The Ashburn Area Running Club (AARC) put on their second Half-Marathon and 8k this weekend. And they did an AMAZING job. I can always tell when runners think through races and anticipate the needs of their community. That was evident in so many aspects of this race.
Packet pickup was held at the Potomac River Running store in Ashburn. The greeters and volunteers were so friendly and welcoming. I had my munckin with me, and his newly acquired light sabre, so that was my biggest challenge in navigating the packed store. Along with my packet I picked up a second pair of Super Feet and was allowed to pick a free Brooks prize!! I chose a fun little sport watch. My friend, Carrie (who ended up placing 2nd in the half the next day!), was greeting folks as we arrived and I snagged a pic with her as we headed home.
Upon inspection, my packet had some great coupons from local businesses and a very cute tech shirt. Last year, I heard, the shirts were not ideal. This year, they did a great job!
I spent the afternoon with my kiddo, at a yoga for runners workshop and getting myself together for the race. My Running for Brave teammates and I made sure our array of flat mamas were worthy of the cause we have been fundraising for over the past four months.
One of the best parts of a local race, being able to get out of bed on the relative late side, grab some coffee, and head over to the parking lot with time to spare. I was meeting my MRTT friends at 6:45 for pictures before our 7am start. It was a little cold, but we all snuggled up for a group shot as the sun was coming up.
Our Running for Brave team also lined up for some shots. This AMAZING group of women included THREE ladies who were running their first half marathons EVER. Collectively we raised over $4,000 to support This is My Brave. As a professional fundraiser for 15+ years, I have raised millions of dollars for schools, universities, hospitals, and programs. I have never been more touched or proud of a fundraising effort than I have been for this one. My friends and family were exceedingly generous and I am so humbled by their support.
Another benefit of a local race – being able to hang out with so many friends at the starting line you don’t even realize it’s almost time to go!!
But the gun did go off and off we went! My friend Deb was at the starting line and joined me for the first half mile from the high school. She peeled off, as to not ACTUALLY bandit the race, and I found my friend Jen around mile 2. We spent miles 2-11 journeying through my neighborhood running routes. My feet happily remembered hours of training runs along those streets. And Jen is always wonderful company. This was her 10th half and she knows to listen to her body. As we hopped on the W&OD her knee pain was picking up, so she sent me along. I knew I had more gas in my tank, so I really pushed my last two miles on the trail. I must have passed 30 people!! As I ran up the last hill on the trail, I saw my teammate Laurie and shouted “Up and Over”!
The course ended at the high school and I knew my family was planning to be at the finish line. Just as I rounded the track to the finish, I saw them and had to stop myself from bursting into tears.
I finished the race at 2:06:34. My fastest race this year. AND I felt great. AND I ended with negative splits.
I finished, grabbed my medal from a lovely high school girl, and found my cute little family!
We hung out with my MRTT friends to watch our first timers finish their races. As my buddy, Vicki, crossed onto the track I couldn’t help but tear up for her accomplishment. We had ladies from our chapter meet all sorts of goals that day – overall wins, age group places, PRs and first times at all distances. It was a spectacular morning!