I left the Thursday before the race full of nerves and excitement. My friend made me this awesome shirt. How great is she?!?!
I had a lay over in Charlotte so I thought I should have frozen yogurt...to calm my nerves of course. Look what I found!
Since I left after work and I made a pit stop at Krogers from water and breakfast items I didn't get settled until 1:30am. I stayed at Ocean Creek Resort. I highly recommend it. Instead of hotel rooms they offer studio, 1 & 2 bedroom condos. The best part was that I didn't have to get in the car to go to the beach because it is a beachfront property.
That made for a late start on Friday so I decided to sleep as late as my body wanted, enjoyed a cup a joe and breakfast. Later in the day I headed to Wilmington, NC for coffee with a friend. She's a lawyer there. Her and her partner are brilliant (Hogan & Betts). Have you ever been to Wilmington? I love it there. Heck, I love North Carolina and would move there in a heart beat!
On my way back I picked up my race packet. I was disappointed with the expo. They had the same vendors in Long Island last year. I had hoped they would have had more vendors and more variety since they had several races after that.
Saturday I went out for breakfast before I hit the outlets. It was way too cold for the beach. You could tell Diva's were in town. All the athletics shops were packed. I did a quick once around, grabbed Ben & Jerry's and made a B-line for the exit. I ordered the traditional prerace pasta for dinner and called it a night.
They recommended that we arrive to the race early to be sure to find parking. I set the alarm for 5:15 and was at the Start Line by 6am. I had my photo taken there and then hit the porta potties.
I ran the first couple of miles alone. Every once in a while I would run along side a group of women to see if I liked their pace. Finally at mile 3 I found a mom/daughter duo and stuck with them. Having people to talk to really made the time go by quickly and helped to move me along. Around mile 5 we passed what would be the finish line. The crowd was awesome. They were cheering and holding signs. What a great boost! At mile 8 I stopped for a potty break so I lost my running buddies. :( I wasn't sure if I had to go or if it was my water/fuel belt pressing on my gut so I went anyway. (I know, TMI). Everything was great until mile 11 when fatigue hit. I keep repeating, "Just keep running, just keep running!". Before I knew it I could see mile marker 12 and that's when I said, "Oh h*ll, I got this!" Not only did I know that I only had 1.1 miles to go but I would soon be getting a boa and tiara to bring me across the finish line. After I got "divalicious" I could hear the roar of the crowd so I knew the finish line was close. When I turned the corner, saw the crowd and finish line I had to fight back the tears. Tears of joy. Tears of "thank goodness it's over. Know I can go eat pancakes!". Tears of I am so proud of myself and the hard work I put into getting me to this point. Besides raising an amazing Son, this has to be my greatest accomplishment.
A year ago I was 55lbs heavier and was miserable in my personal life. I had a poor self image and was just going through the motions of life. Today, I am happy and my life means something. I am finally looking forward to what tomorrow might bring. I attribute all of this to running. My life is still the same in every other aspect but the changes that running has made to me has altered the way I look at everything.
As I crossed the finish line I had an effortless smile spread across my face. It probably was the fact that a shirtless man was waiting to give me my bling. I didn't keep him waiting!
Overall it was an amazing experience. I am so glad that I chose this race series to run my first Half. I am a firm believer that you should sign up for a flat, fun race the first time at a new distance. This one had both. With an added bonus of great organization, awesome crowds, cool bling, and most important, amazing runners. Everyone was so happy and supportive of each other. If someone was starting to fall behind the runners passing would yell out support.
If you have been thinking about running your first Half or your 101st, put Run like a Diva on you race calendar.