Saturday, November 20, 2010
Outer Banks Half Marathon Race Recap
Okay - as promised, the race report from the Outer Banks Half Marathon. We arrived in Nags Head at about 4:30 pm on the night before the race. It was pretty, but very windy. The above photo is Melissa on the beach outside of our room, and the wind was whipping. It had us a little worried, to be honest. But we knew we weren't running for time, so we headed for the race expo to pick up our packets.
The expo was in a little building a couple of miles from our hotel. We asked the desk clerk how to get there and she gave us very easy directions. This was one of the best race expos I have ever attended - it beat the Nashville Women's Half Marathon expo by a mile. We each got a long-sleeved tee (mine was a midlayer half-zip), and Melissa got a running skirt, and I got a tank top - they were closing things out as low as $10 an item! I wish I'd had a little more money to spend - I could have had an entirely new running wardrobe! We were happy with our purchases, though.
We each got Bondi-Bands to keep our hair under control.
Here I am in my pirate Bondi-Band. It was a great deal, and a very cute way to keep your hair under control in the wind! I had a photo of Melissa in hers, but it has mysteriously disappeared! Hey, Melissa, where's that photo?
Our wake-up call was for 5 am, but we were both awake at 2 am. That's how excited we were about this race! We laid in our respective beds and talked for a bit, and finally went back to sleep. When 5 am rolled around, we jumped up and got into our race gear.
We drove to the parking area for the start of the half marathon, and joined several other people in walking to the corrals. There were quite a lot of porta-potties, so it was easy to get in the pre-race nervous pee! There was no wind, and the temperature was in the mid-50's - absolutely perfect! We were very lucky, because in prior years there has been wind.
We stood in the 10-12 minute/mile corral for quite a while. We could hear the announcer, but we couldn't really distinguish what he said. But, they were playing music and we were people watching, and we figured we'd start running when everyone else did, so we didn't really care.
Melissa was standing next to me, when the runner in front of her suddenly bent over to stretch with her butt right in Melissa's face! It was too funny - let me add that there was ample room on either side of the road - you really had no need to put your best "butt" forward, so I have no idea why she did that. Melissa turned around and we cracked up - and so did several other runners who had seen the girl! I wish I had had a camera - I would totally have taken a photo of Butt Girl!
Other than Butt Girl, though, there were quite a few runners in costume, and that was fun. I also love reading the funny tees that runners wear. One girl had a sign taped to her back that said, "This booty will NEVER surrender!" Love that!
At one point, it sounded like the announcer started the race. Everybody started moving toward the start line, but nobody was running, so we really weren't sure. We walked for several minutes, and finally started jogging. We crossed the start line about eight minutes later.
The first mile felt great, but Melissa is rehabbing an injured leg, so we had agreed on a walk break at every mile. At the end of the first mile, it was really hard to take that break, but we did it anyway. Mile two was the same - we didn't feel like we needed a break, but we took one anyway.
At mile three we needed to get rid of our outer layers, so we used the walk break for that and it was fine.
At mile four I needed a potty break (I have a lamentably small bladder, even though I am a nurse), and the line was pretty long. Melissa timed our break, and it was 8 minutes. But Melissa is a good friend, so she waited for me and even cheered me on - "Go, Terri! You can do it!" to the great amusement of the other folks in the potty line!
Mile five, six and seven were uneventful - just steady running and equally steady walk breaks. The whole race (with one exception) was very flat and easy. At mile eight, they had an energy gel by Hammer Nutrition, and I did not want any. Melissa insisted that we get one, though, so I did - reluctantly - but these weren't bad. I finished mine, and will look for these energy gels when it's time to replenish my stash.
Mile nine was steady, but we knew we were coming up on the bridge. The Washington Baum bridge is a very tall bridge designed for ships to pass under, and it was the only hill on the course. Once I saw the bridge, though, I knew we had it. Our driveway is steeper than that bridge, and we run up it a couple of times a week. Mile ten was at the crest of the bridge. I asked Melissa if she wanted a walk break, but she didn't, and we were so close to the finish that I figured it wouldn't hurt to keep going.
We ran through mile ten and took a walk break at the water station at mile eleven. Then there were two more miles until the finish. I felt great - I could have kept going for several more miles. Which is good, because I have a full marathon coming up in a couple of months!
About five minutes after we passed mile twelve, we started to hear the noise from the finish line AND we started to see race finishers with medals around their necks. I love seeing people who've already finished, particularly when it's obvious they've come back to cheer other people on.
And then it was our turn - the finish! Here we are, crossing the finish line! It was fabulous - and my favorite part is getting the medal at the end of the run!
And the pirate bling - the medals! Aren't they pretty, sitting there waiting to be claimed?
Here we are, having our picture made with a pirate at the post-race party! He said, "Are you sure you two ran that race? You smell awfully good to be finishers!" Melissa was crowing about the pirate thinking she smelled good, so I burst her bubble by reminding her that pirates bathe maybe once every six months - of course she smelled good to him!
Here we are, sight-seeing after the run at the Wright Brothers Memorial. Melissa is wearing her race tee, and I'm wearing the tank top I got at the race expo. Don't we look fit?
Here's Melissa on one of our recovery runs. Look at that sky!
And here is Melissa with her little Princess - the Princess learned to ride a bike on this trip and we all biked through the village on Ocracoke Island. All in all, a very active vacation!
Our finish time was 2:28:25 by chip. Not bad for a race we just wanted to finish!
So, to sum it up - I highly recommend the Outer Banks Marathon Weekend as a destination race. It was a flat, fast course with one moderate hill. The race was very well-organized, the local folks were friendly and welcoming and the weather was perfect. And who doesn't love a little pirate booty?!
Big Fat Greek Marathon Fund: $62.50
Goal: Unknown (they send out information in February)
Days until our next race: 4