Last weekend I went up to Raleigh, NC, our state capital, for the 20th anniversary Rock ’n’ Roll half and full Marathon. I only ran the half – I’m not ENTIRELY crazy. However, I am a little bit crazy, because I did voluntarily choose to run 13.1 miles. Did I mention I paid to run this torture?
I did. And I LOVED IT.
I should be honest – running 13.1 miles is kind of crazy. Running it without training, definitely even crazier. Thank goodness, I’m young and my body handled it like a champ (I only waddled around for about 3 days post-race), but I won’t be able to do that forever. PLEASE don’t be me – train for your runs…
That being said, I did pretty well! I ran my first half marathon last October (in the rain and cold) in 2:05:17. This half (with no training), I finished in 2:17:01. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t glamorous, and I DEFINITELY didn’t look like those people you see running in photos. HOW DO THEY DO THAT – Looking all good and stuff…
I don’t know if any of you have done a Rock ’n’ Roll 5k, half-marathon, or full marathon before – so let me just give you a little run down on how my weekend was and you can get a little taste of the absolutely wonderful madness.
I didn’t get to Raleigh until Saturday afternoon. There was a 5k (3.1 miles) Saturday morning that I chose not to participate in because I didn’t think I’d get off work in time to get up to Raleigh on Friday night.
I got to Raleigh on Saturday afternoon and went straight to the expo to pick up my bib and race packet. (After a little bit of parking panic, of course. If you read my previous post about parking in cities, you understand my little issue…)
The expo was HUGE and super easy to navigate. They essentially funneled you through getting your bib and shirt and bag until you got to a huge area of vendors and sponsors who were either selling things or giving things away. Free swag – whoop whoop! I even got a free box of rice. Who would have thought?
After leaving the expo, I walked around downtown Raleigh a bit and visited our Capital building (which was under landscaping construction so I only got one decent picture of it…). I also managed to go out with an old friend for dinner at a Laotian restaurant named Bida Manda. I’ve never had Laotian food before so that was a new experience. Was it smart to trying a new food the night before a half marathon? Absolutely not. Do as I say, not as I do. I did try to stay relatively safe and got Pad Thai since I’m very familiar with the dish. (It’s my FAVORITE). The food didn’t seem to hinder my race, so it all worked out in my favor.
SUNDAY – RACE DAY
Race day! Race day! I woke up at 4 AM so that I could get downtown before they closed off all the roads. I also had a 5:30 AM deadline – a lot of the parking decks downtown were only open until 5:30 for racers and then would re-open later for their normal operational hours. The race wasn’t scheduled to start until 7 AM so I found a hotel near the start line and sat in the lobby for a few hours. (It was wayyyy too cold to sit outside.)
Speaking of the Starting Line – TALK ABOUT A PARTY. Even though it was cold, the music was exceptionally dance-worthy and the MC was entirely too enthusiastic for how early and cold it was. I loved it.
Right at 7 AM, they started the waves. I was in wave 10 (based on my predicted finish time) so I got to watch a number or different waves fly out of the start. Never will I ever be able to run as fast as some of those people, especially not for 13.1 or 26.2 miles. Talk about crazy.
The course was beautiful, a little hillier than I expected, but beautiful. I surprised myself by running the first 10 miles straight, but at mile 10 I hit a wall. I don’t know if it was a mental one or a physical one, but I had to walk a little bit. Let me tell you – once you walk, you won’t get back to where you were. Once I walked, I was exhausted. It took all of my determination to just slow jog the last 5k.
THE REAL MVPs
Guys. The Real MVPs of this race weren’t the runners. The runners are great – yes. But the real MVPs were those people who got up at an ungodly hour to stand out by the side of the road, in the cold, and hold up signs and cheer for the runners. Not only did they make the effort to stand and cheer, but most of the signs were HILARIOUS.
At the bottom of the biggest hill on the route, one sign read: Make this hill your B*TCH. This might have been my ABSOLUTE favorite sign.
Another sign: Run like there is a good-looking guy in front of you and a creepy one behind you.
Another: Run, random strangers, run!
Closer to the end of the route: The beer is NEAR!
That’s not anywhere near all of them – I wish I could have taken pictures of them as I ran, but I was going by too fast. My second favorite signs were the ones that read: Touch here for luck/speed boost/invincibility. These random strangers were probably there for their own loved ones, but they were encouraging and loving and motivating to everyone that ran past!
Next race that I’m a spectator, I’ll be sure to take a page out of their books and make a hilarious sign to help break up the runners’ monotony. For now, I’ll just hang out here on my couch, icing my knees…
Try to be someone else’s MVP this week – be loving, be encouraging. And if you’re going through something tough, listen to my favorite sign and
Make that hill your b*tch.
Catch you next week!