Friday, November 16, 2012

3 medals, 2 races, and a PR!! OBX Half Marathon Recap

This past weekend some of my girlfriends and I took a trip to Outer Banks NC to participate in their Gateway Banks Outer Banks Marathon weekend.

Outer Banks is about a 5 hour drive from where we live so we knew we would need to add a day of driving there, and a day to drive back to the schedule. We decided leaving Friday and returning Monday would be the ideal plan. The Marathon weekend included so many events you could choose to participate in.

We all met up at our friends house and loaded up the car. We made for great timing only stopping once to take a bathroom/lunch stop halfway. We chatted about past races, future races, PR's, playlists and so much more. The drive down seemed to go pretty fast. We made a stop at the Expo to register before checking into our hotel. 

The expo was a lot smaller than I had imagined it to be. We went on through and picked up our race bibs (with timing chips attached) and, race tee's. I also purchased a 13.1 magnet for my car. I have ran two half marathons already before this past weekend, and still hadn't gotten myself a magnet. I guess I was trying to prove to myself it wasn't just a one time deal.
After we were all settled in and unpacked we headed out to go grab a bite to eat. We were starving and it was getting late. Not but 5 minutes after we had stepped out of the hotel, the hotel and surrounding area had lost power. We figured it was just someone had hit something, or something along those lines and it would be right back on. We decided to drive farther down the island to try and find an area with power.  My friends and I were super bummed after we drove around for 30 minutes realizing it had spread through the whole island. The radio broadcast had told us it was a "Massive" outage. Oh, great! Now what? We headed to the only grocery store we found with a generator and bought some snacks from there to hold us over. We had signed up for the Rum Runner's Challenge which meant there would be a 5k race on Saturday morning and, a half marathon race on Sunday morning. We started to worry this would effect the 5k run in the morning. Sure enough not even 10 minutes checking out of the grocery store the island got it's power back. We headed out to find somewhere to eat. 3 hrs later we were headed back to the hotel. We had the worst experience at dinner. Optimistic that things would go up from here we headed off to bed.

The beach! Ahhh!

The crowd getting ready for the 5k.

Saturday morning we headed over to the Buccaneer 5k run. It was held at the First Flight High School track in Kill Devil Hills. They had an 8k event that was going on before our 5k event. The 8k event was like our 5k event. You could either run it as a single race or you could run it with the half or Marathon race on Sunday to make it considered a challenge. We opted to do the 5k/Half Marathon challenge. The race start was located on the high school track. There was tons of entertainment for families located inside the middle of the track. Bounce houses, slides, face painting, temporary tattoo station, rock wall climbing. It was a very fun atmosphere. My friends and I walked around taking pictures and, enjoying some of the stations.  After a restroom stop we were ready to run our race. The weather was a little warm at a 10am start. The race course was an out and back course wrapping around the school and neighborhood. There was some rocky, sandy and, grassy terrain as well as, blacktop and, the track. My ankles hated the uneven terrain and my PF hated the rocks digging into my heels. I was surprised to see so many children signed up for the race. My friends and I decided to take it easy and not full out run the course, since we were running again the next day. However, I had to hightail it out of there at the start. There were so many people walking this race we had to weave in and out. I know that a 5k race is where a lot of beginner runners start out, and they don't know the etiquette of where to go when walking and how to let others pass you. But, I felt there was no common sense from a lot of people on how to slow down on the outside of the course. I had to stop myself from tumbling over people who had stopped right in front of me countless times, so that I wouldn't barrel them over too. Thankfully, I found my slower rhythm and was able to relax a bit and settle into the race. We stopped for our friends at the end of the race and finished together as a group. It was fun finishing together. 

Group picture at the 5k. Picture provided by Shannon Doughty
Cheers to our finish of the 5k! On to the next!

The other half of our group was meeting us down there a day later than us. We met up with them Saturday night to enjoy a nice dinner at Kelly's Restaurant. We had some amazing meals and, enjoyed each others company. Kelly's was super accommodating and, even allowed us to sit at a private table on a  private floor. Very nice people running that restaurant! 

Our group at Kelly's Picture provided by Tonya Wise
At the start of the half marathon. Picture provided by Jenni Gilroy.

Sunday morning we woke up early to drive to the start of the half marathon. There were quiet a lot of runner's there already. We took our bags to bag check, took a restroom stop and, took some group pictures before lining up in our corral's. Must of us in my group was lined up in corral E. We heard the announcer announce that the start would be coming up in a couple minutes. We then heard a cannon sound off. It was a little surprising but got my adrenaline pumping. The announcer started counting each corral down to start. My corral was let out of the start only a short time after the 1st corral. The course was very beautiful. It ran around some of the ocean, scenic neighborhoods, and along the highway. The weather was gorgeous but, a little hotter than I had thought it was going to be. Whenever I hit the highways the sun beamed down on me. I struggled finding my pace and breathing the first 3 miles of the race. I seem to do that a lot. Once I hit the 4 and 5 mile seems were starting to look good for me. I took a gel and upped my pace a bit. I caught up to one of my friends and ran with her for about a mile before taking off again. I was feeling wonderful. The best I had ever felt during a half. I wasn't regretting my decision of signing up at all, unlike last time. My feet were feeling great too. At about mile 10 is when things starting to change for me. The race course as of yet had been pretty flat. I knew that there was a bridge that others had talked about. They had mentioned it was a big hill and a lot of people struggled on it. I had forgotten all about it. When I hit it, I almost thought it wasn't real. This was a pretty massive bridge. I was a bit scared I wouldn't make it. I scaled the hill in what I call turtle pace. I was run/walking but felt like I was making no progress. Once I finally made it to the top, my legs took over and ran down the hill. I was exhausted and still had a little under 2 miles left. 

Part of the bridge at mile 10.  Picture source
I had a time in my head of where I wanted to finish. Looking at my Garmin I knew I wasn't going to make my time if I didn't full on sprint it. I tried to run as fast as I could but my legs were so week. My breathing was all off again. According to my Garmin I only had the .1 left of my half. However, every bend that I made thinking it was my last, kept getting longer. I felt it was never going to end. Finally I could see the end in sight. I ran as fast as I could to get there. Coming down the finish chute I saw part of my group on the side waiting and cheering me on. 

Coming into the finish. Picture taken by Jenni Gilroy

After the half!

I crossed the finish line and seriously felt as if my legs were going to give. I was super excited I finished. Once seeing my time I was a little sadden I didn't make my goal. However, I still managed to shave 4 minutes off my last half marathon time. I met up with the rest of my group and waiting for the rest of our group to come through. One friend of ours was running the Marathon so we waited for her to come through too. If you've never seen people come to the finish line at a marathon, it is very motivational. You see all kinds of people come through. Some people are in pain, some are crying out of happiness, we saw old runner, young runners, we even saw military runners running with full gear.  It's pretty amazing. We also got to see a world record being made by Team Extreme. They had the 1st woman to finish a marathon in a Gas Mask. That to me is super impressive.

Team Extreme coming to the finish. Picture courtesy of Tonya Wise.

After everyone had finished we walked to get our bags and race goodies. We then hopped on to the shuttle bus which took us back to our car. We refueled with some lunch on our hotel's gazebo on the beach It was an amazing lunch with great friends. We then dipped our feet in the ice cold ocean and took pictures! Who needs an ice bath when you have the Ocean in November. Lol. After than we enjoyed a dip in the hot tub. It felt amazing on our sore muscles. I don't know how I will ever run a race and not use the hot tub afterwards again. It was beyond amazing. After showering and getting ready, we enjoyed our final night together as a group. We went to Pamlico Jack's for dinner. Again, another amazing place to eat while in the OBX. Amazing management and delicious food. 

Taking an ice bath for my feet in the Ocean!

I was super sad to say good bye to the OBX and, my wonderful friends but, was eager to see my boys at home. I can not wait to do it all again next year. I see the OBX Half Marathon being in my future for a long time.

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