wouldn’t let go and ended up biting a small hole into my comfy Frederick running shirt.  She was a sweetie though and really loved Makayla.

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The hotel we stayed in was hosting a pasta dinner for the runners, which we had signed up for at the expo. We decided to go to the early seating so we could go to bed early. We went at 5:00. It was nice enough. Salad, penne pasta, linguini, meatballs, marinara sauce, alfredo sauce with chicken, and rolls. They also had apple and peach cobblers for dessert. Having the dinner at the hotel, buffet style was really convenient. We were probably done within 25 minutes. Nice!   I took the girls back to the pool for a bit and then we all headed back to the room for the night. We were all really tired from the restless night before. I showered and was in bed by 7:30 or so. I stuck Gabby with my mom that night – hehe. No more ninja warrior in bed with me! We were probably all asleep by 9:00. I slept pretty decent…I only woke up briefly a few times during the night.

RACE DAY – The alarm went off at 5 a.m. I was up and ready pretty early. I ate my yogurt in the room. The girls were up by 5:20 and got themselves together with no complaining. My mom was a little tired from sleeping with the ninja, but the morning went by pretty smoothly. We were heading out of the room by 6 a.m. We saw all the runners in the lobby and decided we didn’t need to leave quite so early. The start was only about 1.5 miles from the room and my mom was dropping me off and then heading to the finish line with the girls. So, we hung out in the lobby for a bit longer.

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I ate some of the planters NUTrition I had packed and then we finally decided to go.   The hotel did offer water and some breakfast danishes and breakfast bars for the runners (nice touch). I ate my banana on the way to the start. My mom dropped me off a couple of blocks from the start around 6:30. I made my way to the start area and waited in line about 15 minutes for the port-a-potties. I finished with just enough time to make it to my starting corral (Corral C) and eat my GU (after a hiatus from GU’s, I decided to try them again for this race). I spotted the 2:15 pacers and found a spot a bit behind them. This was supposed to be a training run, and I wasn’t planning to PR, but I also figured I would just wait and see how my body felt and I wanted to keep the 2:15 pacers in sight, just in case I was feeling good! The DJ was very good and did a great job of getting everyone pumped. Corral C started at 7:04.

Mile 1-3.5 – The race started and I was feeling great. I stayed behind the 2:15 pacers and it almost felt “too easy”, but I also know I have a habit of starting too fast and then paying for it at the end. I ran the first mile with no music and just took in everything around me. I listened to all the excitement and chatter. After the first mile, the chatter seemed to die down some so I decided to put my ear buds in and listen to my music. I stayed behind the pacers for the first 3.5 miles. I was feeling great so I ended up speeding up around the 3.5 mile mark and left the pacers.

Miles 3.5 – 8 – I was still feeling pretty good. We had been running along the highway for most of the first 5 miles. At mile 5, we went through a residential neighborhood for approximately 2 miles. I enjoyed looking at all the nice beach houses and imagining my dream home!  At mile 6, I decided to walk for .15 mile and had some of my honey stinger waffle. When we exited the residential area, I was trying to figure out if we were on Rt. 64, which would mean we were almost to the bridge or if we were still on Rt. 158. I finally figured out that we were still on 158, but soon enough, I saw the turn onto Rt. 64 coming up, which also meant we were getting close to the bridge/hill.

Miles 8-10 – I took another walk break at mile 8 for .15 mile. I drank some of my water and then picked it back up and decided to try to make it to 10 and then I would walk while I ate my other GU. I was finally on the bridge and knew I had a huge hill coming up! I surprised myself by running up ¾ of the hill. It really wasn’t as bad as it looked. I did walk a bit towards the top and that is when the 2:15 pacers passed me. I was at the 10 mile mark anyway so I didn’t feel as bad taking the break. It was in my plan afterall! I enjoyed my brief walk, ate my GU and told myself I would catch up with the pacers. Of course there was a photographer at the very top and I didn’t want him to capture me walking, so he motivated me to start running again. Thanks, Mr. Photographer.

Miles 10 – 12 – What goes up, must come down and I am thankful for that. I was able to run down the bridge hill pretty easily and knew I was getting closer to the finish line. Just a bit under a 5k to go! I had caught up to the pacers again and told myself to just run with them. Then my plan changed to run to mile 12 and then take a quick walk break and then sprint to the finish. I passed the pacers again, but was really losing my steam and decided to walk again at mile 11.5 instead of 12.  I walked for .25 mile and then ran again. I was with the pacers again. I told myself that would be my last walk break.

Mile 12 – 13.1 – This was the toughest part of the race for me (mentally). It seemed like the longest mile ever. I ended up walking either once or twice during the last mile. I can’t really remember because at this point of the race, everything starts running together. I remember the pacers passing me the final time and telling myself it was okay because I started a little behind them anyway. I was at the final stretch and the spectators were a HUGE help. I was wearing a Superman shirt and more than one person yelled out for me – “Superwoman”. I saw the finish line up ahead and started searching the crowd for my family. I finally saw them right before the finish line and that gave me the boost I needed to finish with a smile on my face.

Post-Race – This was the first race I ran with my Garmin! I loved being able to get a time right away at the click of a button and I knew right away that I PR’d, but still wanted my official time. I collected my finisher’s medal (beautiful lighthouse medal), my finisher’s visor (nice surprise), a water, and a Gatorade, and then took a race photo. After that I went looking for my family. I was able to find them after a few minutes and a quick phone call. The post race party was really nice. They had the usual free beer and live band, but they also had a massage station and some good food (it smelled good anyway). I didn’t want to make my family wait for me while I stood in line for a massage and none of them were hungry so we passed on the food as well. They were actually giving away your choice of a BBQ sandwich or sweet potato fries to all the finishers, and had many other options available for sale, but I decided not to wait in line. I was really cold, which was surprising. The temperature was in the 50’s…which is close to what it was in Baltimore and at the Woodrow Wilson race so I didn’t think it would be so bad, but I guess being on the water made a bit of a difference. I hadn’t checked my jacket because my mom dropped me off so I decided to buy an OBX Marathon Sweatshirt to keep warm. My mom ended up surprising me and paying for it as an early bday present (thanks, Mom).

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Even with the sweatshirt, I just couldn’t get warm. After taking some pictures by the water, I decided we should just go ahead and get back to the room. I can’t say enough great things about the finisher’s area though and I feel like this review does not do it justice. Manteo is such a beautiful little town. I had been worried that the girls would be bored out of their mind waiting for me, but there was plenty for them to do. My mom took the girls to a little breakfast shop and then to the playground near the water. My mom said it was very enjoyable and the time passed very quickly. I’m a little bummed that we didn’t stay longer, but I was just too cold.

We got back to the room and I had the chills. My mom took the girls to the beach one last time while I took a shower and packed everything up. We left and had lunch at a very delicious pizza joint (Slice Pizza, I believe). We were ready to hit the road a little before 1. The 5 hour drive home after an early morning and 13.1 miles was a little tough. I would definitely travel again for a race, but I don’t think I would drive home on the same day again.

My official time was 2:15:15, which was a 51 second PR!! Here are my splits according to my GARMIN:

Mile 1 – 10:03

Mile 2 – 10:13

Mile 3 – 10:06

Mile 4 – 10:07

Mile 5 – 10:03

Mile 6 – 9:38

Mile 7 – 10:29

Mile 8 – 9:59

Mile 9 – 10:37

Mile 10 – 10:24

Mile 11 – 10:31

Mile 12 – 10:49

Mile 13 – 10:18

Mile .23 – 2:04

Overall, I LOVED the OBX Southern Fried Half Marathon. I may even go as far as to say this was my favorite race!  I would definitely love to do it again one day!!

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