Yesterday was my first half marathon of this year. I ran the Waynesboro, Virginia Park-to-Park half which is part of the Run the Valley series.
I couldn’t have asked for a better day. The weather was perfect. We were in a valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains, so the air was a little crisp making the temperature just right in the sun and the shade.
The only oddity of the event was that my friend — let’s call her Poison Hivey — couldn’t run as planned.
When we left for Waynesboro on Friday, she had developed hives. She brushed it off, took some Benadryl and hoped for the best for race day morning. Well, Saturday morning brought with it more hives which were red and raised and angry. She went back and forth as to whether to run, but when it came down to it, she knew that running would make the situation much worse (which was confirmed by her doctor when she got home).
Instead of tearing up the Park-to-Park course — which she would have smoked, by the way — she drove the course and found a few good spots to cheer on myself and our other friend. Thank you, Poison Hivey, for the cheers. They did wonders for my mental state out there!
I’ve mentioned before that the course was described as having “gentle rolling hills,” and this was most certainly true. It was tucked between the mountains and we crossed streams, ran through farmland as well as quaint little small town roads with homes and shops smattered along the way. It just reminded me how much I love a rural race course. There were cows mooing; roosters crowing; and really nice people at the aid stations who cheered for us runners.
The race is also quite small. I think in total there were about 600 runners (and I’m not sure if that’s the total for just the half marathon or if it includes the 5K, too). After doing the Cherry Blossom 10-miler a couple of weeks ago — a race with so many runners the course never actually thins out — the Park-to-Park course was a welcome change. I’ll definitely try to hit this one again next year.
As for how I performed, I started out strong, but definitely felt those hills depleting my energy during the middle section. My final time was 2:06 — not my best, but certainly not my worst, especially now that I’ve been more consistent this year (to say the least!). I really thought my time would be more like 2:15-2:20 because I hadn’t been doing much speed work and, frankly, I didn’t know what to expect from the hills. I came in 19th in my age group. All in all, I’m happy with my time and placement.
So, here are things to work on for the next go-round (advice welcome!):
- How to keep my energy level steady. Meaning, I need to keep my time consistent throughout and not putter out at the end. (And, yes, I had a GU, plus water and Gatorade along the course.)
- I need to do more hill training and speed work. Sigh. Obviously, this will help the bullet above, too.
- I should consider placing my friends in a protective bubble two days before a race so they don’t break out into hives or catch colds or whatever.
One thing I missed out on while at this race was a kids’ fun run here at home that both my girls participated. I’m proud they tackled this course — a track run and obstacle course. Cute photos below.