This weekend took me and a few others back to St. Michaels for my third running of the St. Michaels Running Festival Half Marathon. Looking into the forecast for the weekend we knew it would be a wet one- we just did not know exactly how wet. We all tried our best to stay positive but knowing we had a 100% chance of rain the entire time we would be running literally left a grey cloud over our heads. Regardless of the forecast we did what we do best- made the best of our girls weekend getaway!
Friday afternoon took us to downtown St. Michaels were we first hit up the packet pickup. This year it was as the school which was a nice change! We were able to quickly get our bibs and shirts and browse some of the vendors that were set up. We also saw two other runners from our Delmarva Moms Run This Town Group: Kelly Z and Faith! We decided to snap our traditional start line picture during packet pickup since we knew it would be raining as we started on Saturday.
Next was the annual tradition of stopping into the Eastern Shore Brewing Tasting Room! We grabbed a quick drink, sat outside and enjoyed the quaintness of St. Michaels. We finished up and headed down to Theo’s for our dinner reservations.
Dinner was really delicious! I would definitely recommend checking this place out to anyone visiting in St. Michaels. We all ordered different items and all were very happy with our selections. The waiter was very helpful as all four of us girls were very indecisive. I went with the Jam Burger- yea it was amazing. It has bacon jam, onion jam, arugula, and basil aioli. Oh my it was good and big! I could only eat half and was so sad that I could not eat more because it was GOOD!
Our last stop in St. Michaels Friday night was Baby Cakes Ice cream and Funnel Cakes! We just could not resist a little post dinner dessert!
We then headed back to our hotel. Each year we have stayed in Easton which is just about 15 minutes outside of St. Michaels. This has always worked out well and is affordable. We set our alarms, debated about what to wear and quickly all fell asleep. What seemed like a short time later (5:00 am) our alarms went off and we were up and still debated about what to wear. This would be my second half that I would run in the rain. The first was the Rock n’ Roll Providence Half back in 2011.
We all decided upon capris, a long sleeve, hat and some sort of cover. I had packed a light rain jacket that I wore and the other girls had ponchos. We all agreed they did not keep us very dry, but did help.
As we headed back to St. Michaels on Saturday morning the light rain started. We were able to park right at the school, where the race starts and even found a single porta potty near by with no line and toilet paper! Double Score! We waited under the main tent while lots of others either joined us there or under other overhangs from the school.
Shortly before the start of the race at 7:15 we went over to the starting arch and jumped into the first wave of runners. The starting horn went right off at 7:15 and we were off and running! The first half of the race was my favorite. We ran through beautiful, small town St. Michaels and then head out towards the Harbortowne neighborhood which has amazingly beautiful houses with a nice water view. Since there was multiple turn-arounds it gave lots of opportunity to see other runners! I was all smiles as I saw two students I teacher running their first half marathon with their mom and a fellow teacher!
Amy was pacing the 2:45 group, Kelly was trying to beat her past half marathon time and Laura and I just wanted to finish- preferably before the 2:15 pace group. Laura and I shortly decided after we started that we should try and hit each water stop to not only hydrate but give ourselves a short walk break. This ended up being great for us and we were able to keep things pretty consistent this way. Laura is 25 weeks pregnant so she was a trooper and did awesome. She kept me moving and motivated which was key this year! We both figured if we did not have each other it would not be nearly as fun.
After we ran through harbourtowne, which surprisingly had a few spectators cheering us on- even in the pouring rain, we turned to head back into St. Michaels and to the next residential area. As you can see from the map the race was broken into two “neighborhood” sections. The first half was Harbortowne and the second was another back road, residential area again with beautiful houses and water views.
The second half of the race the rain really started to pick up even more. It was pouring and even the sections lined with trees did not provide any coverage from the rain. Despite the conditions all the runners looked great and everyone was doing their best to get across that finish line. Mile 9 things got interesting for Laura and myself. Shortly after passing the mile 9 mile marker we heard a few runners yell and there we saw one deer dart out across the runners path, right after another one jumped out across the road and then a third, this time right in front of us! Once we reached mile 11 I hit my mental wall. I feel like I always fall apart at mile 11- so close to being done but knowing I still have 2 miles left just gets me every time. We took our last water stop at the mile 12 water stop and we headed into the finishing area. There was lots of spectators and people cheering which helped a lot! We ended up crossing the finish line at 2:09:14 but shortly after we received our official time of 2:08:35!
We were happy to be done with the race and Laura and I were very thankful for each other. We both laughed at the fact that we were trying to dodge puddles even though we were all completely soaked to the sole! We hung around the finishing area for a few minutes and then decided to walk back to our car to get out of the wet clothes! Kelly was already there and changed. She ended up kicking butt and finishing around 1:53, just seconds shy of her past half time. We drove closer to the finish line to be able to pick up Amy once she was done her pacing duties- more to come on all this pacing! Amy will be giving us her full pacing recap soon!
Once we all were changed we started our journey back home. Of course we had a few important stops to make on the way: Rise Up Coffee and the Bay Country Bakery. A race is not complete with some delicious treats!
On the way home we laughed, recapped and agreed while the race itself was fun (even with the rain) the best part is always just going away for a night with friends. St. Michaels has turned into a fun little tradition that I look forward to each year. You can read about 2015 and 2014 here. Registration is already open for the 2017 race!
Do you have a yearly tradition race that you look forward each year? Have you ever run a race in the pouring rain?