Thursday, October 10, 2013

"A Shell of a Good Time!"

When last I left you, I was seconds away from starting my sixth event for Team in Training, the Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon in Hampton, Virginia on October 6.  It was going to be a tough day to walk or run 13.1 miles in just a few hours.  While the sun was out, temperatures would climb into the 80's.  This is the second year of the Crawlin' Crab.  Last year, temperatures were in the 40's with heavy rain, I am told.  So we sure can't control the weather.

This is a really well done race.  J & A does a great job with events, in my experience.  The course is really nice with some fantastic views, and a great tour of Hampton, Virginia, the oldest English speaking city in North America.  Everything was well organized, and the volunteers were wonderful.  If you want to try a new half marathon, I think that you will have a "Shell of a Good Time" at the Crawlin' Crab.  I wish the crowds had been better to cheer, but you know, that is outside anyone's control.

I thought I would show a few photos from the race course, the first one of the Hampton University Band providing some excellent music just after the start.

And here is a view of the people just ahead of me.  We all started in the fifth and final gate. I walked for a minute with my teammate Nancy, and went into running intervals to alternate with walking.  I passed some of my other teammates, including mother and daughter Bev and Ashley, and the Sisters Stone.
Right around the time I passed these "crab heads" - pretty cool - I passed my friend Lelia and her sister Amy.  Amy was doing her first half marathon.  Lelia and I try to train together every week or two when our schedules allow, so it was great to see her.
One of our cheer squad snapped a photo of me running at around mile 3:

After maybe five miles, we reached the Virginia Air and Space Museum, which is well worth a visit.
Some time later, running through a neighborhood, these girls were out watching the race in front of their home, which was all decked out for Halloween.
A couple of miles of the course went along the Hampton Roads, where the USS Monitor fought the CSS Virginia in 1862.  It was one of the most historic naval engagements ever, and wooden warships have been obsolete ever since.
Here is a view of the Hampton Roads from the race.  This entire part of Virginia is called "Hampton Roads," that actually is a specific body of water.
Up to this point of the course, I had been mixing running and walking intervals.  At the nine mile mark, I realized that I could come in under three hours if I walked the last 4.1 miles, so that is essentially what I did.  My legs, not used to running, just felt shot.

Here is Coach Michelle with her purplish - pinkish parasol and red cowbell cheering for me.  It was always wonderful to see one of our green-clad coaches.  I had less than two miles left at this point, and was pretty tired.
With less than a mile to go, here was one last water view.
A little while later, I crossed the finish line.  Here I am with my crabby medal and pulling my shirt out a bit so you can see the photos of Ed and Judy.  It was a great feeling to complete this race for a great cause and in memory of Ed, a great guy, on his birthday!  Enough "greats" in there?

About a minute after the race, drenched with sweat and so hot and tired, I am also pretty happy!

It was wonderful to race for a cure once again.  At just under two hours and 57 minutes, this was my slowest (of four) half marathons so far, about 30 minutes slower than my fastest.  But that is okay with me.  I have not been running much, and this was not about my time in the race.  It was about my time AT the race, racing for a cure, and the cause and people I ran and walked for.

To all who trusted me to carry their loved ones on my shirt for 13.1 miles, I did my best to honor them and their memories.

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