Today was the Rock CF Rivers Half Marathon. I hadn't planned to do this race, but my friend Audrey was going to run it for her first half marathon, and when I heard she was going to be running alone, I asked if she wanted some company. She was happy to have someone to run with, and since I had a long run on the schedule anyway, it worked out really well.
I told Audrey I'd meet her at her house at 6:30, so I got up at 5:00 this morning. I was really tired, and it was hard to get up, but I got up and checked the weather to see how I should dress. I ended up wearing my Cold Gear tights, a Cold Gear long sleeved shirt with a light jacket over it, a fleece headband, and gloves.
Audrey had picked up my packet for me last night, and I was really excited about the shirts for this race! The design is so clever... (the CF in the race name stands for Cystic Fibrosis, which is where the proceeds of the race go to).
|It says, "They keep you alive"|
Even though it was for Cystic Fibrosis, the shirt reminds me of Mark, because he had lung cancer.
Audrey drove us to the race, and we picked up her friend along the way. We got there really early, because we were afraid that parking would be a problem. We went inside and waited around until the start. We lined up toward the back, because Audrey was estimating her pace to be around 11:00/mi. It was absolutely freezing cold while we waited! I couldn't believe there was still snow piled up in spots, and it's almost April.
The race started, and off we went. I hadn't seen or talked to Audrey in a long time, so we had a ton to catch up on. We started off at a 10:30-ish pace, and Audrey seemed pretty comfortable with that, so we just chatted and kept running. Before I even knew it, we'd run five miles. Seeing our pace then, I knew that Audrey was definitely going to beat her goal of 2:30.
The rest of the race went by SO fast. While we were running, someone behind me said, "Hey! You're in my magazine!" (I could only assume he meant Runner's World, and not Women's World, haha!). I learned his name was Ryan.
At one point, we went through an airplane hanger, where there was a band set up... but of course, right as we went through, they were taking a break! After we got out of the hanger, the wind was really brutal for the last three miles. I could tell that Audrey was really tiring out after mile 11 or so, and I tried to keep talking to distract her from the fact that she was running. The most she'd ever run was 11 miles, so the last couple of miles were uncharted territory.
I was trying to do the math in my head to see if she could pull off a sub-2:15 finish time, and I thought it would be close, but possible. Once we hit mile 12, I told Audrey that she could probably run a sub-10:00 mile. She said she really didn't have any energy left in the tank, so we kept going along at around at 10:05 pace. Once we were in view of the finish line, however, she found some energy in the tank. ;)
She finished the thirteenth mile in 9:57, and when I glanced at my Garmin, I could see that she would be able to do it. I told her that if she gave it everything she had left, she'd finish under 2:15. And then she took off "like a bat out of hell" (one of Mark's favorite expressions!); I actually had a hard time keeping up with her at the end! With about 100 meters to go, we were running really hard, and there was a woman in front of us, so we each went around her. We heard her yell, "You bitches!" (in a joking way). Haha!
We crossed the finish line in 2:14:09... more than 15 minutes faster than her goal!
A couple of seconds later, her friend came across the finish line, and we realized that it was Audrey's friend who we'd passed with literally just about 100 meters left! Even when she yelled to us, we didn't realize it was her--we both thought it was just a random stranger who wasn't happy that we passed her. We all had a good laugh about that.
I was absolutely freezing after the race, so we headed back to the high school to warm up and get a cookie. Audrey's husband and son were there to see her finish, and her son gave her a 13.1 sticker for her car :)
I took a Panera salt bagel (for later) and a sugar cookie. They had a ton of different cookies to choose from! I wish I'd seen them all before choosing. We sat down and waited for one of Audrey's other friends, and then we all went to lunch afterward. Audrey's friends were super nice, and I had fun (both during the race and afterward).
It's exciting to run your first half marathon, so I'm really honored that I got to be a part of Audrey's special day! She did better than she even dreamed she'd do, and she had a great race. She's already looking forward to doing another, so I'd say it was a success. :)