13.1 Miles of Green

On March 22, the culmination of weeks of training and long runs (some of which were inside) came down to the starting line of the VA Beach Shamrock 1/2 marathon. I lined up with 4 other awesome girls to run the next 13.1 miles. Some people thought we were crazy for doing this thing. I mean, honestly, why in the hell would people PAY to RUN 13.1 MILES. To say nothing of the other crazies who would start an hour later to RUN 26.2 MILES.

Not the people at the starting line. But then, if we’re all crazy, how would we know?

In November, 2007, I completed my first 1/2 marathon at the City of Oaks in Raleigh. That one started when Robin looked at me in August and said “We can do that marathon.” Notice, the marathon was NOT what I completed. With starting grad school that fall, my training schedule blew apart and I dropped back from the full to the 1/2. Robin, with 5 children, did the same. Al, on the other hand, driven by the need to complete a marathon before he turned 30, did the whole thing. When I crossed the finish line, I said my next goal was to run an ENTIRE 1/2 marathon.

I had heard about the Shamrock 1/2 for awhile and thought: it’s flat, at the beach and sponsored by Yuengling…so I knew there’d be good beer at the finish line. I registered for it and sent an email to Robin and Alison to see if they wanted to join me. The group grew to a total of 5 women. We trained…some days together…some days cursing each other when others had a good long run and we didn’t. And then we showed up on a Friday in March to this FANTASTIC house in VA Beach. Our support staff was comprised of 3 of the 5 husbands who chouffered, cooked, shopped, checked the hot tub (and filled it with hot water because it wasn’t getting hot enough), made mimosas, bought us fun stuff at the race expo, got up when we did on race day and dropped us off at the race course (before sunrise)…and were there at the end to cheer us down the home stretch.

Robin stayed with me the entire course…and I was the slowest that day. Somewhere around mile 3 was a beer tent. Miles 5-7 were through a wooded highway with random signs along the way to keep us laughing (Baseball is wrong. Man cannot walk with four balls). Then we ran onto Ft. Story…occasionally catching views of the beach. All along the way was this little bitty girl with her green tights on and then short shorts on over that…and a sports bra…with perfect abs and her little belly button ring. Her and her dude would run past us and then walk. We’d pass them. Then they’d run past us and then walk. And we’d pass them…and so it went for a LONG time. Somewhere between mile 11 and 12, I looked at Robin.

“You see that girl in the green tights? I’m crossing the finish line in front of her.”

And then the 2:30 pacer passed us.

Damn.

Robin looked at me.

“Um. We’re passing the pacer, too. C’mon.”

OK. Green tights girl was one thing. But the pacer? I didn’t know if I had it in me.

“Come. On. I am NOT finishing behind the pacer.”

And we passed him. We finally turned the corner to the finish line…in front of green tights girl and the 2:30 pacer…never having stopped to walk. And we crossed that finish line in 2:27:02.

And it felt AMAZING.

Seriously. I was high off that for the next 4 days.

And here are some pictures from that magical day:

Trying to find the start line

Trying to find the start line

Sunrise over VA Beach on 3/22

Sunrise over VA Beach on 3/22

FINISHED

FINISHED

The happy support staff

The happy support staff

Unaware that I will feel this tomorrow

Unaware that I will feel this tomorrow

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