As predicted, the Marines put on an excellent race yesterday! Let’s break it down.
I didn’t decide until 3 weeks ago to register for this race but there were plenty of spots and I had no problem registering. It was $110 for the race plus an “in training” shirt. There was a bit of a delay in being able to register myself for the Track a Runner feature but it was fixed by Friday. I had to communicate with the organizers a couple of times about this and they were quite helpful.
The expo was at the local expo and conference center. We arrived at 4 pm on Saturday and were able to park and get my bib with no problem. The race shirt was a nice, bright orange tech shirt. I really like it! The expo had the local running store, a couple of supply booths, a NUUN booth, and a few race groups. They also had a lot of Historic Half merchandise for sale. It also had Mahatma Rice and a bathtub restorer… We were in and out in 30 minutes, that includes the time it took for our son to play some of the give-away games. Sean Astin was also running the race but I didn’t see him at the expo or the race.
Unfortunately, all of the hotels right near the start were booked so we had to stay a few miles south of town. The race started at 7 and we parked about 6:40. We didn’t adequately prepare for the walk to the start so I had to hustle through the corrals to try to seed myself before the gun. I was still working my way back while the front corrals were in motion. They also had the spectators pushed back from the sides of the start so my husband and Little Runner didn’t see me at all. Next time, we will stay at one of the hotels next to the expo center and have my family spectate from the one mile marker. It was very open there.
This was my first residential race so it was a nice surprise to see home owners sitting on their porches with signs and bells! There were shuttle buses from the start to mile 7 but the lines were so huge that my family was not able to get down the course. I’m not sure where the buses wound up going because there weren’t a ton of families on the course. It was mostly locals. There was a group of Colonial period dancers and a couple of musical groups. One was more rock but there was a nice strings group that was fun. Oh, and Civil War drums! We ran past a Confederate cemetery and a bit of the river. Of course, the big talk was all about Hospital Hill. Seriously, people were talking about it from mile 1 and the misinformation was epic! One person was telling everyone it is two miles long! In reality, it was about a mile and a half long but there was a flat spot mid-hill so it didn’t feel that long.
Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely challenging, but one of my big goals this race was to run ALL of the hills, including Hospital Hill, and I did! It was very gratifying to run past others who were walking! I think that was a first for me.
I was able to finish strong and was very proud of my effort. I PRd by two minutes on a much hillier course and I didn’t fall apart like last time. I do wish that there had been more crowd control in the final stretch. It was very distracting to have people saunter across the course while runners were making the final push. I also wish my family had been able to see my finish but it was recorded by Comcast Sports so they were able to watch a clip.
I would give this race a solid A-. The bus issue was my biggest gripe but everything else went very well. They had plenty of on-course water and Gatorade and even had Sports Beans at one point. The weather was drizzly to start but then it dried off. It remained very humid but the temperature never reached 70 (thank goodness the sun didn’t emerge!)
I was prepared for cooler temps and wet conditions so I wore capris, a short sleeve shirt, visor, and wool socks. I also had a garbage bag/rain poncho in case I needed it.
This was such a good race for me and really helped my confidence after last month. I think that I ran a smart race: I didn’t go out too fast, I saved some energy for the hills, and I stopped and stretched at mile 10 before anything started seizing on me. I had some ankle pain but it wasn’t debilitating. Per my pattern, the Marine race was my redemption run 🙂 I am looking forward to doing it again next year!