As part of our Baltimore Marathon training, we decided to mix up our weekend runs a smidgen and throw in a couple of half marathons. The goal was to be able to run somewhere different and, let’s be honest, add some hardware to our medal racks along the way.
This past weekend, four of us set out to run the inaugural Herndon (VA) Half Marathon. We knew it would be smaller (it was competing with some of the biggies in the region – Ragnar Road, Dulles Runway 5k/10k and the Navy-Airforce Half Marathon) and that was OK with us.
We arrived around 7:15 on Saturday morning for the 8am start. I had picked up our packets on Friday night, but we could have gotten there at the same time and grabbed them upon arrival. After using the restrooms, we caught up with another MRTT friend, Annie, for some pictures by the historic train car in Herndon.
After some more jumping around, we lined up at the start line for a welcome and “wave start” for the 39 half marathoners onto the W&OD trail. The four of us happened to be standing at the front and when 8am hit, the race director said “OK, ladies – GO!”. SO off we went, doubled over in laughter for the first 5 minutes of the race. After a while, much faster runners began to pass us and we fell into our 10ish rhythm that has dictated our training runs all summer. We, of course, made time for silly selfies along the way.
The course did not have mile markers, but it did have blue arrows to guide us, which were very helpful as we navigated our way through the back woods of Herndon. We crossed a very lovely stream four times and had to pause for some additional photo opportunities.
As the sun started to come out, it got a little rough out there and we all agreed that we had to force ourselves to run in the sun for the remainder of our training. It was super humid, but luckily not as hot as it has been throughout the summer. After lots and lots and lots of winding, we found ourselves back in Herndon headed toward the finish line.
Where there was a local high school drum line, the faster runners who had gotten WAY ahead of our first wave start, and some delicious cinnamon buns.
There was also a raffle – I won a shirt and Liz won a water bottle – so win/win for us!!! Not sure if I will do this one again next year, but we had a good time and enjoyed a sparkly Saturday morning seeing another lovely set of trails on in Northern Virginia.
Onto 20 miles this Sunday and it’s TAPER TIME!!!
What do you think of small races?
Have you seen a difference running in the heat this summer?