In every race, there is always a front, middle, and back of the pack. At last year’s Haunted Half Marathon, I claimed the honor of being dead last. No joke. I finished last place. But guess what? I finished. This year, I had a bone to pick with this race.
twisted her arm talked my friend Kim into running this race and her husband jumped on board too! Since it was an afternoon race, we drove down the morning of. The race was super well organized and very put together. After picking up our packets and shirts, we walked around for a bit to take pictures and check things out. Kim didn’t pack a lunch, so we headed to Target for some peanut butter and bread. Best pre-race food ever.
It being a Halloween themed race, there were cute costumes everywhere! My personal favorites were the runaway brides and Forrest “Fitness” Gump. Forrest had the whole look down pat and even spoke the part. I told him my name was Jenny and then he spoke in character the whole time! He actually ended up winning the costume contest!
With about 20 minutes until the gun went off, we put on our best costume attire and headed to the start. A local dance troupe performed a dance to Thriller right in the starting chute. It was so festive and a great way to kick off 13.1 miles. I still hadn’t “warmed up” a.k.a walked for about half a mile so I parted ways with Kim and Justin and tried to get in some walking really fast.
I tried to find a place near the back so that I wouldn’t slow anybody down and got the chance to talk to a few nice ladies before the gun went off. I’m really bad at actually remembering the finer details of races, so I’ll attempt to turn my swag on and make it seem interesting. Keep in mind that I didn’t actually train for this race. I maybe ran 4 times in October and had very bad eating choices. The fact that I finished is a miracle in itself, let alone the time I finished in.
Miles 1-4 flew by. My Garmin would never load the satellites, and I made the decision to “run naked”. After all, this was supposed to be fun. At the three mile mark, I was going really fast (for me) and kind of worried myself that I wouldn’t be able to do it the whole way. People on the streets were yelling “Go Snow White” and one man told me I looked hot! Thanks, I like to sweat. The most precious little girl took a photo with me and called me Cinderella. Close, but no cigar. Loved this portion of it!
Miles 5-7 were pure torture. I began to regret eating Gu Chomps before the race and my stomach was a complete mess. The course was a double loop, so I prayed really hard to make it to mile 7 because you cross right by the finishing chute, which means bathrooms! I’ve never stopped to use the bathroom during a race before, so this was a new (and horrible) experience. After doing my business, I began to feel claustrophobic in my costume. Since it was a borrowed costume, I couldn’t just leave it on the street so I took it off and stuffed it in my sports bra. My head was also starting to hurt from my bun, so I took it down and let my wild mane of a ponytail run free.
Miles 8-11 were better than the previous three, but my stomach was still not happy. The crowd of runners had thinned out, so I had to find someone to keep up with if I was ever going to finish in a respectable time. Still running without my Garmin, I was just guessing at my pace time, hoping to be able to finish in under three hours. I struggled emotionally through these miles because back in April I was a beast to be reckoned with after a vigorous 4 month training program. I felt a little defeated and was disappointed in not training and not pushing myself to be what I should be.
Miles 12-13.1 were the best ones! I had asked a fellow runner about our time, and I was WAY ahead of pace. After some quick math in my head, I determined that if I pushed hard enough, I might be able to beat my Covenant half marathon time. I pushed and pushed and pushed and gave it all I had. My legs were numb, my lungs on fire, and my stomach doing some unnatural things. But as I came into the finishing chute I realized I had missed a PR by less than one minute.
Missing a PR should be a disappointing thing. But last spring, I had trained for 4 tough months and lost 37 pounds. I spent almost every single day in the gym or on the bike trail running. When I ran my half marathon last spring, I was in the best shape of my life. Then, I come to Kingsport and run it 13 seconds slower with no training and no good diet plan. That is motivating. I think the atmosphere and the no Garmin really helped, but above all, I became confident as a runner. I’m in somewhat of good shape and my body can push itself. 13 seconds.
Finishing about 30 minutes faster than I had planned to was a big shock, but an even bigger shock is comparing last year’s results. Last year, I finished in 3:23:53, and this year 2:31:30. Almost a whole hour off last year’s time, and I wasn’t last place! Wahoo!
Post race was a big BBQ dinner. Even though my stomach was screaming curse words at me, I had to refuel. So delicious and so hard on the stomach.
The ride home was filled with lots of soreness, lots of complaining, lots of cupcakes, and one stop at the most country gas station of all times. Proof of purchase was required to use the bathroom, and I’m about 98 percent sure that the cashier was going to grab his coon dog and sawed off shotgun if we didn’t buy something. Haters going to hate.
Have you ever done a Halloween themed race? Want to try one? I wish I could wear a costume to every race!