Saturday I ran the Dismal Swamp Stomp in Chesapeake, VA. Contrary to the name (it’s named after the Great Dismal Swamp) it was a really nice race!
This was my first out -and -back race and it was also the smallest half marathon I have ever run in. There were 771 running finishers (there was also a walk division). And only 53 women in my age group. Compared to the 10’s of thousand I have run with in my previous 3 halves.
Before I get into the race I want to send a shout out to a great woman, runner and fellow sister in Christ Amanda. She blogs at www.runningforhim.com and Running for Him on facebook.
I was honored to wear her great shirt and got many compliments from fellow runners before, during and after the race.
The morning started off chilly…..ok it was downright cold for those of us in VA. A whopping 37 degrees at the start, um brrrr. But the sun came out and broke of the chill quickly. At the finish it was a beautiful 71 degrees. But back to my race..I had no predetermined plan for this race. I was going to just run it as a “see how I feel” race. After a week of vacation and indulging 🙂 I was also off my racing weight and usual pre-race diet. (Man I really missed my night before meal of chicken fajita!) I also had to watch my hydration as we were driving from NJ and I didn’t think the hubby would appreciate any additional bathroom stops on the 6+ hour drive.
Soon after the start I found the pacer I was looking for and wanted to keep in sight. I ran with her for about 4 miles. After that I decided to go at it alone, she was running faster and building in time for walking. I prefer slow and steady, walking the water stops. It was also at mile 4 that I felt some knee discomfort. At mile 6 I was still on PR pace. By mile 7 the knee pain had increased and I walked some. At mile 10 I was very surprised to find I was still on target for a PR. But that’s kinda were it really fell apart. I tried watching and adjusting my form to help with the knee to no avail. I finished miles 10 – 11 mostly walking. Just before mile 12 I found myself amongst other injury laden runners. As I was passing a man, clearly in knee pain, we shared a few words of kinship and he threw me these words of encouragement “We have to work with the wheels God gave us” and so I did. I picked the pace up for the last mile and had a strong finish alongside another female walk/runner. (we had been passing each other on and off for the past few miles) We high-fived each other after the finish.
Although I didn’t PR, surprisingly I was only 2 minutes slower than my best time. And I still beat my first half time by 8 minutes!! Not too shabby considering that was only 7 months ago!
Plus I think the shirt didn’t hurt 😉 Thanks Amanda for helping me find my happy pace.
Here are a few additional pictures. Be sure to check out the sign!
We have been in Connecticut for the past few days. Traveled north to spend some time with family and Celebrate the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. What a wonderful time of year! I am blessed to still have both of my parents living and able to spend time between their house and my mother-in-law’s. I have seen 2 of my siblings, my nephews, my Godchild and some good friends. All whom I love very much as miss seeing on a regular basis.
As far as running I was lucky enough to have this week scheduled as a taper week. I did my last long run Thursday morning before we left. It was good and strong. It made me happy and more at peace about the upcoming Dismal Swamp Stomp Half this Saturday. Dismal will be a nice training race for me. I don’t plan on another PR, but we will see how I feel. I wasn’t 100% sure I would do this race. However we may not be in VA next year I figured why not? (Plus my bestie and another good buddy are both running it. Let’s just say they have been “strongly” encouraging me to participate. Who am I to let them down?) Yes I am a sucker to peer pressure even at 40, Lol.
Taper week worked well into my visit back home. I have had plenty of time to spend with family and not feel like I had to strain to fit in my runs. Plus I think I have eaten my weight in Easter food so exercise has been a must! I have been good about candy……its all the other cakes and pies that have done me in! And we won’t even mention the homemade pierogies and babka bread, oh my! These polish “pieces of heaven” are not only tradition in my family, but something that is very very hard, dare I say impossible, to come by in Virginia Beach.
We will be heading back to VB via an overnight stop in NJ soon. The race is this Saturday. Saturday? Sweet! Did I mention I LOVE Saturday races as they don’t interfere with my Sunday church service. 🙂 Plus you get an extra recovery day before Monday, double bonus. Despite its name Dismal Swamp Stomp (um dismal? really) it’s slated as a nice flat “stomp” through forested wetlands on a peaceful paved path along the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (thus the name). Sounds nice and peaceful and somewhere to find your happy pace. In addition its a local race with a cap of 2,500 which last I heard had not been met. That will be nice since the last few races I have done have been in the 10’s of thousands.
Now I just need to make sure I don’t finish last or get eaten alive by mosquitos, lol. 😉
Today was the First church service since our dear friends Sue and Matt moved. Four Couples usually sit together in some sort of combination, 8 of us when we are at full “power”. Sometimes 4 of us when all the guys are deployed somewhere around the world. But today there was only 1…me. No Sue, no Alicia, no Cheryl. No Matt, Issac, Robert or Ron. You see one spouse is currently deployed, and the others were coming to late service or were away for the weekend.
So there I sat, just me. Before the music started I looked around, slight sadness filled my heart. My formerly full row now mostly barren. Then I noticed a woman I had recently met, sitting a few seats from me. Good morning I said ” We met on Wednesday, your Susie right?” ”Yes” she replied. We talked a little as the music began to play. Soon I was swept up in the music and by the spirit. My sadness dispersed and only the joy of being with my Lord remained. You see I wasn’t alone after all, the Lord was right there by my side, waiting for me to take notice. He is there for all of us, always. I just needed a little reminder today. So in the end it doesn’t matter if there are 1, 2 or 8, you are never alone. Right this minute he is here with you.
On a funny note; Since I was especially missing Sue (knowing she would no longer be able to join us at service) wasn’t it ironic that God sat me next to a new Sue…Susie. And even more ironically I spoke to Alicia after she attended second service. I told her about Susie, and she in turn told me she sat next to a person she had not previously met. Her name…..Sue! Coincidence? I think not, lol.