Saturday, August 17th marked my fifth Half Marathon! (Remember my very first 13.1 HERE?!) This was my first time running this race – the 27th Annual News & Sentinel Half Marathon – which was held in my hometown of Parkersburg, WV. Another person who chose to run is a familiar face to y’all – my bestie Jenna! And there was even a surprise entry to the half marathon – my HUBBY!
Yes – that’s right….the hubby decided to try his first half marathon on our home turf! I had an inkling – way back when I signed-up online – that he may be ready to try a race by August, so I went ahead and signed him up too. I was right! We did the packet pick-up and expo Friday afternoon, and I was just so excited to finally run in my hometown!
We drove the course on Friday…and I was scared out of my pants at all the hills! So I decided to not focus on attaining a sub-2-hour time…but instead focus on tackling the hills and finishing strong. My race goals were as follows:
GOAL A: 2 hours, 5 Minutes. This was my stretch goal. I was thinking that if EVERYTHING lined up, and I felt stellar, then I might be able to reach this time, even with hills. This would give me an overall 9:32/mile pace.
GOAL B: Sub 2 hours, 10 minutes. This was my most realistic goal – allowing for a 9:55/mile pace. Not too bad considering there aren’t a lot of hills in southern Louisiana.
GOAL C: 2 hours, 15 minutes. This was my most realistic goal – allowing me to have a 10:17/mile pace…plenty of room to tackle those hills and recover.
I set the alarm for 5:30 am – left the house by 6:10 am – and arrived at the in-laws house by 6:15 am to pick-up the hubby. We thought a night apart was a smart idea, since we were both a lil’ nervous and not sure how well we would sleep. We then headed toward downtown at 7:00 am, giving us a good, full hour to stretch-out and warm-up and calm the nerves! We did not have to pay for parking, but rather chose to “donate” to the (2) local high school bands. In case you didn’t know….community support is AMAZING in small towns! After we pinned on our numbers and gathered up our gear, my mom, and then my aunt, both pulled into the parking lot! We snapped a few pics, discussed a few lessons learned (both my aunt and uncle have run this race in the past!), and then we were off to find the bathrooms. We finally met up with Jenna about 10 minutes before the start, took a few more Pre-Race pics, and headed to the bathroom lines again, all the while discussing how we should NOT start out too fast (my really bad habit). With three minutes to go, we hopped into the massive start line, started up our playlists, and then we were off!
The area around the starting line for the News and Sentinel Race is rich in history. Standing near the intersection of Juliana and Second streets, you will find the County Courthouse – the U.S Bureau of Public Dept – and the Oil and Gas Museum. A giant American flag is unfurled from the roof of the Museum just prior to the race. The gun sounded right at 8:00 a.m. on a beautiful sunny morning. The temperature was in the low 60s, which was PERFECT running weather for mid-August.
MILE 1: Much of the first mile is a slight up hill and is ran on Juliana Street – bringing you through the arches announcing the entrance to the Historic District. You glide down a hill right before you reach the 1 mile mark.
MILE 2: Fairly flat for the majority of this mile…which is a good thing because the next mile is rough!
MILE 3: Long, gradual uphill – for the entire mile!!!
MILES 4-10: After turning off of Route 95, we got to tackle a series of small rolling hills along Gihon Road and Rayon Drive for nearly four miles. Individually the hills are no big deal, but collectively they wear you down. The segment of the race is the longest on the course. My mom and aunt were cheering for us at Mile 6 (and handed off my handheld water bottle!)…and I was never so grateful! Even though I was feeling fairly good after the long hill….I got a really annoying side cramp around mile 6.5. According to the hubby…I was also VERY cranky and mean during miles 7-8. Oops! You can’t tell from the picture below, where Nick’s mom and grandma were waiting at Mile 7, but I was just trying to stay focused and not lose any motivation… I finally noticed it went away just before Mile 10…so miles 8-10 were really a blur for me. I barely remembered seeing my mom and aunt and uncle at mile 8… There was also a slight traffic jam near Mile 10, so we ended up seeing the family again as they sat in the car making their way to the finish line!!!! Our support was amazing!!!!
MILES 10-11: During this part of the route, you tackle one of the most dreaded parts of the race – the 13th Street Hill! Even though the total length is just under a quarter of a mile….it is STEEP!!! Mentally, you round the corner just after Mile 11 and you stare up at a monster of a hill! And as you are running, you hit a lil’ plateau…then you have to keep going up! Aye-yai-yai! So mean. Luckily, we knew Nick’s mom and grandma were waiting just beyond the top of the hill – so we had a lil’ extra motivation. Neither of us wanted to walk the hill…and as vain as it may sound….we wanted to look “fresh” when we reached the top! HAHA. Rather….as fresh as one can be 12 miles into a hilly half marathon!!!
So how did I do?
I ended with a 2:03:09 – completely surprising myself!!!
So how did the hubby do?
Amazing!!! He finished at 2:02:51. He felt strong the whole way – even after tackling the 13th street hill. AWESOME run for both of us!
Hundreds of white footprints mark the route of the half marathon through Parkersburg! Loved this!
I ran into my high school cross-country coach!!!! 12 years after high school graduation and we are both still running strong!
And last…but not least! There were 18 – yes, you heard me, 18! – water stops along the path. Amazing volunteer support!!!!
Another awesome memory – a joint ICE BATH with the hubby!!!!
25 Challenge: Half to Run!
In my quest to run half marathons in half the states….I have now completed State #2 – West Virginia! (Post HERE)
I’ll keep chasing down that sub-2-hour Half time!!! Until the next race…