This past weekend is one of my favorite racing weekends here in Hampton Roads, Crawlin Crab time! The half is held on Sunday while a 5K and 1K are held the previous day and a Craft Brew Fest are held in conjunction (Every half entry gets four craft beers along with some other sweet swag). Having run this race twice before, I knew what I was getting into. The course is a great one, winding through Hampton, Virginia by the gorgeous water and through downtown and outlying neighborhoods. The crowd support is wonderful and the best part is that afterwards the party is full of fun activities, a live band, and good food. The energy of the event automatically sets you up for a great day.
Going into this race, I had a down week of training. That means my mileage was slightly lower (high 60’s instead of high 70’s) and I had two hard days instead of three. The race would be my third hard day. Morning of I woke up 2 hours early, sipped Hammer Perpetuem and Coffee while eating my normal WaWa soft pretzel. Mr. Law and I picked up my friend, training partner, and neighbor Megan for the 30 minutes trip to the race start. That whole way I sipped on Gatorade Endurance. Once we arrived to the race start an hour early, I avoided more fluids. Parking was easy and before we knew it, it was time to warm up. The temps were warm 75 with a 67 dew point (yes I am a nerd obsessed with the daily dew point) but I felt comfortable at the start.
With no goal pace expectations, I started the first 3 miles with two friends. They had quickly cut the pace down and instead of staying with them like I should have, I let them go. We were averaging 6:04 and I told myself that was too fast. Afterwards, talking with my coach, that was foolish. I’ve run those paces in workouts and as odd as it sounds, running 6:04 pace with a pack is easier than 6:10 pace alone. I need to work on my race day confidence. From mile 3 on I was solo. Maybe not the best strategy but like I’ve mentioned in the past, I suspect I’ll run a majority of NYCM solo, so any practice is good practice. This is where I’m really proud of myself. Unlike at Rock and Roll, I never let myself get overwhelmed. I turned my Garmin to show time of day only and broke the race down in sections- 5 miles, 5 miles, and a 5K. I faltered a bit from miles 7-9 showing 6:28, 6:23, 6:27. That’s what killed my attempt at a PR, a whole minute in there lost, but it is what it is. It was hot & humid but honestly I’m not sure how I faltered so much there. Like seriously, what happened? Once I realized it, I was able to work hard to get the pace back down again. I knew I had good friends cheering at mile 11, my coach would be at mile 12, then my husband would be at the finish. That was a great feeling.
I was hurting but I think I had a huge smile on my face the last 5K. I finished in 1:21:46 (6:14) pace as first female, 6th overall. I had won this race twice in the past so I was ecstatic to win a third time even if I did not run as fast as I would have liked too. Mr. Law was at the finish line and put my medal on over my head. I was not expecting that and what a great moment it was. I told him I had to change out of my shoes fast so we could get back to cheer for friends, especially Megan and while walking back I saw her finish. She was so fast!!! We almost missed her. She finished 3rd overall. We have put in SO many miles together, SO many hard days, SO many tearful days; so to have us both on the podium at one of our favorite events was perfect! It felt really good. Here are some photos-
Thank you all for reading! I have a big week ahead of me (80+ miles) and if Hurricane Matthew cooperates, a half to race on Sunday. I’m kicking myself for paying for a Half Marathon the day before I realize a Hurricane is headed our way. To my East Coast friends, please stay safe out there! Good Luck to my many friends running the Chicago Marathon this weekend!