After a long day yesterday, I managed to get myself to be fairly early (10:30 pm). I wasn't even really angry when I woke up at 5:30 and realized I had to get up in 15 minutes. Thank goodness I did wake up on my own because I realized I set my alarm for p.m. instead of a.m. That really would have sucked to NOT have woken up for a race.
We left my house at 6:30 for an 8:00 start. We had plenty of time to get there and arrived just shortly before the marathon start. We stayed warm in the Expo center and it was REALLY nice to have indoor plumbing. What other race can you say that? None I've ever been to.
There wasn't a whole lot of time to stand around, before we knew it we were just 15 minutes out from the race start.
Bianca and I decided we need one more pee break but the ladies' room line was pretty long. We headed outside to the porta potties, but the line there was even longer. So, we did what any normal person would do and we went in the men's room. Hey a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. I'm glad we did too because I never had to go again.
As soon as we came out of the rest room we headed to the start line. We basically just lined up right where we walked up which wound up being the back of the pack.
Not even 2 minutes later, the gun sounded and we were off! I was so excited. It has been a LONG time since I raced this distance (almost 9 months) and I was really looking forward to it. I said before, that this race was just to have fun as it is a hilly challenging course. I knew I wasn't ready to run really fast. I was just there to run.
My friend Tracey texted me yesterday and asked me if I had a goal in mind. I mentioned how I just wanted to have fun, but said I hoped for a 2:15ish finish. 2:15 was realistic, but still a little fast for me (right now). It didn't really matter if I didn't make 2:15, but I really wanted to beat my last 1/2 marathon time 2:17 and change and if all else failed, do better than I did last year at this race (2:22).
The first three miles went by so quickly. I was getting in a groove and loosening up, just doing what I set out to do-- have fun.
Mile 1: 10:00
Mile 2: 10:20
Mile 3: 10:19
At about mile 4 (or maybe even sooner) some random dude started talking to me. I could tell he was a chatty Cathy and I didn't mind talking to him, but he had a slight spitting and snotting problem. I am very squeamish when it comes to this type of thing so him spitting right in front of me every 30 or so seconds wasn't sitting well. Even still he was helping me to speed up my pace a bit and the miles were passing quickly.
I ran this race last year like I said, but other than remembering it was hilly I didn't have a lot of recollection. It wasn't until I was on the course when I started remembering every hill and every turn. Mostly because I had ridden this course on my bike during the Rookie Triathlon in the spring.
As we approached mile 5 I took a Gu and then shortly thereafter saw the dreaded turn. I knew what was beyond that turn was the dreaded hill. It wasn't long, but it was steep. With my Gu energizing me I tackled that hill and left "spitty dude" in my dust. I wasn't trying to lose him, but I wasn't unhappy that he was gone either.
Sure enough after about another quarter mile spitty dude was back. Like I said, I wasn't really trying to lose him and the conversation we had was distracting me from the task at hand (in a good way).
Mile 4: 10:14
Mile 5: 9:59
Mile 6: 9:59
At the 7 mile mark we came up on a water stop and I was feeling fabulous. I could tell spitty dude was losing steam and I had to tell myself he wasn't my concern. I can't help it, I'm so nice I felt badly leaving him because, from what he told me, I was helping to pace him to a much faster pace than he had anticipated.
After I took my water at the water stop, I just took off feeling great. I guess spitty dude couldn't keep up because he never caught up to me again.
Mile 7: 10:31 (I think I was recovering from some tough hills)
Mile 8: 10:11
At mile 9 comes the hardest LONGEST hill(s) of the race. I swear from mile 9 to 10 is just one big hill. I did NOT allow myself to get discouraged on the hills. I pictured myself doing hill repeats in 90 degree weather this summer and knew that no hill today was any harder than that. I kept a consistent speed up the hill passing so many people. I was so proud of the way I was able to tackle all those hills.
At this point I knew once I got through this last hill I was home free and on to flat lands.
Mile 9 (the hill): 10:15
I was still feeling pretty good, but I was ready to just be finished by mile 10. I was getting tired and my foot was starting to hurt the way it did at the marathon. I put that all in the back of my mind and just plugged away. Feeling a bit sluggish I decided to take another Gu and hoped it would give me the energy to finish strong.
Mile 10: 10:27 ------> Gu
Mile 11: 10:31
Mile 12: 10:29
When I saw the 12 mile marker I was so happy. I was happy because I knew I was almost finished, but also happy because I was feeling like I was getting a second wind. I had enough left in me that if I just pushed I might be able to meet my 2:15 ish goal I had told Tracey about yesterday. So I pushed, and ran as fast as I could for that last mile.
Mile 13: 9:58
I crossed the finish line in 2:14:43. I'd say that is as close to 2:15ish as I could get and I was really happy.
I can't tell you how awesome this race is. I don't know why, but I love the course. It's challenging, but it doesn't make you feel defeated. It just the right amount of everything. I will do this race again.
Bianca, Karla and Julie all had great races too. It is so fun to do these races with these ladies and I appreciate doing these races "together". I look forward to MANY more!