Saturday, April 19, 2014

Race Day Recap - Diva's Half Marathon

Last weekend, I ran the Diva's Half Marathon in Galveston. The Divas races are a series of races all across the country in awesome places like San Francisco, Myrtle Beach, And Puerto Rico. Since one of my new running goals is to make trips out of races, I foresee some more Diva runs in my future. This was the first Diva's Half Marathon in Galveston (you may remember my love for Galveston running ), so I was excited to give it a try. I was also interested in this race because it is an all women event (men can run, but aren't counted in the results) complete with pink boas and sparkly crowns. I've mentioned before that after the seriousness of the Chevron Houston Marathon in January, I'm in need of some light hearted, no pressure races.  So, way back in early February I signed up for the Diva run and then promptly forgot about it and barely trained. 

First, let me give a shout out to my friend Amy who talked me into signing up. This was Amy's very first half marathon and she did great.  Best of all, she had a great time. I feel like it's safe to say that we have a new running sister. 
(Pre-race photo. We were way sweatier at the end). 
While I'm giving shout outs, I'd like to give one to my dad, who drove an hour to be at the race by 6:30 a.m., just to watch me run. I don't think dads ever stop being daddies. 

I would also give a shout out to my husband, who not only wakes up with me on every single race day, but who has  put up with months and months (years - truthfully) of living with someone in training, which is not an easy task. But if I were to get into all he means and has done for me, the blog would be a book. 

Back to the race. The start line was in the heart of Galveston at The Strand. A perfect place to start and finish a race. Over the thirteen miles, we ran through some historical neighborhoods (Galveston contains one of the largest and most historically significant collections of 19th-century buildings in the United States (per Wikipedia)), along the ocean, and through some newly developed neighborhoods. It was at about mile 3 that we made our turn for the seawall. I love running next to the ocean. Nothing makes me feel more alive and more connected to the whole world than the ocean. A couple of times I caught myself staring over my shoulder to watch the waves (this is not a smart race-running technique and I wouldn't recommend it). 

I noticed early on that I was on-pace for a really great run. Nothing feels better than looking down and seeing your pace and realizing you aren't even struggling to keep running where you want to be. So on I ran, over-taking runner by runner (I even overtook the pace runner!) and really feeling good.  That is, until mile 10 when we made the loop turn around and I was hit right in the face by a brutal headwind. Now, knowing what running next to the ocean is like, I was expecting the humidity and wind...I just wasn't expecting to be slowed down so much by it. I dug deep and willed myself to run, but I just couldn't get my pace back down to where I wanted it.  Watching seconds stack up was hard and frustrating, but I had to remind myself that running 13 miles is hard. It's not supposed to be easy. Luckily, after only two miles of the crazy headwind, we peeled back off towards The Strand for the finish. I have to say this was probably my fastest closing mile ever. My legs were kicking and while I was exhausted and hurting (more on that later), it felt amazing to be headed in so fast. I remember seeing my husband and daddy as I flew on to the finish. 

Of course, being greeted by this at the end, didn't hurt!

We were also greeted by a glass of champagne with our medals. Of course, I promptly dropped and spilled my champagne (noooo!!). 

Overall, I have nothing but great thoughts about this race. It was fun to push myself past my expectations. Running with all women was amazing. You've never seen a cleaner race. Very little spitting and every single person made it to the trash can with their water/Gatorade cups. I even witnessed a woman mid-stride fix the garbage bag, so that it was in the proper position for the rest of us to drop our cups. Women are also amazing encouragers. I got high fived by a total stranger as I passed her. Plenty of women (including me) would yell out encouraging "you got this and you can do this" when passing someone who was really struggling. It was such a great run to be surrounded by strong, motivated, and determined women. And it was a lot of fun.seeing all of the men along the route cheering on their badass ladies. Girl's Rule!

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