Last weekend, I ran the Town of Celebration Half Marathon. Last year, this was my first half after having ABS, and I absolutely loved it and was excited to run it again. (Recap Here).
I got there just in time to meet up with all the fabulous MRTT ladies from multiple chapters. Like had to jog from the car to make it in time, which actually worked out well because it was pretty chilly (like 45-50 degrees) and this warmed me up! Our picture is pretty comical since it was still so dark and you can't see anything besides some reflective strips on some of our clothing. We did get a better picture of just our local chapter at least! After I met up with them, I met up with some of my other friends too, stopped to use the bathroom and made our way to the start. Love this race, because even though it's a good 30 minute drive from home, it's relatively small compared to most halfs and that means we don't have to get up super early like Disney races to get there and wait around for hours before it starts.
|Multi Chapter Meet Up|
|Post Race Selfie, Happy with a new PR!|
My set my goal for this race at 2:10-2:15 and was thinking that 2:10 was a pretty big stretch since achieving 2:15:59 at Space Coast just 2 months before took everything out of me, so didn't think I'd really be able to shave off 6 minutes, but I was going to try and knew I'd be happy with any sort of PR, even if it was just a few seconds! They had both a 2:10 and a 2:15 pace group (well technically a 4:20 and 4:30 pace group since they were for the marathon which is the same course for first 12.5 miles) so I lined up with the 2:10 pace group, with the plan to stay between them. I started off feeling great and ended up staying ahead of the 2:10 pace group for the entire race. They got close a few times, but I picked up my pace and stayed pretty steady for me. Usually my slowest mile is towards the end of any race I run, especially half marathons, but it was actually my 1st mile. Although my 11th mile wasn't far behind it. I thought for sure I was going to slow down significantly towards the end like I did at Space Coast, but I felt great the entire race and finished in 2:08:50, beating my previous PR by 7 minutes! And for comparison purposes, last year I finished in 2:37:16 and that was a PR for me at that time.
Another great thing about this race is the support. In addition to all the wonderful volunteers, there is a town of folks from the Town of Celebration that come out and cheer alongside the course. There are also a ton of great signs posted throughout the race, which I loved last year, and was happy to see again this year! The best support though was a huge group of MRTT Mommas came out again and now that I know them better than last year, having them cheer me on made it even more special. Every time I'd see a group of them, I'd be sure to push a little harder!
The most incredible thing I saw was this little girl running. I swore she couldn't have been older than 8 or 9 based on her size and she was ahead of me for most of the run and we played leapfrog for some of the race as I was running intervals and she was running straight through. She was running with a guide, so I wasn't sure what the story was but she was keeping a steady pace around 9:30 and looked like she was loving every second of it. Turns out she was 10 years old, and I believe she had a guide with her just because of her age. She also ran the entire Full Marathon, not just half, which is what I had assumed and was amazed enough thinking that. I saw her finish line picture and she looked so refreshing, not exhausted at all and had a huge smile on her face. I don't know if this was a first or what, but regardless, an incredible feat at any age and her pace was just over 10:00 overall. I couldn't even imagine doing that now, nevermind at 10 years old!
The course was the same as last year (I believe), but I am happy to report the boardwalks were dry (thanks to no rain) and well marked and freshly pressure washed so nice and clean. I didn't see or hear of any injuries, which was refreshing after how bad it was last year.
The post race festivities never disappoint either. I waited around with some of my friends and cheered on other friends until they finished and then we went and enjoyed the post race food and drinks. They had samples from several of the local restaurants and beer too (although I never do drink the beer LOL) just for the runners and it was all yummy.
Some water marked pictures from the race photographer, which reminds me, I need to start wearing my bib lower and work harder on getting rid of that belly pudge!
Official Chip Time: (overall pace of )
Place: 548 of 1871 finishers
Place: 255 of the 1226 Women Finishers
Place: 28 of 150 in my Women’s Age Division (30-34)
My RunKeeper stats (which accounts for the zigzagging, weaving, etc.):
13.62 miles in (overall pace of )
Mile 1: (slowest)