Oh yes, with this picture of a bridge. A very long, very steep bridge that I ran over not once, but twice. But we'll get to that bridge in a bit.
Annapolis is one of my favorite cities. It's a really quaint place with cute stores and it's right on the water. I was so excited to race here and run through the gorgeous downtown.
It was hot when the race started and I didn't have my hat (FAIL!) so the sun was beating down on my face making it feel that much hotter. I struggled mentally with that in the beginning of the race.
The first three miles were through the downtown, but right after that, the race dumped us out on the bridge.
Going over this bridge the first time kind of did me in. I was so hot. I could feel myself overheating, I just wanted to be out of the sun. By the time I crossed the bridge and was running up a much steeper hill that followed, I had a meltdown.
My legs were tired. My head hurt from the sun and I wasn't even at the half way point yet. I pulled over to the side of the road and started walking. I took some deep breaths, downed a GU and some Gatorade and enjoyed the sprinkler a neighbor had set up.
There was some shade up ahead so I pulled it back together and told myself it was Game On.
I took it slow and steady and slowly, I started to feel better. Being out of the sun helped. The sprinklers the neighbors set up helped. The tons and tons of water stations helped. This race was so well organized with great support from fans.
Just a few miles later I was feeling awesome. I hit the out and back feeling good. I was looking for two of my friends who I knew were running the race. I found Ashleigh not too far from the turn around point and yelled some encouragement.
Feeling strong I plowed my way up the next hill and was rewarded with some kids spraying me down with a SuperSoaker. It totally rocked. Not long after that I hear someone scream my name and it was Olivia from the Blissful Runner. Seeing her really helped motivate me.
I pushed on through mile 8 and was approaching the bridge again. I was feeling much better this time and I charged up the hill. I took my time, made good progress and stopped once for a brief walk break because I didn't want my legs to burn out with only a little over a mile to go.
My legs were tired. They were sore and I wanted to be done, but I kept going.
Around 9.5 I caught up with Ashleigh and ran with her for a bit. She was doing well, but you could tell the heat and the hills were getting to us both. She told me she'd see me at the finish and I ran on.
I heard Garmin beep for the 10 miler marker well before I saw the finish line. Mentally I wanted to stop. Hellllo, Garmin told me I was done. But I kept pushing, hit another turn and an uphill before I finally saw the finish line. I picked it up as best I could and when I crossed the race director called my name.
Or well...he said Jessica Mil...blahblahIcan'tpronouncethis....ha, and that's why race director's never call my name when I cross the finish line.
I grabbed a cold towel and waited for Ashleigh. She finished a few minutes later. We were both glad to be done and went off to find her sister and get some water.
Me, Ashleigh, Jill, Brooke
My official time was 1:38:16. It certainly wasn't as fast as I was hoping, but given the heat and the hills, it's a time I'm happy with and very proud of.
Overall, this was such a fun race and the course was well organized. There was plenty of water and Gatorade. None of the stations ran out of cups. I loved it.
The jury is still out on whether I'd do this race again. August in Annapolis is brutal, weather-wise, but it's hard to pass up such an awesome event.