The start line of the Pinehurst half marathon, 10K and 5K at

Race: Pinehurst Resort 10K

When: Feb. 23, 2019

Where: Pinehurst, North Carolina

Website: Resort Races Collection

Course: Hills with a maximum elevation gain 540 feet, asphalt roads and sand paths. It had rained all week and rained on race day, so the sandy paths were muddy and there were a lot of puddles.

The medal from the 2019 Pinehurst half marathon, 10K and 5K.

Bling: A race medal, shirt from Vineyard Vines, a champagne glass with the Pinehurst Resort logo etched on it, a champagne brunch

I have to be honest with you. If it wasn’t for a discount that I received through a workshop I attended the day before the race, I would not have run this race. It’s expensive — $99 for the 10K if you pay on race day. But you get a champagne brunch after the race. You tour Pinehurst and run on some of the fabled golf courses there. If you find a way to attend something you want in a way that fits your budget and lifestyle, do it. Doooo it now! You won’t regret it.

This race starts at the fabled Pinehurst Golf Course — where professional golfers become masters of their craft. It was rainy and chilly. If the weather called for a bit more rain, I probably would have blown off the race. Many people who signed up for the half marathon, dropped down to the 10K (6.2 miles) that morning.

My husband surprised me by running the 10K with me.

My husband signed up to race on race day, surprising me. I just wanted to race and have people cheer me on at the end. He hasn’t trained in several months, so his safety was a concern. But he was determined to race, so I helped him through the electronic sign-up process and had to give back a shirt I borrowed for my outfit — a long-sleeved tech shirt from a previous race that I didn’t think he’d need.

The race started promptly at 7:15 a.m., a little downhill run by the golf course clubhouse. Then we went into Pinehurst. If this race was held a month or two later, I would have been suffering from allergies, as the town is very foresty. The houses are hidden among the pine trees, and you feel more like you’re on a forest path, rather than on the street on one of the biggest military veteran communities in North Carolina.

We went by a few beautiful buildings before heading back to the golf course. Each race — 5K, 10K and half marathon — had a different colored bib. The volunteers knew what the racers were running based on the colors. At several key locations throughout the course, the shorter-distance runners were separated from the others by these skilled, shivering volunteers.

Right away, we noticed that the course wasn’t closed, as vehicles honked and tried to weave their way around us. It was bad, especially near the start when we were all bunched up together, four people wide in some spots. Once the crowds thinned out, you still had to pay attention to the sounds of vehicles around you.

One of my favorite intersections was where an officer with a burgundy, unmarked cruiser stared down one car driver who was trying to pass me. The officer waved his hand and blew his whistle, his eyes giving a “don’t mess with the runners” look that made me appreciative that he was looking out for us. The vehicle quickly stopped, allowing me to get back onto the road and across to my destination along the route.

For the 10K, there were three water stops — at the 2, 4ish and 5 mile marks. The last two had port-a-potties. They offered water or Gatorade. I really wanted Nuun, but forgot to pack some for the trip. I wore a Team Red, White and Blue shirt, and often the volunteers at the water station called out, “Come on Team RWB, you got this!”

As for the running itself, I wanted to run my own race. This was supposed to be a race to see how my training was progressing for the half marathon. With my husband there … at first I was pissed off. I mean he hasn’t trained or anything and was just jumping into something I was working hard to accomplish. I don’t like running with people who tend to belittle other athletes.

After letting him get ahead a few times, I found a few moments of solitude in which I was able to put into practice some things I learned the day before. I wanted to help him succeed, and to remember I was there to have fun too. After all, it was still my race. A negative attitude wasn’t going to help me finish.

At first we ran without stopping, like he usually does, but after a while, we started walked up the hills. Then we followed the run-walk intervals of a group ahead of us. My husband’s goal was to pass them. When I tried to set up our own interval timer so we could keep pace with them in case we got separated — it is a hilly and windy course — he squashed the idea.

So we power-walked up the hills and ran to whatever other landmark we could find. We’d talked strategy looking ahead at what we saw. Mile markers and other landmarks were our friends.

As we went up a hill at about the 5.5 mile mark, a photographer we passed said we had gone up the last hill. Finally! No more hills! Considering that we live in a place where our biggest hills are a 63-feet elevation gain, we were pretty sore and excited. But she lied, as we found even more hills.

During the last mile or so, we were passed by the top two finishers of the half-marathon. Yeah, getting “lapped” showed we weren’t in the kind of shape we were a few years ago, but we were still going strong.

Eventually, we were able to see the finish line. I don’t remember what my husband said exactly, but it was something about finishing strong and then he started sprinting to the finish. I chased him to the finish. I’m not going to share our finish line photos, but I found them pretty satisfying as I stayed in my runner’s high zone. Now, I’m glad for that moment, but it showed I have a long way to go in some aspects.

Overall, I was about a minute faster than I was when I started my training plan in December. The fact is remarkable considering that we walked up almost every hill, and there were lots, lots of hills.

As the miles went on, I felt stronger. I was smiling at the finish line, and didn’t feel sore until we made the long drive home.

Yep. I’m the odd goofball that didn’t wear a red Team RWB shirt. It was great to meet all the other Eagles.

I also liked this race because I had a chance to meet many people that I know through Facebook and the Internet. I met another Skirt Sports ambassador and several members of Team RWB, which was pretty awesome.

If things align like this year, I may try the half-marathon next year. Hopefully, my husband will do a little more training so we can both enjoy the adventure.