Thursday, May 24, 2012

Historic Marine Corps Half Marathon

Once again Tater and I have had crazy busy days since our last post!  A lot of work, catching up around the house and, as you know, training....for a half marathon!!  Yea, call us crazy...we actually pay and travel to torture ourselves for 13.1 miles.  Actually, this was my first half marathon that I was training for and Tater's 2nd.  She's a natural runner and did track all her life so it comes very easy to her.  Me on the other hand...not so much!  I've done 5k's, a trail run and random runs to keep in shape, but never anything longer than 3-4 miles until Tater came along (running is actually the reason we are together now, but that's another story for another post).

Anyways, few months ago (around the same time we booked our Memorial weekend cruise) Tater's friend decided we should sign up for the Historic Marine Corps Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, VA.  The date of this race was May 20th and of course the weekend before our vaca on the big boat! Since we were all going on the cruise together we thought this would be a great way to get us in bikini shape! So every week we would make sure to do at least one long run and add a mile to it each week.  Surprisingly, we successfully stuck to our training plan!

 Feeling good and ready to get away for short little weekend, we packed up our car, picked up Tater's friend, Fancy (long story), and made a quick drive to Fredericksburg, VA.  We drove straight to the expo to pick up our race packets/shirt and of course check out all the vendors.   This was actually a decent expo.  They had tons of race gear! Nuun had a great deal and you could even sample several of their flavors...they sucked me in to their "expo deal" - Buy 2 and get a free water bottle...yay! 

After some unplanned spending and browsing we checked in to our hotel, threw our bags down and went out to find some grub.  Fancy went to college in Fredericksburg, so she was familiar with the area and insisted that we head downtown to try a restaurant.  We somewhat stumbled upon Bistro Bethem.  One word...AMAZING!  This place has great outdoor seating right in the middle of downtown, food is wonderful, staff is great, drinks were perfect.....what more could you ask for?  I highly recommend this place if you're ever nearby.

Sunday morning - 4:15am alarm - It's race day!
I actually felt great so early in the morning and I think it's safe to say everyone else did too.  We managed to get to the shuttle parking lot on time and got seats right up front (which is always nice on a packed bus).  While sitting on the bus, you can hear everyone chit chatting about their pre-run rituals, injuries or Tater randomly singing....until it was completely silent because the shuttle bus driver completely missed our turn and is now lost.  I felt bad for her and lucky for her, Fancy guided us to the drop off point!  I hate to say it, but this race was probably the most unorganized race event I've ever signed up for and it's not just because of the shuttle getting lost.

Anyways, after Alison Sweeney from the Biggest Loser spoke, the race officially began.  Fancy stuck with us for a few miles in the beginning, but then she found her own pace.  We didn't see her again til we all finished...she did great!  The course was great and my body felt great so it was an enjoyable run.  Now don't get me wrong....I struggled  A LOT near the end, but it still was a fun run!  It was motivating and entertaining to see all the residents out in their front yards so early in the morning with their kids and dogs cheering everyone on.  The last 2 miles were probably the worst.  Tater could have so finished the race a lot faster than she did, but she kept slowing down her pace to keep me close by in order for us to finish together.  Yea....she's sweet!

So now I can say I've accomplished a half marathon!  I say this with pride since just 2-3 yrs ago I could barely finish a 5k (I even think I walked some).  Will I ever do a full marathon?  Hell no...I couldn't imagine this race being a halfway point.  Would I ever do a half again?  Most definitely, but I'm totally up for tackling a few 5 and/or 10k's the next few races before I even think about another half.  

 For those of you who want to get into running or are just starting to run or hate running all together....I highly recommend starting slow and sticking with it.  I hate running but I love the feeling I get once I'm a few miles into a run and I love the feeling after a great run even more!

PS (like this blog isn't long enough)  I forgot to mention Eileen's Bakery.  Tater and Fancy needed something sweet after our Sunday lunch and our waiter recommended this place right around the corner.  It's a must to go to if you're ever in Fredericksburg!  It's an old church turned into a bakery.  Lots of goodies to choose from and all are delicious!

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