The Annapolis Half Marathon was a very happy day for me! As you may of read from previous Tweets I set a PR which I am still smiling about. You may be wondering what exactly a “beastly” PR may be but I will be happy to fill you in on that. One of the cool things about this race is that you have the option to get your race packet mailed to you- instead of rushing to get to the pick up location on a Friday night. This is awesome, especially when you are traveling from out of town, have to work on Friday and have 2 little kiddos that have lots of stuff to prep for multiple baby sitters for the weekend. Anyway— I tell you about the mail option because in the first few days of November I got my bib…. and the number on it read 666. I literally was shocked but tried not to let it bother me. I am not a superstitious person but I did go to Christian school and I know 666 is the mark of the beast. Well I again tried to ignore the fact that my bib number was 666 and go about my last few weeks of training for the race. Fast forward to the night before the race…. My sister and our husbands are doing our usual pre-race stuff like eating delicious food from the local places in Annapolis and maybe drinking our carbs instead of eating them but whatever–a carb is a carb right? So after dinner we hit up CVS for all our last minute necessities like ear plugs, sleep masks, water, granola bars, and anything else that we may have wanted/needed in that moment. As I went to the register to pay for my items the cashier says “well I guess that is your total”– me not paying any attention looked down at the total and guess what it was… 666!!!!! Trust me I was just as shocked and freaked out as you may be right now.
I kept the stupid receipt just because I knew no one would believe that not only was given a race bib with that beastly number–I also randomly got charged the same crazy number!!!! I was really trying to not let this odd occurrence bother me and thank goodness for my brother-in-law who said, “you are just a beast” and then it hit me– I am a beast and I will “beast” this race. I literally told myself that the entire time I was running and it worked!!!
So for this race I felt ready for all aspects except for what to wear, what to do what with my iPhone (music) and what kind of energy/nutrition should I use for the race! Clothing was easy– I just brought a TON of different options and hoped for the best. It was actually pretty chilly that morning, but NOTHING compared to how cold and windy it was the following day! Thank goodness we did not have to race that day- I might of just stayed in bed! Seriously! I ended up running to Dick’s at the last minute and buying a Nathan running belt, which was perfect for some cash, my phone, and of course some energy chews! I had only used them once before but they were perfect for a little “pick me up” around mile 7. I also proudly sported my new PINK shoe laces from Fit Approach (not laced in picture) and my Sweat Pink tank (layered under other clothes on race day–too cold for a tank) It was my first official event being a Sweat Pink Ambassador! I must say the pink show laces guaranteed to make you run faster really do work 🙂
The race was absolutely beautiful. Annapolis has such a quaint downtown area right on the water and you see all the boys dressed up that go the Naval Academy. It truly is a great place to go! This race is however VERY hilly. It is constantly up and down and there really is not any flat parts besides very brief moments in the first few miles of the race. I did not run any sort of gps or tracking system while racing, simply turned my music on and rolled with it, so I do not know exactly what my pace was from mile to mile. I took in all the beautiful scenery, literally thought about NOTHING besides how awesome my play list was and how beautiful everything around me was. The race featured a 1/2 and a 10k. I knew 5 other people running so I also spent a lot of time looking for them so I could possibly give a high 5 or a fist pump! I did end up seeing all my peeps throughout the race which is always fun AND I saw a guy that jump roped the entire race and someone who juggled 5 balls!! 5 BALLS!! The first 5 miles of the race were fairly easy. I did have a regular watch on so I was able to somewhat keep track of my pace. After the 10k and 1/2 split the race got VERY hard! Near that point we crossed over the Severn River bridge and it is not joke! I was proud of myself because I skipped the first few water stops and just kept trucking on. I actually did not stop to walk until I reached the water stop between miles 6-7. As I checked my watch a few times I noticed I was around a 10:00 minute mile which is really good for me. As the course got harder and even more hilly I knew I would slow down a bit but that was fine. As I was running I saw one sign that really stuck out to me…. it said “You are here, Enjoy the moment”- such a simple sign but I truly did just enjoy every step I was taking. I really didn’t care if it I set a PR I just was proud of myself for setting a goal and knowing I was going to finish it. I ended up finishing the race in 2:14! That was 20 minutes faster than when I ran the same race in 2011. As I turned the corner to sprint for the finish line I saw my fans cheering me on and I was so excited because I knew I would be finishing the race in under 2:20! I was so excited and to add to the excitement the announcer (who is the best announcer in the world– he does the Baltimore Running Festival and Marine Corp Marathon so you may have hard him before) says “And here comes Kristen Jones crossing the finish line” I felt like a super star- it was amazing! After the race we took some time and enjoyed the after party! Talk about an awesome after party! Great band, brews, raw oysters, grilled oysters! It was AMAZING! I think I would still be hanging out there if they would let me!
We all had a wonderful time as you can see from our pictures!!! We even went downtown later on and extend our fun at the taverns down by the water! All-in-all the race was success! I ran into the announcer later that afternoon and he left me with a few thoughts that I wanted to share with all of you– first he said: “Keep your feet on the ground, reach for the stars and go for the gold” (he was just so cute saying it!) and then he said “Thank you for making it to the starting line” and isn’t that what it is all about? Just getting to the starting line? Taking a leap of faith that you think you can do something (in this case run 13.1 miles) , dedicate a small portion of your life to it and then FINALLY get to the starting line and checking it off your list. It does not have to be a race starting line- it could be anything in life but just remember you cannot finish anything unless you START it! So with that in mind start thinking about the new year and what is next for you? Run farther? do more community service? maybe do a tri? Start a new family tradition? Try a new class at the gym? All you have to do is get to the starting line….