This past weekend, November 22 and 23, I participated in the Inaugural Harbor Lights Half Marathon and 5K Get Lit challenge in Norfolk, VA.
I was excited as always to participate in another J&A Racing event. J&A Racing is the premier racing company in the area. I swear they have their skills down to a science. And this new race was no exception. Well organized, plenty of cool swag and a great new course in Norfolk.
Saturday morning was one word……brrrr,. It was very cold for this time of year in Virginia. Like most of the country we had been experiencing below normal temps for most of the week. Saturday morning was no exception. With a start time temp of 27 my buddy Cara (Running in Sanity) and I bundled up an headed for the start line. My goal for this race was nice and easy. I have been fighting a cold virus all week and I wanted to stay as healthy as I could. So no PR goal just a nice shake out for Sunday’s main event. This was the first time I have ever run the day before a half marathon and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Although cold for VA the breeze was light and there was some sun. The only negative for me was I wasn’t a huge fan of the two cobblestone roads that we hit during the course, (we adapted by running on the brick sidewalk) the race was a nice new course to run. This was also the first race Cara and I have ever run together from start to finish. It was enjoyable to run with her as I often run solo. I never got too warm during the race and my hat, headband, gloves etc stayed on for the entire 5k. Race #1 done
Race #2 The Half Marathon (lots of firsts this weekend for me)
- first time I completed an entire half marathon using run/walk
- first time I ran with a buddy at my pace
- first time doing a race challenge weekend
- first time I have ever run a race sick.
- first time there was mini pie tarts at mile 10ish! 😉
- first time I had negative splits during the second half of a race
Sunday’s weather started off about 10 degrees warmer than Saturday at about 38 degrees. Thank goodness. The high by my anticipated finish was supposed to be in the upper 40’s low 50’s. I decided to go with a visor, short sleeve shirt with a long sleeve half zip top over that, capris and a gloves. I also brought a “throw away” fleece I got from the thrift store for waiting at the start and warm up miles. I am not a fan of cold and wanted to have options. I had a plan to meet up with a buddy Natascha whom I met through the Sub Thirty Club on Facebook. We had met in person at Crawlin’ Crab Half but missed each other at Wicked 10K.
After catching up with Natasha at the corral we headed to the start. I had warned her ahead of time about my cold and that I had no definite time goal because I wasn’t sure how I would feel. We decided on a run/walk interval of 3/1 and off we went. The course was really nice with some great views of Norfolk. I guess I never realized how lovely Norfolk really is. Natascha and I ended up staying together until somewhere between mile 7-8. I was feeling way better than expected and decided to go ahead and stick with my 3/1 intervals. I truly enjoyed pacing with another runner, it really did make the miles wiz by. I wished my buddy luck and headed out on my own. I have run a few races in Norfolk before (Heart of Ghent, CHKD 8k and The Freedom Half) but never this exact course. I wish I had more pictures to share because I have to say this was my favorite race in Norfok by far. And the tiny tarts around miles 10 didn’t hurt either! YUM!
At mile 10 I was more than pleasantly surprised at how good I felt. Run/walk and the HRT or heart rate training (you can learn more about that by clicking here) I have done since August definitely made all the difference for me. At about mile 11 I realized I was in PR territory, even while not at 100% health. Wow! I found a few people around and ahead of me to set my sights on for those last few miles. I missed my PR by only 28 seconds! Of course a PR would have been nice of course but I am 100% satisfied with my race effort. I took off just over 11 minutes since my last half in October. That’s huge! Kudos to J&A Racing for another amazing race! Now its time for me to get healthy so I can enjoy the Manchester Road Race with my brother on Turkey Day in CT!