Monday, September 10, 2012

Run 4 Shelter Half-Marathon Recap

My friends and I drove to Chester, MD to participate in the Run 4 Shelter Half-Marathon this past weekend. After signing up for the race online I received immediate welcoming and support from one of the race directors on my Facebook. He helped answer questions about the race course, and helped me set up a team for the event. He even offered us a discount code!

The trip to Chester, MD was only a little over an hour and, we hit no traffic. It was a beautiful morning with a nice breeze in the air. We went to the registration table at about 6:30 and picked up our packet. I had no problems with my packet. One of the ladies I was with received the wrong size tech tee, however they switched it out for her with the right size. I thought that was super nice as, most events will not do that.

We got geared up and, took our trip to the port-a-potties. There was quiet a lot of bathrooms lined up at registration. The lines weren't bad and there was two hand washing stations. So far everything was wonderful. The event coordinator got on the microphone and announced the start was almost near. She rolled off the sponsor information and some details of their organization. I was happy and surprised to hear that this specific event brings them almost half of their goal funding for the Shelter. She then asked the pastor to come over and say a prayer for us to have a safe and fun run. The national anthem was played and we were asked to take our places at the start. My friend and I took our places among what seemed like 100-200 people. Right at 7:30 the race started. At this time the weather had warmed up a touch and the humidity had started to rise. My friend and I went off on our way.

My 1st couple miles were pretty great. I felt I was at a pretty good pace too. I always seem to hate the 1st 3 miles of any long race and this one wasn't much different. I huffed and puffed until I got into my rhythm. The course was beautiful with overlooks onto the bay. We ran through some parts of a wooded trail and, even a community park, and what seemed to look like a high-school football field. 

As the race went on some not so fun things started to happen. The heat started to get hotter. The breeze only happened every 20 mins or so. I was always happy to see the water stops. Which by the way had very nice volunteers and never ran out of water/Gatorade or Gu's.  We ended up going off of  the paved trail onto a gravel and seashell trail around mile 7. This my ankles and Plantar Faciiatis were hating me for.  It seemed like we were on this for several miles. Then, when I thought it couldn't get did. I had to run across unpacked sand. My feet were digging into the sand with it all kicking back up at me into my shoes. I thought about stopping to dump my shoes but at this time every second counted if I wanted to make my goal.
I finally got back onto the blacktop trail at around mile 9. Here is where I started to hit a small wall. I started to cramp up in my left foot and calf area. I drank some more water and ran/walked along. At about mile 10 the volunteers were so supportive. They kept me going with their comments! Another runner kept me going as well. Then the worst part of the run for me was mile 11 and 12. I wanted to stop and lay down. I was overly hot...the sun was beating down on me at this point. I think I passed a photographer and looked at her like really?!?! right now you want to take my picture. HA! I can't wait to see that one! Even though I felt like passing out I could still see my friend right in front of me. I really wanted to catch up with her to finish with her since it was her 1st. Unfortunately, I did not catch up. I finished right behind her 4 minutes slower. I was disappointed at first but, truthfully I felt this course was super hard. My body wasn't used to the terrain or the humidity. 

I was super excited about the medal we received at the finish. It is my favorite so far. After finishing and receiving our medals we got a bottle of water. I looked around and noticed everything was packed up. We finished way ahead of the course time limit yet, no one was there cheering us in. I didn't even see a clock up to see my time. I was super disappointed. Then when I realized there wasn't anymore refreshments I was annoyed. I just ran 13.1 miles I needed to refuel badly. What's worse I saw no medics at the finish. What if I had needed one. I mean I did  just run the longest I've ever ran in my life. Who knew what would have happened.

Overall, I really liked the race and it's cause. I was impressed with the wealth of information from their Facebook and race management. I wasn't impressed with the course terrain or that I only saw one bathroom on the course and, was very unimpressed with the lack of care/support for the "Slower" runners on the course. To make matters worse about that last complaint, I made sure to let the director know about the lack of care/support for the "slower runner's" on their Facebook, and they did not apologize or comment back with an excuse. It was ignored.

Will I run this race again? Maybe

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