Race review: 2014 Richmond Half Marathon

It was freezing, but fast. Hello, new PR.

When: Nov. 15, 2015
Where: Richmond, Va.
Weather: 28 degrees (windchill 20.3 degrees, humidity 54%, wind gusts up to 15 mph during the race
Cost: $85 when I registered.
Distance: Half marathon (13.1 miles)

But seriously, it was so freezing.

When husband and I left the hotel, he had to scrape the windshield, which added time getting to the starting line. We still left in what we thought was a reasonable amount of time to get downtown, find parking and get to my corral.

But then, we realized that parking was a bigger nightmare than what we were planning.

Our logic was to park closer to the finish, rather than the start, because who knows how I’d be feeling after the race and if we needed to leave super quickly, we could get going. Apparently, everyone had the same idea.

By the time we parked, and started making our way toward the start line, I saw the porta Johns and said, well, I should do that. So in the line we waited, getting more cold. They REALLY could have had more of those at the start line, by the way. Standing there freezing wasn’t the best thing to do before running, but hey, better to do it then rather than during the race, right? Besides, I was layered upon layered with thrift store throwaways, so I was good.

Husband on the other hand… sigh, what a champ.

Anyway, I was supposed to start in corral F, but by the time I got to the start line and shed the throwaway sweatpants, I got started like 20 minutes after I was scheduled to start, which means I was in Walkerville.

Determined not to let this stress me out, I channeled that energy down to my feet and took off. Because I was in a slower corral, I was passing people left and right, which helped boost my confidence a little. Then, I just kept going as fast as my legs would carry me.

There were a couple of hills to contend with – one early – but overall, the course is really pretty and a nice change of scenery. The leaves were gorgeous in the neighborhoods we ran through, and there was about a 5K distance we spent in Joseph Bryan Park, which was also nice.

One area that I wish was a little better was the race entertainment/cheer stations. I know I am super spoiled with the races in VB where there is live music throughout the course and folks who come out just to cheer for you. I also know that it had to be bitterly freezing if all you were doing was standing on the side of the road with a cowbell and a poster yelling at people. Also, to the frat guys who decided that building a bonfire in your front yard right off the race course was a good idea: It wasn’t. It might have kept you slightly warm, but smelling and breathing in whatever it was that you all decided to burn that morning was a terrible call. Ugh.

The absolute worst part about the course, though, is the crazy downhill run to the finish line. You would think that it literally being “all downhill from here” is a good thing, but the grade is super sharp, and once you start running, you really can’t slow down. I was terrified I was going to fall flat on my face or slip on ice (though I didn’t see any, if there were ice, I would find it and slip on it).

The finish line and post-race accommodations at Brown’s Island were pretty sweet though. Tons of pizza, beer and warm she crab soup. Finishers also got a hat and a warm fleece blanket in addition to the medal. We took shelter on the back side of a food truck to keep the wind off of us and get some sun because once I stopped running, I immediately remembered how cold it was.

Overall, I had an amazing time. It was my birthday weekend, so the race was really just one of the really fun highlights. I finished with a new half marathon personal record (2:09:30), and feel like I could have even done better. Along the way, I took 2 waters and a Powerade and threw back an Accel Gel and 2nd Surge I brought with me. That seemed to be enough to get me through and then some.

Next half marathon: the Shamrock Half in Virginia Beach -March 2015!


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