My friend Jessica came with me on this trip, so we decided to make a weekend of it. Dinner out on Friday evening plus a trip to the mall, race Saturday morning, thai food and sushi for lunch, dinner and drinks out Saturday night (thank you Uber!), checked a hike off my bucket list on Sunday, and had lunch on the way home.
We arrived in Roanoke around 5 on Friday, went straight to Fleet Feet to get our race bibs, and then checked into the motel. This is about the 5th time I've stayed at the Ramada Roanoke. I like it because it is within walking distance of my races. It's not the nicest place I've ever stayed, but it's usually good enough. This time our non-smoking room smelled like a combination of cigarettes and sweaty feet. Mostly sweaty feet. Like, men's locker room sweaty feet. I think I'll be staying at a friend's house in Roanoke from now on.
We planned to hit the breakfast buffet at the Ramada on Saturday morning before the race, but when we got there they didn't have ANY fresh fruit, and most of what they had was donuts (gross). So...my breakfast was the hunk of banana bread I had brought, and a Kind bar. Not a whole lot of fuel, but I had only brought 2 Kind bars, and I gave the second one to Jessica for her breakfast. I was a bit worried about the lack of a proper breakfast before a half marathon, but I figured it was as good a time as any to find out what I could do without proper fuel. I had also decided that I didn't feel like making my usual post-race protein drink for this trip...so I was also risking a huge crash after the race. Hooray for experimentation!
I ran a mile warm-up, stood around for another 15 or so minutes, and finally the race started. I didn't want to start right on the line, but it appeared that no one else wanted to either, so I finally stepped up along with a handful of guys. I tried not to start out too fast, but even with a pace that felt like a jog, I was in the top ten. And no other females were near me. I did my best to keep a relaxed-feeling pace as long as possible, and felt pretty good for the first 2 or 3 miles, before the awful flatness of the course started wearing me out. Whenever even the tiniest hill came along, I used it to re-energize myself and get ahead a bit. But the longer flat stretches really wore me out. Clearly I need to start making myself run flats more often...ugh.
Since the course was an out & back, I was able to see where the 2nd and 3rd place runners were. I was pretty sure that the 2nd place female would only catch me if I fell too far off my pace + she had a really strong kick. I used my inhaler sometime in the 8th mile, because I was starting to struggle on the breathing and really didn't want to let it get to a point where the oxygen debt started hurting my legs. I started trying to pick up the pace a bit during the last 5k. It ended up being spurts of speed followed by backing off when I felt I couldn't maintain the speed. I did try harder in the last mile, and finished really strong. Finish time was 1:33:33, and according to my watch the course was over 13.2, which gave me a 7:05 pace. Was hoping to get under 7:00, but I'm happy with having a strong race & finish, and no injuries.
I downed 2 bottles of water after the race. I knew I needed some salt as well, but the food options weren't great. I had a granola bar, and then had to cave in and have a piece of pizza (along with a 3rd bottle of water) because it was the only salty food they were offering, and sitting around for over an hour waiting for awards was too long for me to go without replenishing some salt.
Tiny little hills...better than no hills!
Finisher medal, first place medal, cash prize!
Finishing with a smile...because I saw Jessica across the line taking photos with her phone!
The weekend in food :
We got a fried calamari appetizer and over half of them were whole calamari.
Dinner : I loved the mix/match option. I got to have lobster ravioli, prosciutto wrapped pork, zucchini and a salad for a really reasonable price. Much more reasonably priced than just getting the lobster ravioli, which I really wanted because...lobster!
I was all delicious, but the pork tasted like it was cooked in a salt bath. Majorly dehydrating.
Post-race lunch. Pad thai!
Saturday evening appetizer : fried oysters
Saturday dinner : Maple Burger.
It had yummy stuff like bacon and apples on it.
Second Saturday dinner...because we shared the oysters and the burger and then I was still hungry
So I got chicken tenders and fries.
Sunday breakfast : iced coffee and a chocolate croissant.
Sunday lunch : Bison BBQ, fries, and cole slaw.