Harbor Lights Half Marathon Recap

harbor lights finisher

Harbor Lights!


The Harbor Lights Half Marathon was held in Norfolk, VA. With this race series was a 5k, Half Marathon, and Get Lit Challenge for those who want to run both!

I opted for the half-marathon only. My fantastic fiance was kind enough to drive me to the race, see me off at the start, and wait for me at the finish line.  I don’t know how I got so lucky.  The race started at 7:30am, so we got on the road at around 6am.  After staying warm in the car for awhile, Michael and I headed out to the start area.  I went to do gear check and they didn’t have a spot for my bib number…odd.  I had a minor freakout that I accidentally registered for the wrong race, but I didn’t.  Michael put my stuff in the car and waited out most of the race in starbucks 🙂  I even found Hollie there!

Hollie is a pro at taking pics!

Hollie is a pro at taking pics!

So cold!

So cold!


I'm not awake at this point...

I’m not awake at this point…

I had been obsessively checking the weather and while it was going to be in the 40s at the start, it was going to be in the 50s by the time I finished.  I opted for short capris and a shortsleeved t-shirt.  BAD CHOICE.

I found my friend Diane at the start with the 2:45 pace group.  This was her first half and we were gonna stick together the best we could.

Miles 1-2

I was able to stay with the 2:45 pace group.  They were a little fast at the start, but I wanted to stay with them. I was pretty cold at the start, it took me a little while to warm up.  I watched Diane pull ahead of the group a little and was excited for her.

Miles 3-4

Diane left me in the dust (which is totally a good thing). The 2:45 pace group started pulling away but were still in sight.  I struggled keeping up with them during all the millions of turns on the course.  I ate a few Gatorade chews.  I learned my lesson at Crawlin Crab, not getting enough fuel early on.

Miles 5-6

Had a few more chews.  Energy levels felt good and my mental attitude was good.  I tried as much as I could to smile at the spectators and thank the many police officers on the course.  I realized that even though I had worn my shirt before during a race, for some reason it started chafing my arms.  The ONE time I didn’t have glide with me.  I rolled up my sleeves in hopes that it would help with the chafing.

Miles 7-8

These were a little tougher mentally.  I took a few walk breaks and tried to just dig in and push through until the 10 mile mark.  More chews! I didn’t thank any police officers.  I was too focused.

Miles 9-10

My left quad/hip flexor started seizing up.  I tried to push through it but had to take a few walk breaks. I think I realized at this point how cold I really was.  The temperatures were not where they should be, and it was overcast, so no warmth from the sun. I was regretting not wearing my long sleeved shirt. And holy chafing.  I seriously contemplating ditching my shirt, but that wouldn’t help with the fact that I was cold. More chews!

This was also a time to thank all the police officers.  It was a good distraction from the pain train.  I got kind of emotional because a lot of them responded to my thank you with a “you are doing a great job, keep it up!”

Miles 11-13.1

I was ready to be done. I was trying to finish under 3 hours, but I couldn’t seem to get my legs to cooperate.  It was really hard seeing the finish line and all the runners that had already finished.  My feet hurt, my quad/hip flexor hurt and I just couldn’t seem to move as fast as my brain wanted me to! I saw my friend Catherine and stopped for a hug because I just couldn’t resist an extra little boost!  I hit the 13.1 mile mark at exactly 3 hours.  However, because of all the turns on the course, it was actually longer.  I hit the finish line at 13.24 miles and 3:01:51.

I gathered a few high fives from Diane and her family right before I crossed the finish line.

I found Michael at the finish line.  I got my medal, water, gatorade, pretzels and awesome space blanket thingie to keep me warm.  Did I mention I was cold? We found Diane and her family.  She ROCKED it! Finished in 2:44:xx! I’m so proud of her.  SO PROUD.

My AWESOME friend Diane who totally kicked butt!

My AWESOME friend Diane who totally kicked butt!


Michael and I stayed around for awhile and got a beer.  I was too cold to enjoy myself so we headed home for a day of relaxation and recovery!

I’m ok with my time.  It was about 5 minutes slower than my fastest (Shamrock) but about 13 minutes faster than my slowest (Crawlin Crab).  I’m pretty proud of myself for pushing through a lot of mental blocks.  I think this was absolutely my best race mentally.  Victory!

My overall thoughts:

1. Next time, wear the long sleeves.

2. My fueling was MUCH better.

3. Say thanks to more volunteers…they have a hard job.

4. Train better!

5. One word: GLIDE.

Did you race this weekend? Have you ever made poor wardrobe choices for a race?


9 thoughts on “Harbor Lights Half Marathon Recap

  1. Congratulations to you for getting out there and running, as I know you weren’t as motivated or as trained as you’d like to be but you still finished and ran the same distance that everyone else did! And hooray for Diane meeting her goal for her first half, too. I love that they have so many pace groups for this race because a lot of people asked me last year if Charleston had a 2:45.

    I have made stupid wardrobe choices for races before. I usually just race 5Ks, so whatever is wrong with the outfit isn’t an issue for long (haha). It sounds like you had a really fun time at the race and I think these are really well done races, I have only read good things about them here in the blogger world.

    For some reason I can never see pictures in your posts?

    • Thanks! I’m SUPER proud of Diane. I agree – its really nice to have a variety of pace groups. Everyone has different time goals, and no matter if you are fast or slow, sometimes you just need a pacer!

      Yeah – I guess wardrobe choices aren’t as bad if you are doing a 5k…but any longer than that and they are miserable! J&A Races are amazing!

      Hm…might be the way I am adding them to the post. I’ll make some edits and see if you can see them.

  2. Congrats on completing another half marathon! Good job on pushing through the mental blocks. As for wardrobe snafus, I was probably underdressed for Saturday’s 5K and overdressed for Sunday’s Half (I overheat quickly, I prob could have just worn shirt sleeves or a tank). Have a good Thanksgiving!

  3. Pingback: 2014 – First Half Marathon, Engagement and Life Lessons! | coolrunningsjourney

  4. Pingback: Race Recap: Harbor Lights 5k 2015 | coolrunningsjourney

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