Race Recap: Wilmington Historic Half Marathon 2018

race recap wilmington historic half

This race is exactly why I’m tired of writing about running. It was yet another terrible race on top of the zillions of terrible races I’ve had over the past few years, with each one actually getting inexplicably worse than the last. And I’m so tired of talking about it (and people are probably tired of reading it). It’s not inspiring, it’s not informative, it’s just frustrating. And I’m sure it sounds excuse-riddled, but I assure you, it’s not. It’s really, truly been this hard for me.

For this race in particular, I thought based on my training runs, my worst-cased scenario would have been 1:59, and I’d easily have a sub-2 hour half in the bag. It’s not like I run my training runs hard and stop and walk during them. I run easy, I stop at a few stoplights if I have to, but otherwise keep moving.

But nope. Not even close. I came in with a personal worst time (not including pacing) at 2:14:38. That’s even worse than when I ran a half marathon while pregnant and worse than my first half marathon. Sigh.

I have no real explanation why it was that bad.

A few thoughts…

It was way hillier than I thought it was going to be, with constant hills from miles 1 through 8. We’d finish one hill and immediately start the next one. That was exhausting. The weather was also less than ideal with 100% humidity and in the 60s with a 68 dew point. All bad things, really, but I didn’t think those things were bad enough to result in such a poor race. I must have walked at least a quarter of it, maybe more with a few 12 minute miles in the back half of the race.

One of the bridges (the third one) in the race

One of the bridges (the third one) in the race

Those hills definitely beat me up (thanks, flat Lowcountry running) and they felt way harder than hills used to when I ran them regularly. But wow. Just awful. And I’m so sore today, which according to my coach, means those hills really did affect me even more than the humidity. It’s extremely rare I get sore from running (even when I’ve PR’d), so this is new and different.

And I did end up with chills and a migraine afterward, and I had had a migraine on Thursday, too. So I could have been in both the post- and pre-migraine phases as the same time. Who knows really.

I know I wasn’t super trained, but good grief, I’ve run before undertrained (including a marathon). This was just ridiculous.

The good news: while I could feel the hills kicking my butt, I didn’t have that inexplicable weak feeling I had the last time I ran a half marathon when I was anemic (Kiawah in 2016) . I also didn’t have an asthma attack, in spite of the humidity, like I did in 2015 at Skidaway.

So anyway, small favors, but an overall awful race. Again. ‘Nuff said.

The start line (and Bart Yasso in the top left in the grey shirt and black shorts)

The start line (and Bart Yasso in the top left in the grey shirt and black shorts)

But the race experience itself was great! Coastal Race Productions definitely puts on good races, and I continue to be a fan. The expo was organized and Bart Yasso was there, helping direct foot traffic and to give a talk. He also started the race and handed out medals at the finish, which was pretty cool.

We stayed at the Embassy Suites, which was walking distance to the starting line (literally, right outside the hotel). Thank goodness for that because my only complaint about this race is that there weren’t near enough porta potties for everyone. The lines were atrocious, and I think some people actually started late because of it.

I love Wilmington, NC as a city and the race course was really pretty and scenic (and festive since it’s the holidays). I’ve wanted to visit Wilmington for a while now, so it was nice to get to do that. I’ll post a picture recap of that soon.

The view from the bridge in the picture above

The view from the bridge in the picture above

The course started right in the marina and after running downtown for a few miles, runners were off to run three bridges in a row (yikes). But the views of the Wilmington skyline and waterfront were spectacular.

After that the course headed into a park for several miles before coming back out and making its way to the RiverWalk along the river for the last few miles. At least those last two miles were flat!

As much as I wanted to quit this race (in mile 3, mile 5, and mile 8), I didn’t. And the main reason for that was because my 4-year-old was at the finish line waiting for me and I didn’t want him to see me quit. I wanted him to see me finish even though the odds were against me and I was fighting what seemed like a futile fight for each step. I can do hard things, even if I have to crawl and slog to do them.

So my first race back after a few years wasn’t anything like I thought it would be. But it’s over and I’m not looking back. Closing the door on this one because I’ve got some work to do. Marathon training starts next week for the Wrightsville Beach Marathon in March.

Race info

Race: Wilmington Historic Half Marathon
Date: December 2, 2018
Location: Wilmington, NC
Medals: Yep (there's also a 5K option with medals as well)
Course: Road, hilly
Weather: 60s, 100% humidity, 68 dew point, cloudy
Performace (1/worst to 5/best):1
Health: 2 migraines in a 4 day period