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Half Marathon #2 has been been officially finished!

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I woke up around 5:30 on Sunday morning, had the standard PB&J with coffee for breakfast, and headed out to the Starting Line. It was only supposed to be about 55 degrees outside but with the humidity at 100% it felt more like 70 degrees! After the 10 minute walk from our hotel to the start I felt completely warmed up and ready to just go.

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This was my 11th road race but it was actually full of a ton of firsts.

– It was the first race I’ve run where Medieval knights battled for the privilege to start the race.

– It was the first race I’ve started before the sun was up

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– It was the first race longer than a 10k that I’ve run by myself. When Navyguy and I split up at the start corrals I was pretty nervous. I always think that standing in the starting corrals right before the race starts is the most nerve wrecking part. Once the race started up all my nerves turned into excitement, I had some really great solo training runs and I was looking forward to proving to myself that I could finish strong on my own.

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– Not really a first, but this race definitely had the best bands of any of the races I’ve been to. They blew the bands at the rock n roll marathon out of the water.

– It was time I’ve conquered a huge hill without walking. Sorry for the blurry picture but this giant hill almost mile long hill popped up right at mile 2. I knew it was going to be there so had mentally prepped myself during the first mile and when it hit I stayed slow but steady and made it up strong.

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The upside to have such a big hill means there was just as big of a downhill 🙂

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– This was my first time meeting a new person during a race. Around mile 4 someone asked if they could pace off of me and we ended up running together and chatting until mile 7. Those 3 miles went by so fast! Note to self: make more friends at races

– This was the first time I’ve had to make a porta potty stop during a race. I knew it was bound to happen one day. Around mile 8 I stopped to pee and things started to go downhill from there. I think my legs were pretty upset that they were expected to start running again after stopping for so long.

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The first 8 miles were great but I have to admit that the last 5 were pretty tough. After making the porta break my legs starting cramping up and the sun was really starting to beat down. I made a few breaks to stretch and starting taking a lot of walk breaks.

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Around mile 10 the course came along side the beach and the breeze and shade was heavenly. The only sad part was that the course took us right past the finish line.

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This is my “Why am I passing the finish line instead of crossing it face.”

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Luckily soon after the finish line I saw the mile 12 marker and my spirits went way up. Only 1.1 left! I can definitely run a mile!

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This is my “I’m really excited that there is only 1 mile left and I’m trying my hardest to make a really happy face but I actually just look really uncomfortable” face. I was actually really happy and excited despite what my face looked like. The plus side of passing the finish line was that after I passed the turn around point I knew how close the finish line was and felt an extra surge of energy to get there.

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The last half mile or so was right along the beach and the finish line was actually on the boardwalk itself. It was all really beautiful, but I’d be lying if I said I was focusing on anything other than just getting to the end.

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Finally the Finish!

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Now there’s a legitimately happy face! I grabbed the gigantic finishers medal, drank about a gallon of water and headed straight for the free beer. The best part of the medal is that its actually a magnet and a bottle opener, I thought it was a pretty sweet idea to create a functional race medal.

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My finish time was lot slower than my first half but I knew going into it that I wasn’t as trained as last time. The race was originally supposed to be a training run for the marathon so when the race got tough I just reminded myself that it was just a training run, that I wasn’t trying to PR, and that I was just out there to run and enjoy the race. Rather than basing success on a finish time I’m focusing on all the other goals I accomplished, the race was a huge accomplishment simply because I didn’t beat myself up or get negative over the fact that I was running slower.

Overall I thought this race was awesome. I would recommend it and would definitely run it again and since this was the inaugural race I’m sure its only going to get better.

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