|Half Marathon State # 04
Half Marathon #07
This weekend, June 1-2, 2013, I traveled to Colonial Williamsburg, VA to run the Run for the Dream Half Marathon. This race was recommended by several of my fellow runners to complete another state toward my 50 By 50 Challenge. We arrived in Williamsburg around 11 AM on Saturday morning.
We booked to stay at the Williamsburg Woodland Resort, which is where the race expo was held (I will review the hotel and the restaurants we ate later this week). The race expo was small, but well organized. Since there wasn’t anything I was looking for at the expo, we just went in got my paperwork, bib, and race instructions, then headed out to do some sightseeing.
As a part of the race package I got a free ticket to tour Colonial Williamsburg, so that is what we decided to do. After we got settled in our room, we decided to get something to eat. We ate at a restaurant on property called Huzzahi. It was really good, and I will review it later this week. After lunch, we went to the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor’s Center to get my wife a ticket for the Colonial Williamsburg tour. Upon talking with the ticket person, we found out we could get her a free ticket, because we were staying on property. This was a great budget savings, as the tickets were around $40. Since this is a race recap, I will give a review of the tour in a separate post later this week. For dinner Saturday, we went with an old reliable, Cracker Barrel. I have done this the last few half marathons, so I wanted to keep with the tradition, since it has not bothered me in the past. After dinner, we rode around town to find the starting line and where we would park on Sunday morning.
On Sunday morning, I got up about 5 AM for a 7 AM race start time. I got ready for the race, and we were out the door by about 5:45 AM. The race had shuttles to carry you over to the start, but you were advised to get a wrist band to ride, which I did not do. Also, it was just for runners, so family and friends could not ride the shuttle. Because of this, we avoided the shuttle, and decided to drive. Several friends that had run this before recommended we park at a parking garage at Henry Road and Prince George Road. Boy was this some great advice, and a wise decision. The parking garage was about .7 miles from the start. What is even better, was that the shuttle dropped people off just around the corner from the parking garage, so they had to walk just as far as we did. This was great following the race, as we didn’t have to wait, ride the bus with other sweaty runners.
This was a well organized race. The start was on the campus of William & Mary, in front of the Phi Beta Kappa Hall. The race’s funds supported two great causes, The Achievable Dream Better School Program & Wounded Warriors Project. The pre-race had a good area to gather, with lots of porta-pottys, water, etc. They had tents for various needs, and had buses for check bags that could be picked up at the finish. At about 6:30 AM the Fife and Drums entertained us as we warmed up. They were really awesome.
At about 6:45 AM they asked us to get into the starting corral. It was one big corral, so you had to guess where to stage yourself. I found the 1:45 and 2:00 pace groups and got in the middle of them, and it worked out well. They had a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon, and we thanked all the wounded warriors in attendance, as well as all the service men and women in attendance. Finally, one of the kids from The Achievable Dream School Program sand our National Anthem. The race started about 7:05 AM. It was quite warm. The race started in the low 70s and probably about 80% humidity. They had many warnings over the weekend about hydration, and continued to recommend it at the start and during the race. It was a good thing, because it turned out to be a hot race. We hit the low 80s by the finish line.
The first few miles of the race were through Colonial WIlliamsburg that we toured on Saturday. It was very historic. There were people along this area that were dressed in colonial period dress, so it felt as though you were running back in time. In fact, there was even horse dung (yes, horse dung) in the streets to reflect that period of time. You had to watch your step for the land mines!
After leaving the colonial Williamsburg area, we ran through the other streets of Williamsburg. There were lots of hills. For my people in Charleston, imagine a race with 3-4 Arthur Ravenel Bridge slopes and that will give you a good picture of the hills. For those outside of Charleston, that is the only thing we have as a hill to compare to. In fact, we tell people that a street speed bump is considered hill training. Here is a picture of one of the hills.
Here is a picture of Patriot’s Hill (yes, it’s so brutal, it has a name), I borrowed from Running Halfway Around The World.
Here is what the mile markers looked like along the course.
The finish to the race was that we entered into William & Mary’s Zable Stadium where they play football and run track and field. We finished by running a complete lap around the track, and finishing in the center of the front stretch beside all the friends and family sitting in the bleachers to cheer us on.
The race support was great. On the course, we would have water stops about every 1.5 miles. Every other stop would have Gatorade. I did gels at miles 4, 8, & 11. This is my norm, and worked well for me again. After the race, before they even gave us our medal, they gave us a bottle of water because of the heat. This was a good welcomed approach which was much appreciated. After this, they had a finished shoot that took you out the stadium where you can meet your family. You can then walk to the post race party with your family, about a quarter mile away. They had 2 entrances, one for runners, and another for family and friends. This to was a great concept, as the runners entrance had more drinks and foods (bananas, apples, granola bars, chocolate milk). This helped so that you were not having non-runners to get your stuff and get into the post-race party. Once you had your stuff you could meet up with your family. The post race party was really good and well organized. They had the best barbeque sandwiches. It was really awesome. Also, our bibs had a barcode on it, that we could scan with a QR Reader from the iPhone to instantly get the results. No wait! We stuck around for about 15-20 minutes and then headed back to the resort.
I finished the race in 1:55:16 with an 8:48 pace. Here is the data from my Garmin watch, which contained a map of the course. I was satisfied with this result as it was hot and hilly. My goal for my 50 By 50 Challenge is to finish all the races within 2 hours, so this was accomplished. This was my 4th half marathon this year, and my 4th state completed in my 50 By 50 Challenge.
Here is a link to the medal on the Medal’s Page.
We went back to the resort, I got an ice bath and changed. We checked out about 11 AM, went to lunch at the Food for Thought restaurant (review coming later in the week) and then drove 6 hours back to Charleston, SC.