I participated in the Richmond half marathon for the first time in 2015. A few days after finishing the race, I signed up for the 2016 race primarily because I was pretty much hooked on this race due to the finisher swag they give out. They offered a sweet race registration price of $60. The same registration deal is currently active right now for the 2017 race. I’ll save you some time and tell you that I will be signing up before the deal ends on the 17th.
My mom has drunk the Kool-Aid along with the rest of us. She was signed up for the race as well. She flew up to Raleigh on Thursday. We drove up to Richmond on Friday. We headed straight to the race expo after making a pit stop at Cracker Barrel.
My partner in crime AKA my trainer AKA tall drink whose government name is Gregory Clanton was already at the expo waiting on us. We met up with him at the expo. We made the rounds after picking up our shirt and bib.
While perusing the various vendors at the expo, we run into the Click It Hot booth. I see the same guy that I have run into at the last 3 races. He recognizes me. He tells mom and tall drink about their products. I am already a fan as I bought the handheld pads about 2 weeks at the Wicked expo. He persuades my mom in buying the large pad. I mention how I left mine in the fridge at home. He gives me one for free and my mom one as well. Thank you very kindly. Just in case you are interested, here is their website http://clickithotamerica.com/. I highly recommend them.
After we finish up at the expo, we go check into the hotel, hit the pasta buffet at the hotel. That buffet was on point. Pasta, salad, and dessert. Shout out to Crowne Plaza for providing all the hotel guests doing the race with a bag of free goodies including banana, bottle of water and granola bar. Breakfast is served and we didn’t have to make a grocery store run.
Saturday morning shows up in like 5 minutes. Mom and I head out and make the 5-block trek to the start line which really feels so much longer. It’s a cold 35 degrees outside. I’m cold natured so I have lost count on how many layers I have on. I’m that one person who does not throw away her layers. My clothes cost $$ and they going back home with me. We head to corral K which is at the back of the bus literally. The wind is blowing which is making it feel so much colder. We notice folks are huddled in the archway of buildings to block the wind, very smart. I meet a fellow BGR lady who is doing the race as well. This is her 1st half marathon. I remember what that is like. She asks me what my game plan is, in other words, am I doing intervals? If so what are they. Probably for the last few years I don’t have a race game plan, I just show up and put 1 foot in front of the other and do my best to not be carried out on a stretcher. A few of my TIFL sisters are doing the race as well. They find me and mom in the corral. Shout out to the TRI tribe who was at Richmond, Monica Oliver, Ebony Haywood, Cynthia Gary and Kathy Beasley.
Ebony tells me “Jo is that tall drink from the blog?” I tell her yeah and have you seen him. She tells me he was waiting on some corner. I later tell tall drink that he’s blog famous 🙂
Race starts at 7:30am. We line up in the corral and move towards the start line as the corrals are released out onto the course. Our corral crosses the start line about 12 minutes after the start. I start the Garmin and off we go. The race goes down Broad street in downtown Richmond. Mom, myself and tall drink are walking together. Mom decides to pick up her pace and moves further ahead of us. I tend to get into a weird zone during a race. I’m not real talkative. I’m really inside my head contemplating why I even sign up for this torture. It’s an internal debate that happens during every race. Tall drink keeps checking on me which is a good thing. You never know if my body has decided to tap out. We pass mile 2 and there is a water stop and bathroom. Potty pit stop, yes please!! Pit stop is complete, we keep going. We come up on the turn. The cops are there directing folks. Marathon goes left. Half marathon goes right. I knew where we were going. I told tall drink missing your turn and being on the marathon course is not a mistake you want to make. We turn right. I know we are headed towards the baseball stadium which is the home of the flying squirrels. I passed their booth at the race expo, that’s how I know the team name. There is an aid station outside the stadium. They have music playing. I tell tall drink you see my mom down there. They are playing Michael Jackson and my mom is dancing up a storm. My mom is having a ball. We pass the stadium. I mention to tall drink that this is where the race expo was held the day before. We go under I-95 and head into a neighborhood. We turn right into the neighborhood and there is a loop and then we come out the neighborhood. I start noticing the names of the streets, Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest. I’m like was Robin Hood from Richmond. I must google this later. We are out the neighborhood and make on the main street. All of a sudden I hear a car coming, I’m thinking here comes the 1st marathon finisher. Then we hear the bike leads yell out “marathon finisher” Tall drink ask me about it. I tell him that is the 1st marathon finisher passing us. Soon after we see more marathoners passing us. YES, the marathoners are coming!! They are flying like the wind bullseye. I’m starting to feel a little hunger coming on. I reach out for a granola bar. I unwrap it and wouldn’t you know 2/3 of the bar fall on the ground. That hurt me to my core. Tall drink tells you are not picking that up. I really wanted to and ask for God to bless it. I was outvoted. I eat what’s left of my granola bar and keep it moving. We head towards the half marathon turn into the park. This is where I lost the course last year. Good times. As we go into the park, there is a partition up and I see other half marathoners coming out the park. I see 2 of my tri sisters, Cynthia and Kathy. Folks are giving me High-Fives. Amazing how such a small gesture can give you a major boost of energy. It really did. We are in the park and it must run past I-95 because you can see cars on the highway. We are moving through the park and we pass the 6-mile mark and the timing mat. I’m really starting to feel overheated and dehydrated. Pretty much the same way I felt at this same mile marker a year ago. I stop and if tall drink wasn’t standing by me I probably would have hit the ground. I drink some water and work on getting my breathing under control. The SAG car is behind us. My mom walks up to him and tells him I’m not doing so good. He pulls up and I am told to get in. I get in and we drive further up on the course. I tell the cop about being out here last year and getting lost. GUESS WHAT!!! He tells me that was him. I’m like hey buddy!! This is the same cop who got lost with me last year. It’s a small world after all. As we pass course monitors through the park, he lets them know there are still folks on the course. Last year, them rascals hauled tail and left their post too early. You see I’m still bitter about that a whole year later. We actually find the turn we missed last year. No way on God’s green earth we would have seen it last year. We make our way out the park and back to the turn. I get out and get back on the course. I’m feeling so much better. I stop at the aid station and get something of everything they have. I’ve been sweating so I know I need to replenish my fluids. Of course, the Garmin is all confused about the mileage because I didn’t stop it when I got in the car. Oh well. According to, the course I am at mile 8, I have 5.1 miles left to go. HALLEJUAH!! This part of the course is fun primarily because the neighborhoods go all out. They have unofficial aid stations through here with coca-cola, beer, candy, chips. You name it. I pass on the beer. I take some of the candy. Tall drink calls to check up on me, I tell him I’m doing ok. He tells me they will catch up with me shortly. I keep putting 1 foot in front of the other. Pretty soon I am out of the neighborhood and I am on a main street. I turn right and I pass the campus of Virginia Union University #HBCULove. I remember passing here last year and I was really struggling. I was talking to tall drink on the phone for motivation. Then I heard an angel who’s name is Kat Collier yell out my name. Her energy gave me life. She was like “jo we only have 2 miles left to go”. I want to get some of that energy the marathoners have. I’m working on getting there. I pass VUU. Marathoners are on the left. Half marathoners are on the right. All of a sudden someone runs up to me, guess who it is, 1 of my TRI sisters Miya Caswell who is doing the marathon.
She tells me later that seeing me energized her to get to the finish line. That’s exactly what she did for me. She takes off running back on the marathon side. A few minutes later, guess who walks up to me up out of the blue, tall drink. I’m like where is my mom. He points behind us and there is my mom heading towards us. My mom who is 65 years old is coming on down the course doing her 2nd half marathon. Did you hear me??
My 65-year old mother is doing a half marathon. Yes, my mom is better than yours!! The 3 of us are back together on the course. We head up another hill. Tall drink asks me if there are any more. I tell him I don’t remember all these hills. We are coming back into downtown. We cross over Broad street. We turn left, there is this group out cheering. I’m going to say they may have been intoxicated because they were really really loud. I could be mistaken. The red solo cups could prove I was right. They were giving out High-Fives which I was getting some of. High-fives = super energy power when you are out on the race course. I really know that we don’t have that much further to go. We pass through Virginia Commonwealth University campus AGAIN. I know we are getting close. I see a lady come up to us. She asks me if I did the race last year. Guess who it is? The run coach who I met last year who thought it was my first race and I decided to mess with her and tell her I had done the dolphin challenge back in March at Virginia Beach. Don’t let the fluff fool you? I get in my miles just like everyone else. She tells me she just met my mom who came all the way from Alabama. I’m like yeah that’s my mom. She tells me that I’m doing better than last year. Last year it was much later when she saw me. I was oblivious to how much time had passed on the course. I never know. I wear a Garmin. We are going through downtown streets. Folks are telling us we only have a few more turns left. I know for a fact that we do. We make the last left turn. I tell tall drink that we are headed to the finish. I tell him to look ahead and he sees the downhill finish. I hear a group of folks yell my name and it’s some of my nOg & Galloway peeps who have finished the race and headed out. We are coming down the hill. I tell tall drink we just passed my hotel. I tell him that’s just disrespectful that I’m passing right by my hotel but I can’t go in yet. We go down the hill and I hear the announcer call our names. We cross the finish line. Thank God I made it to the finish line. Half marathon #10 is done.