This was the third weekend in a row that we were at some type of race. Two weeks ago we were in Pittsburgh for Kevin’s race, last week we were in Delaware for my race, and yesterday we were at a more local race- The Historic Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, Virginia- and we weren’t even running it! Next weekend we won’t be at any races, but the week after that is the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon that I am running. What can I say? We’re race junkies. We seriously live for this stuff!!!
We planned to go to the Historic Half to support my friend Amanda as she ran her first half marathon. We ran the hot mess that was the Hot Chocolate 15K together back in December, and that has remained as her longest race to date. She took a break from running to do the Insanity program that I let her borrow, and then came back to running even stronger than before to train for this half marathon. She lives in Fredericksburg so she trained on the actual course and felt super confident going into this race. However, she asked me if I would come run part of the race with her, since she really loved it when we ran the 15K together. How could I say no to that?
We looked at the course map and decided that I would wait for Amanda at mile 7. The farthest she had run in training was 9.5 miles so she felt that it would be better to have me there during the second half of the race. There are also a couple big hills towards the end (including the infamous Hospital Hill) and she wanted me there for support.
Kevin and I woke up early to make the 30 minute drive down 95 south to Fredericksburg. We arrived around 7:00, right when the race was starting. He drove me as close to the course as we could get before the roads were closed, dropped me off just past mile 3, and then drove to the finish line to wait for us there. I ran along the course (on the sidewalks) to get up to mile 7 where I would wait for her. It was really quiet through this part of the course and through local neighborhoods. Some people were starting to come outside to cheer on the runners and there was a marine at every corner since this race is part of the Marine Corps Marathon series. Even though I was running on the sidewalks, some of the spectators were making jokes that I was the first runner – I laughed and told them it would be amazing if a pregnant woman won a half marathon!
After running four miles I reached mile 7. This was actually perfect because I had wanted to get in a long run of 10 miles, and with the additional 6 that we would run together I’d be able to do exactly that 🙂 I got to my spot just in time to see the first male runner pass by, and not long after that a steady stream of runners came through. I kept my eyes open looking for a girl in a red headband and the blue race shirt, but it was tough because there were so many people! I also wasn’t receiving the tracking texts that I signed up for so I was afraid I would miss her. But then, I heard her scream my name as she approached where I was standing. I jumped right in and started running with her. She looked really strong and happy. She told me that she had just seen her husband and her two kids, and that she was feeling great so far.
Meanwhile, Kevin was at the finish area taking great pictures of all that was going on there.
First male and first female!
Amanda and I chatted as we ran along and the miles seemed to fly by. We went through downtown Fredericksburg, then over to the hospital where Hospital Hill was waiting for us. We passed mile 9.5 and I reminded her that this was the farthest she had ever run before and that she was KILLING it! I knew that her two goals were to run the whole race without stopping to walk and to finish around 2:30. We were right on pace to do that when we hit the hill. Since she had trained on this exact hill she was confident, strong, and knew what to expect. I was SO impressed with her determination. We were passing people that were walking up the hill left and right, and then finally we reached the top. She told me there was one more hill just before mile 12 as we crossed over 95. This one felt even harder even though it wasn’t as long, because our legs were tired. But we pushed up it, passed more people, and were still on pace to meet her goal. When we got to the top of the hill all we could see was the Central Park area of Fredericksburg, filled with stores, people, music, and excitement. The last mile was so much fun, and Amanda dropped her pace down to 9:30 as we approached the finish line.
Kevin was waiting at the perfect spot, and we saw him right away as he cheered for us!
Amanda was on cloud nine as she got closer to the finish line. She was about to finish her first half marathon!!!
She crossed the finish line at 2:29:49. She met her goal of running sub-2:30 and not walking at all during the race. She was so happy and proud and so was I!
Running with friends is one of my favorite things. I have run with my friends as they ran their first races, everything from 5Ks, 10Ks & 15Ks to half marathons and even a marathon. It never gets old to me to see them accomplish something they never thought they could. I love to share my love of running and what it can do for your mind, body, and spirit. It is truly contagious, and I hope to continue spreading this joy to others for a long time!