Two years ago my dad & I ran this race as our first "long" race. It took me 1:54:14. When I ran it I was so impressed with that time, but since then I have improved and knew it would not be a problem to beat this PR. It has been rainy all weekend and the latest forecast was calling for rain on race day, I glanced it over but didn't pay it much attention. (I should have!!)
I woke up around 3:30 AM to thunder and lightning lighting up the room. I never really fell back asleep and was extremely nervous for the drive up to Annapolis and for the run. Last year it was cancelled because of the hurricane and I was afraid of driving to the race and having it be cancelled again. Against my husbands suggestion I left to drive up in the monsoon. (I was determined to get my finishers premium!)
What thousands of runners did until it was go time....
Not to mention, I was supposed to run this race in my traveling skirt from Team Sparkle, but due to shipping difficulties it did not arrive in time. If you know me you know I already have a few, so I still wore one anyway and was determined to run it in!
As soon as it was "go" time thunder and lightning rang out again and we were off running in the POURING rain. By the end of mile 1 all you could hear was the sloshing of everyones soaking wet shoes. I honestly thought for a second that I would be better off running barefoot!
At mile 1.5 my friends Shannon and KC were volunteering at the water station so it was nice to seem them along the route. The cups of water they were handing out were over filling with water from all of the rain! :)
By mile 2 it was hailing, or at least that's what me and hundreds of other runners thought as it was hitting us in the side of our face! This run is not the flattest courses and I was just hoping it would clear up before we had to climb the bridge. Sure enough it did, briefly, and before I knew it I was at mile 5 and over the bridge. On the way over the bridge the leaders were already heading back and I just wanted to be in their shoes! It's so inspiring seeing how fast they run....one day....maybe!
I glanced down at my watch and saw that I was running about a 9:30/mile pace, which is pretty good for me, and I was thrilled! In this weather I thought for sure I'd be more around the 10:00/mile pace. I decided to pick it up, even with the hills, and aim for beating my 1:35 PR from the Cherry Blossom race last year. (Which was ran on a flatter course with much better weather conditions) I managed to keep a pretty good pace and going into the last mile I was at 1:25. I dug deep and pulled any energy I had left into running that last mile - it's always a goal to have my last mile be the fastest but I usually don't meet that goal. I was doing well until I remembered the .2 part of the last .4 mile that would be through the soaking wet grass and then the final .2 incline to the finish. I was so focused on the finish line I almost missed Shannon and KC cheering me on! (Thanks ladies!)
Realizing they were screaming and trying to say hi!
To my surprise, my watch still said 1:33 when I crossed the finish! VICTORY was mine!!!! This race is well run and prepared with volunteers, as soon as you cross the finish you are given an ice cold towel and sent to pick up your finishers premium! This is the only race I know of that requires you to finish the race before you are given your "race shirt", you truly earn it in this one! I think this years was the best yet.
I can't wait to see my race pictures because I only remember seeing one photographer - which means you will be in for a hilarious treat when they come in!!
I was even more surprised when I synced my watch and saw my mile splits, this was the most consistent I have ever been and I am so impressed that my last mile was 1 minute faster than my others!