Race recaps.

Mike to Mike Half Marathon race recap

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It’s totally fine to publish a race recap two weeks after the race, right? Well, since this little blog is essentially my way of keeping up with my running strides, I’m letting the time lapse slide and posting it anyway. Plus, there’s nothing I enjoy more than reminiscing about a great race (and by great I mean fun great, not performance great – trust me).

There’s something about dragging your butt out of bed at 3 a.m., trying to choke down a bagel at 4 a.m., hopping in the car for a 1.5 hour drive, trekking across an empty downtown in search of the glowing line of porta potties, then standing among thousands of strangers humming with adrenaline that makes me happy. And this is why normal people think we are insane.

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In fact, this was the first race I’ve actually been able to drag my kid out of bed to watch. I figured the draw of Fort Bragg would counteract the distaste of waking at 3 a.m.

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The weather was perfect for this one – cool, overcast, no real wind to speak of. I, on the other hand, was not in good shape stepping up to the starting line. I had spent the week eating and drinking in gluttonous vacation fashion and was carrying those initial vacation pounds that require more than a day of healthy eating to shed. My hamstring was still giving me the usual issues. And I was suffering from a slew of other issues that made me feel less than energized at the 6:30 a.m. start.

IMG_2881 Like every race, I entered it thinking “go for PR”. My current half PR is 1:44:29. And I was set to PR for… Maybe a mile. Yeah, by the end of mile 2 I knew it wasn’t going to happen. The first 5 miles were pretty hefty rolling hills. I’ve been hill training like a beast but this particular morning my legs said “hell no, we won’t go.” So by mile 3 I laid off a bit and just decided to enjoy myself.

This was one of the best fueled races I’ve ever ran. Every two miles there was water and UCAN. There were plenty of porta potties (which I had to – for the first time ever during a race – graciously use in mile 8). They had a ton of other fueling options as well – GU, Sports Beans, Bananas, etc. It was like a buffet every few miles in the race. I didn’t even feel the need for fueling until mile 10 – and I swear, then it was out of boredom. Yes, even while racing, I eat out of boredom. And that, apparently, is what happens to me when I’m not attempting to PR.

But this was a super fun and inspiring race. I even stopped and took a few pictures.

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How can running on a closed highway not make you feel a little special?

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The most heart-wrenching mile ever. This one tears at your heart strings. The families of fallen soldiers holding flags in commemoration. I think I almost hyperventilated I got so emotional. Running and tearing up do not mesh well.

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And we are on base! There’s a creative way to hang a banner!

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I love this finishing medal. My favorite thus far. And running BFF Heather got a PR. Whoop whoop!

So, it wasn’t my best race – but it wasn’t my worst either (which goes to Rock ‘n’Roll Raleigh in 2014 – I will be vindicating that one this weekend). Finish time was 1:52:47. I was still 7th in my age group.

Take away? Running a race for fun is relaxing. Running with military members is inspiring. And running with the British Airborne is intimidating. Beating a bunch of men doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment when those men are running in boots with packs that probably weigh more than me on their backs. They are beasts. Handsome, well-built beasts with amazing accents. And on that note…

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