This past Sunday (March 29, 2015), I participated in the third Runners Half Marathon of Reston. The race is billed as a race for runners by runners and they were NOT lying. From start to finish the race was well organized and orchestrated. About a week before the race we received an official runners packet detailing everything we needed to know about the race. Not only was it informative and easy to read, but there was some humor sprinkled throughout, which I appreciated!
As usual, I obsessed about the weather the entire week before the race and by Saturday morning had resigned myself to a cold run.
My flat mama had to be readjusted for the cold, but I was determined to wear my “RUN 13.1 Like a Girl” shirt. So I went with four layers of sweat wicking and added one of my favorite sparkle skirts along with my monogrammed headband my friend Deb had gotten me for my birthday!
Saturday’s packet pickup was at the race site – South Lakes High School in Reston – and set just the right tone. I got my number, shirt, and some great swag (purple toss gloves, a race specific hoo rag, and green drop bag) from the lovely volunteers working the tables. They even took my picture so I could do a quick Instagram post!
I was in and out in less than 15 minutes with my swag. When I got home, M and I had to lay it all out to check out the fun. I LOVED the shirt and was so happy it wasn’t swimming in sponsor logos. I think I may have to reconsider my “I don’t like race shirts” stance – with a 2 for 2 on good shirts for my last two races! Our MRTT chapter had actually chosen that very same shirt style for our fall chapter shirts, so I know it fits just right!
The race start was set for 7:30. After a quick social media selfie, I headed over to pick up my friend, Jen, at 6:15 armed with my pre-race snacks (a granola bar, banana and coffee).
Upon arrival at the high school, we were able to wait inside the nice, warm cafeteria, which is always appreciated. Some folks were still picking up packets and everyone was getting their layers just right before heading out into the cold. The Reston Runners leadership made announcements throughout about what to watch for on the course and where to shed your layers. And the race photographer was bouncing around catching group and other shots. We headed out at about 7:15 with our MRTT sign to see if any other brave chapter members in Northern Virginia wanted to grab a quick shot. Erin, from another chapter, caught up with us and the race photographer grabbed our pic outside the high school.
I ran back to the car to drop off my warm coat and sign before following the group to the starting line. Erin joined us and shared that she was doing the FULL marathon and after this race would be a member of the Marathon Maniacs. We were suitably awed. The course for the half wound through Reston, but the full was something of a double loop. I typically don’t study course maps… but curiosity got the better of me and I did check this one out before the race.
After a nice national anthem moment, we were off. I kept reminding myself that this was supposed to be an “easy” run, as it was my second half in 15 days and I am still recovering from my over-training injury. Around mile 4, I had to stop to use the restroom and Jen caught up to me for a few miles of fueling, chatting and general picture taking. The course would through Reston’s trails and was filled with volunteers, great signage, and chalk messages.
The spectators were bundled up, but so supportive. My friend Kim suggested in her Saturday blog post to pass along your hand-warmers to a volunteer along the course (GREAT IDEA), so I did that as I warmed up along the way. I got a lot of compliments on my sparkle skirt and one lady said “GO GLITTER GIRL”, which kept me smiling for at least two miles.
Jen was taking it super easy, so we walked and chatted until about mile 8 where we parted ways. I fueled up again with my Honey Stinger waffle and headed off to take on the rest of the course. Somewhere around mile 11, I saw Mr. Incredible on the trail and we took a good picture. It took me several tries to get my camera working and he was great about it!!
The final mile curved around the high school and onto the track where I pushed it as hard as I could for the last .1 mile. I hate leaving anything in my tank and felt really great to be able to give it a little more gas. I crossed the finish line at 2:13:42 and am so happy to say I felt GREAT. No weird pains, no tummy issues — just so happy to have finished this half and have had such a good time.
My splits were right were I thought they would be, so that feels pretty good too!
- Mile 1: 9:22
- Mile 2: 9:27
- Mile 3: 9:02
- Mile 4: 11:38
- Mile 5: 11:12
- Mile 6: 11:15
- Mile 7: 11:37
- Mile 8: 10:19
- Mile 9: 10:35
- Mile 10: 10:02
- Mile 11: 10:53
- Mile 12: 9:10
- Mile 13: 8:51
Directly after getting my medal, I headed up to the cafeteria to wait for Jen and was so impressed by the spread awaiting finishers. WARM coffee, pizza, chili, tons of pastries and snacks. AND, of course, more lovely volunteers. They even had an area set up with cheerful tablecloths and centerpieces for regrouping after the run. Jen found me talking with another finisher who had driven in from Pittsburgh for the half and was waiting for her husband to finish the full. She took a picture of us and we headed out to the car.
Jen was already a Half Fanatic and had a wonderful sign waiting for me for after the race. I immediately went home and joined “officially”! I am now HF #10975. AWESOME!! It was a great way to spend a Sunday morning. If you are considering a local race – this one is tops in my book!