Where do I start? Saturday’s half marathon was better than I had anticipated. I woke up, didn’t really feel nervous, and got dressed for the race. I’m fortunate to live about three miles from downtown – the location of the start of the race. We made our way downtown around 7 (Kenny ran the 5k) and I didn’t have much time to get nervous.
The race started promptly at 7:30. It’s a slow start, with more than 1200 half marathoners making their way through the starting line, and there isn’t a wave start. We started to make our way through downtown Asheville, and I thought that what I was seeing would have made a great photo. That’s when I made the decision to start taking pictures of the course. (I had taken my camera just to get a starting line photo of me and the husband.)
|Asheville Half Marathon|
Right around mile 2, the course goes straight up Cherokee. And then there’s a sharp turn and more uphill. As always, though, what goes up, must come down, so there was some downhill after the torturous uphill. We made our way through a neighborhood, down Charlotte Street and down Edwin and Kimberly. Along Kimberly, I noticed that the Grove Park Inn golf course was nothing but a blanket of fog. And this was also where I saw one of my professors from college.
Around mile 5, the publisher was next to me, and I introduced him to my Spanish professor. (See? I wasn’t taking the race too seriously.) I felt pretty good. I was drinking my Gatorade G2 every now and then, and eating some of my sports jelly beans. And then at mile 6, I felt a sharp pain in the top of my leg. I just pushed through.
I had the country club golf course to run by, and really pretty houses. There were a few angry spectators (read: drivers who were mad that they didn’t think about the road closures/delays and were delayed getting wherever they needed to go.) I made my way through Beaver Lake, and another neighborhood. I then was near the river (industrial part of the city) when it dawned on me that I was close to the 3/4 mile uphill battle…and mile 10. I ran most of the hill, with one short break to drink. And I finally made it to the top, the mile 10 marker, and the overlook….looking out over fog.
Around mile 11, a girl was next to me asking about the Country Music Marathon. I was still jogging along, listening to my awesome playlist, and in no mood to talk, but I entertained her for a few minutes. We hit Broadway, a water stop, and a couple of musicians who were playing for the runners. Mile 12 was behind me and I could see the buildings of downtown Asheville.
The final hill was up Walnut. What a beast. I mean, to put something so steep just before the 13 mile-marker. But I made it to the top, took a right and saw the Basilica. One more left turn and I saw the Indigo hotel and the marker for mile 13. I was still taking pictures. My final photo was the clock as I finished.
My chip time was 2:20:30. Last year, my time was 2:36.
I felt so incredibly sore on Sunday. I ended up doing an hour-long stretching workout with Kenny, and felt considerably better today. I then went to the chiropractor, and I’m almost as good as new.
I’m not sure what helped me most with this year’s race. It might have been my lack of seriousness. I didn’t put a lot of pressure on myself, not many people knew I was running the race and I just had fun with it all.
Will I do it again next year? Maybe. I don’t know. It’s a tough course. For now, I’m just going to enjoy the fact that I made it, and it didn’t suck.