Monday, March 21, 2016

Martinsville Half Marathon 2016

In addition to the Blue Ridge Marathon, Mr. Marathon has another race that he has done every year since its inaugural running: the Martinsville Half Marathon! Since its first annual race in 2011, he has done it every single year! And I have done the 5K once, and the half marathon 3 times. (You can read about previous years' Martinsville Half Marathons here or here or here.) The best part of this race is that it falls near mister's birthday every year! And although every year, the weather has been less than desirable, he still keeps coming back for more.... Crazy!

Being the planner that I am, I was watching the forecast all last week. One day, it said that Saturday, March 19 (race day) was going to be a beautiful day- sunny and in the 60s. I then checked back the next day and it had changed to 60s and rainy. Then another day, it said 40s and rainy. Then it said 40s and rainy again the next day. And the next. Until race day was upon us, and the hour by hour forecast said it would be... in the 40s... and rainy... oh, and windy... officially. We were very nervous about that, but we knew we had to go and participate in our great hometown race.

One of the most exciting parts about this year's run besides the beautiful weather forecast was that we had an amazing guest speaker come to our little town: Dick Beardsley, who broke the word record for the marathon (!!!!) came in 2nd place (!!!!!!!!!!) at the 1982 Boston Marathon (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) with a time of 2:08:53 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). Man, I'd be happy to have a 2:08 half... that dude is fast!!!!! It was so exciting to be in the presence of a real running legend! He spoke the day before the half marathon to talk about his triumphs, challenges, and motivation for running. Mr. Marathon and I got to attend his speech in the evening and it got us PUMPED UP!

So, we woke up on that beautiful (psych) 40-something degree morning, and it was cloudy and overcast. We made our way to uptown Martinsville to get ready to go. We took off, and we were on our way to knock out our 13.1 mile race-- him in the front, me towards the back. And as we took off, we noticed that it just kept getting colder and colder, and it had finally started raining. Apparently the temperature had dropped about 10 degrees over the course of the run! Yikes! Anyway, we got to run on our home turf, which we always love, and seeing running legend Dick Beardsley running our route was pretty cool! Yes, he actually ran with us common folk!!;)  Granted he was way in front of me, but whatevs. I can still say we ran together, right? Right! Moving on!
Mr. Marathon meeting running legend Dick Beardsley!
The run was a physical and mental struggle, which a half marathon generally always is, especially when it's run on hilly terrain with the last 3-4 miles being uphill. And because it was cold and rainy, it added an extra layer of challenge. But we both ended up finishing, luckily!

Starting line action shot!
Mr. Marathon is the shorty at the right side in the blue.
I am way in the back.
Let's start with Mr. Marathon because he obviously finished before me. He ran strong throughout the whole course, and he paced himself according to how he felt. He said that he did not want to look at his watch-- he just wanted to run by how he felt, and not feel the pressure of his pace. Little by little, he kept working his way closer to the front. After about 2.5 miles, he maintained 3rd place until around mile 11, when he caught up to the 2nd place runner. They both ran side by side until about mile 12.5, and that's when Mr. Marathon started inching away, closer and closer to 2nd place. He managed to secure his 2nd place spot on the last quarter of a mile and crossed the finish line: 2nd place overall with a time of 1:23:11!! Not only is it an amazing time and a great placing, but his time got him a PR of 4 minutes and 8 seconds! Not too shabby considering his standing PR was on a flat course and this course is super hilly! It's all those hills (ahem, mountains excuse me) that he's been running in preparation for the Blue Ridge Marathon! Oh, but don't worry, he didn't stop there. He had an additional 7 miles to complete his 20 mile long run for Saturday, half marathon or not! So of course he came back for me and helped run me in...

On the course
Victorious finish of 1:23:11!
With 1st place winner, celebrating a great run!
2nd place male overall!
With my 2 personal pacers (Mr. Marathon and another friend who was crazy enough to go back for more), I managed to finish ok. I was happy to finish, but I couldn't help but to feel a little disappointed inside. I had trained very hard through the winter with my marathon training for Charleston, then changing over and using my Smart Coach training plan, which had me predicted to finish at 2:17:43. Now, I realize that that time wasn't guaranteed. And I also realize that my current personal best for a half is 2:19:55 on a flat course, so I know it doesn't quite compare. However, I still felt that I could have come very close to that time because I completed most all of my runs (really all of my long runs) on the exact Martinsville Half Marathon course. Regardless, I finished in 2:22:33, which is my official Garmin time. I don't have an official chip time just yet due to technical timing difficulties of the event. I really do like my time only because of the fact that my birthday is February 22 (2-22), so my 2:22 was just a late birthday present! :) I hope to continue my training (for a flat half...) and continue to build/maintain my base.
Good times around mile 9 (ish??)
Coming up the hill... almost done!
I'm so fast, I'm blurry.
jk, the rain made it blurry.

Anywhooooooo, after the half marathon, we celebrated Mr. Marathon's birthday (a tad early... it's not really til March 26th). We wanted to have it right after the half so that all our runner friends who were going to participate in the Martinsville Half would be close by considering we were having his part like 2 minutes away. But, this wasn't just a birthday party. We decided to celebrate his 26th birthday and his upcoming 26.2 in Boston! So obvs it was Boston Marathon themed. We got to spend time hanging out with a bunch of our friends, and celebrating what our community is all about: inspiring one another to do great things! 
Wearing his Boston streamers
Alfredo's amazing Boston Marathon cake and cupcakes!
And yes, the logo was edible!
We have an amazingly talented baker friend!
We won't mention her name on here but it rhymes with Terri Cook... :)
What we have coming up is the Blue Ridge Marathon (for him), Star K 10K (for her), Boston Marathon (omg did we tell you Mr. Marathon is running that???? lol jk), and possibly some smaller 5Ks/10Ks (to be decided)! We hope to see some familiar faces at Blue Ridge! Remember there is the full marathon, half marathon, 10K, AND a 1 miler! There's something for everyone! Oh, and if you haven't registered yet, you can use the code TOUGHIS for 15% off any distance!!!!!! So do it, and be TOUGH! Grrr! See you there!