While my time itself was not great, I still had a great time at the Richmond Half Marathon. As explained in my pre-race blog post, I’ve run this this particular half three times before, but it has been three years and I’ve run 24 other halfs since I last ran Richmond. Going into this race, I tried to use my experience of the course to my advantage, but was also curious whether this would feel a whole lot better to race this one in better shape than the past.
Below: 1) all my race, warmup, and cooldown clothes the night before, 2) switching into my racing flats for my 2nd half in as many weekends
Above: 1) post-race, already stretching, in warmer clothes with my finisher hat, 2) love the shiny race medal! The VA part is awesome.
Of my four Richmond Halfs, this one was the most windy and cold. In particular, at least for this go-around, I take back what I said about the first 3 miles being quick—the headwind made this section rather rough and slow-going (perhaps all the more so because I was expecting it to feel a little better than it was). I knew the Bryan Park section in the middle might be rather uncomfortable—and it was—but knowing that this hilly, twisting, uneven portion would be over in two miles was quite mentally beneficial. I was surprised but relieved to discover I enjoyed everything on the course after Bryan Park the best. Maybe it just took me forever to warm up on Saturday, but I felt better as the race went on, and got into a good cruise over the last few miles. Maybe all my half marathon experience kicked in, but I didn’t feel like I was dying as I rolled back into downtown Richmond. At 1:23:58, I was quite glad to be under 1:24 because 1:23 just sounds a heck of a lot better, though I have been ready to take down that sub-1:20 for a while now. I’m going to cut myself some slack, as I’ve got my eyes on the marathon prize in a month from now, and raced significantly less than normal in October with traveling. If I didn’t feel quite great yet, I was happy with my consistent pacing—this bodes well for the 26.2.
With the marathon in mind, I actually also raced a 10k on Sunday—I won this and raised $250 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital along the way. That was a great cap to the weekend as a whole! For 19.3 miles of racing spread over 26 hours, I felt great! I don't often do two longer races in two days; how well I felt while racing again on Sunday is something to take away as a definite positive!
3 POINTS OF OPTIMISM BESIDES THE RACE ITSELF:
1. I got the best parking spot ever. This offered an unobstructed escape route out of the city after the race. This was a great relief to my mind the night before. In the past, I have definitely driven around in little circles of traffic due to closed roads.
2. Never underestimate the awesomeness of a mini one-day vacation. Holy moly, in the week before this race, I graded something more than 1000 pages worth of work in midterm portfolios. (I remember now why in 2014 I opted for the 8k rather than the half! Ha!) Man, was it awesome to just be in a hotel with a fluffy comforter and feel like I was getting away from the routine for a night…I was wishing that I could have lived at my hotel for a few days. I somehow managed to be on the club level, and got a mini breakfast there post-race.
3. This was no surprise as I've run this one before, but the whole event was very well organized and full of camaraderie and energy. The volunteers at the plentiful water stops were great--for both the half and marathon, water and Powerade are offered every 2 miles for the first half of the course, and then every single mile over the last sections. This finishing area on Brown's Island felt like a party. I was very happy with my post-race pizza AND my green and white finisher's blanket (given to all who complete the half and full)! Thanks to Sportsbackers and Richmond, VA for being such welcoming and supportive hosts! Before Thanksgiving, I was thankful already for this chance to get away and run 13.1 in an environment as happy and vivacious and supportive of runners as this one.
Below: 1.) Racing flats, warmup/cooldown shoes, and post-race shoes, 2. postrace, happy having retrieved my warm clothes from bag check
Above: 1. postrace Starbucks banana chocolate smoothie, 2. my awesome Richmond Half finisher's fleece! Excited to wear this running!
I am sure another Richmond race is in my future! I appreciate how this weekend offers such a variety of distances too, from the 8k to half to full -- this is such a great way to include more of your friends and family in your weekend racing adventure, or to just have more options yourself as to how sore your legs will be come Sunday morning.
4th Richmond Half -- check!
Great weekend -- check!
Already thinking about next year -- you bet!
Thanks again to the city of Richmond, Sportsbackers, and all the runners and volunteers who helped to make this weekend of racing so fabulous.
Right: checking out the finish line clock at the end of the downhill.