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Goal time: 1:50-1:52:30 (marathon pace run)<br>
Finish time: 1:51:24, 8/196 AG<br><br>
Saturday I drove the hour from my house to the expo in Kill Devil Hills NC. After getting my bib and chip I discovered the line for packets and shirts was the entire length of the expo, so I took the opportunity to attend three clinics. My favorite session was presented by a Raleigh NC based endurance sports coach about mental preparation. Barely anyone was there, so it was a good chance to ask questions and talk back and forth with others. I like to wear a Fargo Marathon shirt to expos, because it's a good ice-breaker. I ended up talking to several curious runners about the race.<br><br>
The packet line was now non-existent so I grabbed my stuff and checked in to the inn where my friend and I would stay. I relaxed for a couple hours, got all my race stuff ready, and met our other friend and her family at the beach house where they were staying for a pre-race dinner. It was so fun to have it in a home rather than in a restaurant. My friend/ "roommie" showed up with little "good luck" gifts for both of us which was very thoughtful. She and I left soon after, talked for a while in the room, then crashed as we were getting up by 4:30 a.m. for the 7 a.m. start. We slept well and woke up with plenty of time for breakfast, dressing, and driving to the shuttle location. Everything went smoothly there and we got to the Start area by 6:20.<br><br>
It was FREEZING! From June through October I had complained incessantly about heat and humidity, and now with temperatures in the 40s that I wasn't yet acclimated to and 20 mph winds out of the north, I almost missed the mugginess. Oh, the irony. I skipped the warm-up I was supposed to do in favor of waiting inside an open church until it was time to line up.<br><br>
I knew the gusts would turn to a friendly tailwind as soon as the gun went off, and indeed about half a mile into the point-to-point, mostly South-headed course I was shedding gloves and earband. The sun was up, we were passing the largest sand dune on the East Coast, and it was simply a gorgeous morning to be out running, breathing, living.<br><br><img alt="" src="http://www.obxmarathon.org/images/obgchangglidinghp.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
My friend and I stayed together the first 9 miles and really kept each other going talking, joking with others, even singing. The course alternates through neighborhoods with water views and along a highway, then heads west over a 3 mile causeway complete with a sudden steep bridge. To us flat-landers, "The Bridge" is a key challenge in the race, and my friend and I amused ourselves planning our signature ascents. She was going to do the "Phoebe" run, and I was going to belt out tunes from "The Sound of Music."<br><br>
Here is the second half of "The Bridge." If you live anywhere with hills, this is your cue to laugh:<br><br><img alt="" src="http://www.obxmarathon.org/images/courseinfo4.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
At The Bridge, my friend and I parted until the end. She spent a little more time at a water stop and the ascent made it hard for her to catch back up. I had my slowest mile of the race up and fastest mile down. From there it was a challenging more than a mile into a headwind, a final turn, and the Finish. I had an 8:30 overall pace by my watch and felt good and strong throughout. It wasn't <i>easy</i>, but it was, if that makes sense. The race had gone by so quickly, mostly because of having company for most of the journey.<br><br>
Splits for those into that kind of thing:<br>
1 8:39<br>
2 8:24<br>
3 8:22<br>
4 8:45 (water stop)<br>
5 8:18<br>
6 8:35<br>
7 8:40 (water stop)<br>
8 & 9 17:00 (forgot to do split)<br>
10 8:47 (up Bridge)<br>
11 8:04 (down Bridge)<br>
12 8:37 (strong headwind, argh)<br>
13 8:27<br>
0.1 :42<br><br>
I loved the whole experience of this race and weekend, and would definitely do it again. The course is lovely and the volunteers and crowd support (although scant) very friendly and encouraging.<br><br>
The best part was training with two buddies who became friends, and sharing the experience and fun of race day together. We are already plotting our next joint adventures.
 

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Sounds like a great experience! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> AND meeting your time goal, how wonderful for you.<br><br>
We usually vacation in that area in the summer, it would be lovely to run a race down there this time of year.<br><br>
I'm very happy for you. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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Hey SGH <b>-</b> come out to the West Coast; we've got plenty of bridges out here <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
Seriously, congratulations on a fine race, and it sounds like the experience was a lot more fruitful than meeting your time goal on a gorgeous morning (gaining new friends is always a good thing)
 

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Great job SGH!! I'm with you on the bridges ...pfffft. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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Congrats on the well-executed MP training run -- not a simple task to stay at MP when factoring the excitement of a big race.<br><br>
Considering the lack of a taper going into this race, you are likely more fit than you think.<br><br>
The OBX sounds like a scenic, if not breezy locale for a race. Your photo brought back memories - long ago, a college bud and I took a hang-gliding flight right there in Kitty Hawk. What is it about sharing good times at the ocean with friends?<br><br>
Recover well, and best wishes to you as you head into the final weeks of your preparations.
 

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Great RR..I vacation in ocracoke every summer..would love to do this race one day.<br><br>
WTG on reaching your goal You rock SGH!!!
 

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Great job on the half, SGH. I'm glad to hear the weather was better than last year. The first half of the marathon is even lovelier than the second half, in my opinion, so maybe you should do the full next time.<br><br>
Congratulations!
 

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Great race, SGH!<br><br>
From the picture the bridge looks like a nice challenge, so now I wonder how it compares to the hills I run sometimes...<br><br>
You did a wonderful job with the race and your pace, speedy woman!
 
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