This race report is a little different... neither exhilarating nor grueling.... it just WAS :-) I had not specifically trained for it... I wasn't even particularly in the mood :-) In a way, this race and the next one - The Flying Pig in Cincinnati - are a matter of checking them off my list!
Last year was the FIRST annual Flying Pirate and I signed up to go... and didn't make it... so THIS year, I did :-) I had a similar experience with the Pig a couple of years ago.. so I am tying up loose ends this year!
Somehow, it feels different when you train for an event... but anyway... I knew that I could walk the distance because I did walk a similar mileage a couple of weeks ago (if you remember!) So I was confident that I would reach the end... but had no certainty about speed. My main desire was a steady rate with no real mishaps along the way... so in that respect I did well!
My husband and I drove down to the Outer Banks the day before the race.. it's just 3 hours from our home. It was a great opportunity for us to get away and just be together. With our job and business issues lately... added to spring's out and inside home focus... we don't really spend a lot of time - just the two of us. We are usually either with the kids or following our own pursuits. So going off to my events is a good thing for us.
Our timeshare condo allows us to stay there for a reduced rate when there is room available so we were able to conserve a bit - and actually I like it better. A 2 bedroom condo with kitchen for less than a cheap hotel room! Sweet!.... I sure don't mind changing out the sheets and towels in the morning!
So... the race..... we went to the Expo to pick up my packet. It was held in a nearby hotel. While the pick-up and shirt distribution was efficient... all I can say about the vendors is .. WOW! Too crowded (for me).. I couldn't WAIT to leave :-) Lots of trinkets, shoes, clothes & other paraphernalia was available.. but I was pretty certain that I didn't need ANYTHING that badly :-)
We left there fairly quickly.... and began a lazy hunt for a pirate tshirt for my 3Day team. Since the Outer Banks, NC is a super outlet for anything pirate, I thought it would be fairly simple to find some pink pirate tshirts. Not so much! I did find a pink tie-dye shirt that had a mildly questionable logo on it... but ultimately decided that since all 3 of us work with kids... it wasn't the best idea. I'd like to get a shirt for us that we could wear somewhere OTHER than the 3Day event :-) So no luck yet. We'll be back in May for our anniversary so I can wait and think about it.
The night before a race I am always a little edgy. I try to keep very quiet.... and I don't usually sleep particularly well because of the excitement. We had a nice carb-filled dinner at a Mexican restaurant (can you tell I was loading up to begin my health challenge on Monday? LOL!!) Also enjoyed a margarita - haven't had one of those in a long time :-)
Slept fairly well, for me :-) I woke several times but dropped back off easily. Usually I spend most of the night WILLING my body to stay put and rest for the event!
I was up by 5am so that I would have a little time to do some writing and eat breakfast. My usually bread and peanut butter as race fuel :-) We left around 6:15 so that I would have plenty of time before the 7:20am start time. Don dropped me off and headed back to check out of the condo. I am not at all fast so he had plenty of time to do that and head over to the finish. His biggest problem was finding a parking spot... but he is particularly good and finding the best spots.
It is a strange experience doing an event in a place where you don't know anyone. I kind of milled around in the crowd... listening.... watching others. It is always fun to determine who the serious runners are and who is just having fun! I DID forget my camera... so no photos :-(
Weather was good. I was a little nervous... it was chilly and overcast and calling for rain. But the sun peeked out fairly quickly, the breeze was just enough to keep us from overheating... and my fanny pack was big enough to hold my windbreaker. Next time: smaller pack & smaller jacket (or just a trash bag to keep the wind off). If I was running, I'd skip the pack... but I'm not. I like to carry water and lip balm, my id & cell phone, a power bar and... ALWAYS..a notepad & pen :-)
I was in the last wave so we started about 7:30 after the faster group had already left us in their dust. And most of my group left me too because I am an unapologetic walker... I don't usually even start at a jog. But it's okay - my goal is to be steady and I passed a lot of them along the way as I continued my stride.
Good fortune brought me a companion walker whose pace was similar to mine... we walked and talked most of the way. The course was absolutely beautiful. It runs along the first half of the November Outer Banks marathon course through pretty neighborhoods will all the early spring blooms showing off for us. We wound our way through some swampy areas and then along the Albemarle Sound... checking out the plants and wildlife.... and the stunning 'cottages'. I love the word 'cottage' for some of these mega-mansions.. it always gives me a chuckle.
We spent a few miles on a woods trail.. nice and shady.. but also hilly with loose gravel and mud puddles in spots. I began to hurt around Mile 9.. also expected! This is the point in the race when I usually think I've lost my mind..... as luck would have it (seriously) I was in the middle of the woods and had my new friend to help me keep pace. I definitely would have finished but maybe not pushed so hard. The trail wound around a bit but kept leading us UP! I didn't think it was EVER going to end... when....
BAM! We are out of the woods and have a straight downhill shot to the finish. And HERE is where I RAN :-)
Passed about 4 folks struggling to the end.... and finished ahead of 137 people :-) LOL!! I love numbers... shall I mention that 1808 people participated? LOL!! No.... I think I'll stay with being faster than 137.... the great news (for me) is that without specific training... I maintained my 15ish min pace. I was 15:08 at the 10K (6.2) mark.. and finished at 15:47. So I was strong to the end.
I might have been a little faster had I run a bit of the race - and I might try next time... but it's all good!
The end was fun - a great band and lots of people milling about. Free breakfast... and beer, of course. Even though many of the people had gone already, there were still too many for me.. I am such a loner! We wandered around a little just to make sure the leg cramping stopped, got my goodies.... and a blueberry muffin and then we began the drive home.
We made a couple of stops for me to walk around and change my clothes... but other than that, the trip home was uneventful.... and it was a quick weekend getaway!
I learned that even though the pain might seem excruciating in that 9 - 10 mile spot... as long as it isn't a real injury, I am still fine - so I can keep that in my head for next time. I am sore still in one spot... but again - it is sore and stiff - NOT an injury... so I'll be right as rain in a day or so. Better preparation would make for better results.... but I learned... I CAN DO IT! Any given day (at this point in time) I can walk a half marathon.... feels good just to know this!
AND.... both the race AND the state can be checked off my list for 2011!