It’s been three days since Sunday’s Quintiles Bull City Race Fest half marathon in Durham, NC and what a great day it was. For me, just being down South for the weekend made me really happy. I have three homes–where I live now (northern Virginia), where I grew up (south Jersey), and where I went to college and spent my first two adult working years (Durham, North Carolina). NC is one of my happy places and getting away from the hustle and bustle of DC does the soul good. People are friendlier and more laid back, traffic is less, and honestly the food there is better too!
So last year I was down for Duke’s homecoming and while having brunch with my mom at Foster’s Market we saw all these people with race medals. I told myself then and there that I would do that race the following year! And race weekend was finally here.
The day before the race, my friends and I went to the race expo, lunch and the NC state fair. I was pretty good and did not partake in much of the fried plethora of offerings, but was on my feet for awhile. Fortunately that did not hold me back from completing an excellent race.
The next morning was cold (37 degrees…brrrr!) and none of us were quite ready for that cold burst of winter-like weather. With that said, I made my way to the start line ready to take on the race. The race began near the Durham Bulls stadium by all the new restaurants. Durham has really gone through a revitalization over the last few years and I was excited to see things taking off.
We looped our way through the downtown area and past the old Durham Bulls ballpark (where I attended many a beer fest), through lots of neighborhoods, down to 9th Street (yay Elmo’s Diner), around the perimeter of Duke’s East campus and then into the campus where we ran straight down the quad and past Baldwin Auditorium.
I thought that was the coolest thing ever–a race that took me right through my beautiful college campus. We took a right to head under the famous painted bridge and down most of Campus Drive.
Then it was back up through some other neighborhoods on the edge of campus. Lots of hills–nothing super steep but the minute we made it down one hill, it was time to crest back up another. People had written inspiring messages on the hilly streets and that helped keep up my motivation. Around mile 6 or so I passed the 8:30/mile pace group so I knew I was at least ahead of them, but the 8:00 pace group was nowhere to be found. By mile 11 I was pretty much done but knew I was keeping a good pace. The fans intermingled throughout the course were great! One girl especially was so into her cheering (I must have seen her in five different spots and kept wondering if she was a triplet).
Finally I knew the finish was in sight–we were heading back downtown and the hills had subsided! It was a straight shot to victory and I gave it all I had (only three minutes shy of a personal best). My friends were at the finish line cheering me on which was so nice–two ran the 5-mile race and one braved the cold weather to support us. After a post post-race stretch and massage it was off to brunch, a nap and some R&R. While I’m still a little sore, one thing is certain– I can’t wait to do it again next year!