Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Surftown Half Marathon

My summer of running prompted me to enter the Surftown Half Marathon on September 18th. My sister Heidi was already registered, so the thought of running a half marathon was less daunting having a successful Colorado Relay behind me, and a sister running the same race.

The course wound through Misquamicut and Watch Hill (i.e. flat course with beautiful views). But it gets even better, the finisher’s medals are surfboards and the post race meal was clam chowder. I couldn’t pass all of that up, and neither could Tim, all three of us registered.

Race day came and it was cold. I bundled up with yoga pants and a jacket over my running clothes. I was slightly disappointed that I had taken my knit cap out of my backpack. Tim had his knit cap and proudly sported it. We joined the thousand other runners bouncing around at the starting line, trying to stay warm.

We shed our extra layers and began running. For the first eight miles, we mostly ran together, three siblings out for a long run. After getting elbowed by Tim a few times, I decided not to run in the middle. We would loose each other at aid stations, but quickly regroup (usually we lost Tim, who then sprinted to catch back up with us).

As promised, we got some great views – salt marshes, streams heading down to the ocean, beautiful houses and of course the ocean itself.

At about mile eight, we started running on a road that also had traffic. This necessitated running single file. I was running behind Heidi and Tim and found two problems. One, if you are anywhere behind Tim, the only view you get is of his back – I had no idea what was ahead of us – he is too tall. I was also having trouble finding my stride, since we were running so close together and I was at the back, I kept shortening my stride to stay behind them.

Heidi had run a half marathon just six days before this one, so I knew she was tired. I decided to head off on my own. Tim did the same thing and quickly passed me. Every once in awhile, I caught glimpses of him, three or four minutes ahead (I told you it was a flat course!) I could see Heidi just behind me. We all stayed in close proximity for the rest of the race.

Somewhere around mile 10 I began to question my sanity. I had signed up to do this, and paid money to do this? I wondered what on earth was wrong with me. But I kept running. When mile marker 12 came into view, I felt a whole lot better. I could manage 1.1 more miles.

I heard the finish line long before I saw it. People were cheering, there was music and the festive air that goes with any race. I finished strong, a few minutes after Tim with Heidi coming in a minute behind me. We all got our medals and headed over for clam chowder. When awards were announced we found out that Tim placed third in his division. Pretty impressive for his first half marathon!

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