Crisp, fresh air surged through my lungs as I maintained control of my breathing 6 miles into the Whidbey Island Half Marathon. The spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains were a wonderful distraction for the two mile stretch along Pioneer Way. I was in the groove and running at a good pace. Bald Eagles soared above the trees. Gentle waves crashed onshore a few yards from the route. The slight breeze was enough to keep me cool as I ran on. Mentally and physically I was still focused on this half of the race yet I was ready to move on to the next half.
I chose the Whidbey Island Half Marathon because I’ve heard from many people who say it is a beautiful course. In 2010 it was listed in Lonely Planet’s Top Ten Places to Run a Marathon. The weather was perfect for race day and from what I hear much nicer than the windy, rainy weather they had in 2011.
I charged on as the miles continued to melt away. Then the mile 12 marker came into view. I picked up my pace. A little over a mile left. That is nothing compared to what I’ve just completed. I could feel the finish line getting closer. I turned the corner into Windjammer Park and sprinted into the finish line with a time of 1:57:24, beating my time from last year. Relief rushed over me. My feet and calves were burning yet I felt amazing.
I’ve run several long distance races before; marathons and half marathons and this one will be remembered as one of my favorites. I placed pretty well too. I made it in the top 15% of all women finishers. My race number was 1717 and I placed 17th out of 136 women 30-34 years of age. I guess 17 is my new lucky number!