It was another day… another city… another race…
Margaret (my wife) and I woke early Sunday morning – before 5:00 a.m. in order to get ready and make the drive into downtown Raleigh. We were headed for Cameron Village and the start of the RunRaleigh half marathon. I’ve run several half marathons, but this one was a little special.
What made this one special? Well, I ran a marathon for the first time about a month ago. I registered for this race for several reasons but mainly because I wanted to have motivation to keep running after that marathon.
It was still dark when we found a parking place very near the start/finish line and made our way to another line: the line for the porta-potties. It’s always fun to maneuver in a porta-potty in the dark. Then we got together with some friends who were running the same race, snapped a few pics, and watched the sun and excitement rise.
Eventually, it was time for the race to start. I made my way to the starting line while Margaret found a place just down the road to watch the start… and to cheer for me as I ran by.
The race itself was (believe it or not) a very relaxing event for me. Like I said, I primarily registered for this race as a motivation to keep running after the marathon last month. I ran slower than usual and just enjoyed the sites, sounds, and conversations.
Conversations? Yep. I ran with a pace group, and enjoyed talking to several other racers on the 13.1 mile course. It turns out that the pace leader is the race director for another half marathon that I’m running next month. He runs ultras (greater than marathon distance – that is, > 26.2 miles), so he offered alot of advice and encouragement. And, there were two ladies who were running a half marathon for the first time. So, I was also able to add a little advice and encouragement.
During the race, we watched the sun rise higher in the sky and passed several local landmarks and streets. We passed many cheering spectators, and I saw a part of Raleigh that I usually don’t get to see.
Well, I said the race was relaxing… it was, except for that last hill. That was tough… brutal even. But, I made it! It was so exciting to top that hill and see a long downhill to the finish line.
As I approached the finish, a friend yelled my name. I’ve run trail with him before. He was standing about a block from the finish with his two boys cheering for his wife who was also running.
Then, just past him, I saw Margaret. She was smiling and waving and snapping pics! Ok… so I picked up my pace a little at that point.
Across the road from Margaret was a group of running friends who had finished the race before me or who did not run but had come just to cheer on other runners. They were also yelling my name and cheering me on to the finish.
With all of that encouragement, I’m not sure my feet touched the ground those last few yards.
When I crossed the finish line, they placed a finisher’s medal around my neck and gave me a bottle of water. I found Margaret in the crowd and she gave me a huge hug and told me how proud she was. We walked over to my friends, and we all congratulated each other and cheered on other runners as they approached the finish line.
I was tired, sore, and happy. It was such a fun, exciting, exhilarating, thrilling morning… It was a celebration with other runners, family, and friends.
I just thought you might want to know what the people (racers and spectators) were experiencing when the bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday.