Battleship Half Marathon and Gold Rush Half Marathon, North Carolina-My first half marathon (and third and fourth)

I’m not even sure why I decided to run a half marathon.  I had just ran my first 5k and that was the only race I had ever ran as an adult.  Most people don’t run their first 5k then start training for a half marathon but I felt compelled to do it.   I chose the Battleship North Carolina Half Marathon in Wilmington and I checked out a book with training plans from the library and combined that with some online training plans.  Since the race was at the beach, I thought it would be flat and relatively easy, at least as far as half marathons go.  Indeed it was mostly flat except for running up the bridges.  I hadn’t thought about the bridges.

The morning of the race, a storm came in and it rained and was very chilly the entire race.  It was even snowing in the area as we were driving back home that day, which was crazy because it almost never snows on the NC coast.  But back to the bridges. Running on the grated bridges was new to me and since it was raining, I was worried about slipping and falling but fortunately that didn’t happen and I finished cold but satisfied I had done my best.

Determined that I could do better based on the poor weather conditions and the fact that it was my first half marathon, I decided right then that I would run that race again the next year.  The following year, the weather was ideal and I cut almost 16 minutes off my previous finish time. However, my second Battleship North Carolina half marathon actually followed a couple of other races, namely a 15k and a half marathon in Hawaii Hawaii-2nd state.

A note on race “bling.”  Back when I ran the half marathons in North Carolina such a thing as race bling didn’t even exist.  Medals weren’t given out to every finisher and about the most you got for your entry fee was a cotton t-shirt.  For the Battleship Half Marathon, I got a long-sleeve cotton t-shirt and for the Gold Rush Half Marathon, I got a short-sleeve cotton t-shirt.

From my post-race notes for North Carolina:

“Ran Battleship Half-Marathon in Wilmington, NC twice. First time was first half-marathon ever. Course was nice; mostly flat except for a short hill downtown and inclines going up bridges. Was strange running on grated bridges, but was ok. Was cold and rainy, which actually turned into snow the first year. Was warm and sunny the other year. Finish time for first race was 2:20:04 and for second time running this race was 2:03:51.

Gold Rush Half-Marathon in Concord, NC was pure torture. Rolling hills turned into huge uphill only (no downhill) toward the finish. Was hot and humid as well.  Was surprised that I finished in the time that I did- expected to do much worse. My finish time was 2:05:37.”

The Gold Rush Half Marathon was one of the hardest races I’ve ran.  I ran it after running a 5k, three half marathons, and a 15k so by then I at least had a few races under my belt. Since it was a point-to-point course as opposed to an out and back course, we didn’t get to run down the hills that we ran up.  It was a combination of the dreaded three H’s for a race:  hilly, hot, and humid.  The race began and ended at Reed Gold Mine near Concord, NC.  It was one of the most low-key races I’ve been in and at least when I ran it, there was only a t-shirt given to runners (no medals) and minimal fruit and water at the finish.

Battleship Half Marathon

 

 

Why I travel

As a child, I remember going on a few vacations with my parents and later, after they divorced, with just my mom and brother.  On one of our few vacations as a family of four, we went to Myrtle Beach for a few days with another family of four.  At one point or another during that vacation, someone from both families either had an earache, kidney stones, a cold, or motion sickness.  Needless to say, it was not a fun vacation.  During a vacation with just my mom and brother to Virginia Beach and Colonial Williamsburg, my mom kept complaining about how expensive everything was.  At least we weren’t sick during this vacation, but still, it wasn’t exactly a fun time either.  These are the memories I have from family vacations as a child.  I do have some good memories involving vacations as a child as well, but given my history it wouldn’t be surprising if I never wanted to travel as an adult.  The funny thing is, I can’t seem to travel enough to scratch the travel bug I developed as an adult.  When I was in college, I won a trip to the Bahamas, which was fantastic given that I was a poor college student paying my own way through school.  This was my first time outside the United States and I loved it.  I knew then that I wanted to travel more and see and do all I could.  Unfortunately, that was hard to do on my meager student wages so travel would have to wait.  Since finishing school many years ago, I’ve managed to travel to more interesting places and finally start to feel like I’ve dipped my big toe into traveling the world.  I still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface as far as the places I’ve been compared to what’s still out there for me to explore, but I’m slowly but surely seeing the world.  So why do I travel?  Not to impress my friends by name-dropping exotic places.  Most of the time I don’t even post the photos on Facebook.  I think it’s more to see new places and try new things.  I know some people don’t like to get out of their comfort zones and go to new places, but I love it and can’t imagine my life without travel.  I certainly wouldn’t be the same person I am today if not for all of the places I’ve visited and things I saw and did there.

Why I run

I’ve been running pretty much since I can remember.  I remember running on the track team in grade school and how my lungs would ache on those chilly mornings in West Virginia.  I remember the sheer thrill I would feel as a kid when running with our dog through our neighborhood and how happy our dog looked.  I remember running to stave off the freshmen 15 in college.  Then I remember getting shin splints during one run in college and almost crawling back to my apartment, followed by the agonizing pain I felt when all of my leg muscles seized up in the shower.  I decided to take some time off running at that point and I did not run again for about four or five years.  Then I realized how much I missed running and I decided to train for my very first 5k.  The race I chose was on the 4th of July in North Carolina.  Being young and naive, I didn’t even think twice about running through the heat and humidity that envelopes the North Carolina summers.  Fortunately, the race was in the evening, but I remember it was still extremely hot and humid even after the sun had gone down.  It was during that summer that I remembered why I run.  It’s not to stay in shape or lose weight. It’s not so I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight.   When I run, I feel free.  I feel alive.  Sure, there are times when it’s painful and not much fun, but I know when I’ve finished a run, I will feel satisfied that I’ve put my all into that run and I have done my best.  I run because I love it, quite simply.