Signing up for the Mayberry Half Marathon, set for November 13, 2021, in Mount Airy, North Carolina, felt to be a no-brainer after observing the course map and ideal chilly weather forecast. With a 41-degree start on a mostly flat trail, I wasted no time pushing the pace, understanding I would be working with a brand new engine from the one in previous months in summer heat. Without a timing mat at the start, this event only offered a chip finish time, basically gun time, so I made certain to line up just behind the front runners so that my official time would read as close to my actual time as possible. I locked into a comfortable pace and felt at peace until I saw 2:00 pacers tailgating me for a long stretch before passing me, implying they were running significantly faster than their sign displayed and likely messed up many runners’ attempt to barely achieve a sub-two-hour goal by staying in proximity with them. I passed the pacers around mile 7, when my body began to feel stronger and I believed I could hold my pace until the end without an issue.
I hoped I could have used the bathroom prior to the race, as my stomach felt uneasy the entire way; consequently, I barely utilized any aid station for fluid to avoid upsetting the body even more, so when I tried to grab a water from a volunteer with just over a mile to go to sufficiently refresh me to finish strong and she inadvertently pulled the cup as I reached, making me miss it, I rightly became extra irritated, even though I should not have complained, “Come on!” I crossed the finish with an official time of 1:53:59.2, content as I had not run this kind of time in months, thanks to the heat and humidity. I hope this result could be an indication of my performances to come in the upcoming months in chillier weather.