Posted by Rebecca
My brother, Liam, and I completed the Modesto Half Marathon in California two weekends ago. We rose in the middle of the night; running before the sun was up and before the temperature was too balmy. It was great to run a race together – although we weren’t really “together.”
Liam is more than twice as fast as me. He came in 6th out of about 1,250 people. He also came in 3rd for his age group, and received a medal. I came in around 950. He set a personal best time of 1 hour 19 minutes. I barely missed my personal best with 2 hours 49 minutes – my previous best is 2 hours 48 minutes. If only I had known how close I was…. I would have picked up the pace at the end…. Maybe forcing myself to be less distracted by the older guy running alongside me, wearing a wool ski hat and a large overnight backpack for the duration of the race.
The race was interesting. It is, very possibly, the flattest course of all time. The only change in elevation is the overpass you use to get across the freeway. My favorite parts of the course were running through the pretty, old downtown neighborhood, and then later when we ran through lovely orchards with blossoming fruit trees and fully stocked orange trees here and there.
Other than that, the course was quite monotonous. However, the organizers seemed aware of that, and put lots of effort into pulling together an organized and fun event. The finish line had tonnes of free food and drinks for the racers, free massages, free photos, and live music. In fact, there was lots of live music throughout the race course as well. But Liam didn’t get to enjoy any of it. Apparently, if you are too fast the bands aren’t ready for you, and you have to zip by in silence. Just one more reason to maintain my sloth-like pace…. 😉
My favorite part of the race was around mile 11, when I caught sight of Liam holding this sign for me:
Despite the poor choice of the word “your,” I will take his support and sweet sentiments any day. We ran along, side by side, for the last two miles. Him, talking non-stop; me, just trying to stay upright and moving forward. It was great. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.