I don't know why I still get so nervous for every race. After over 200 of these, you would think I would get a little nonchalant. But no, I was waking up every hour the night before. Had the queasy stomach. Ugh. But it's all part of the deal. I love racing!
Goal today was to run a strong 13 miles and prove I have the endurance. I told myself to get under 1:45 which is almost exactly 8 minute miles. I wanted to start easy, maybe 8:20-8:30, then get down to 8 minute miles and finish strong under 8. The course is net downhill, with a few steep hills, but the last 3 miles mostly downhill. Felt pretty confident going in. Like this guy.
Out of the house at 5:15. Here was the sunrise view as I boarded a shuttle bus at 6.
The organization for this race was awesome! Everything ran smoothly. There were hundreds of port a potties, so reasonable lines. 20 corrals helped separate the runners by time, so I had no poky walkers to dodge around. The finish area was huge and ran smoothly. Parking was easy. Shuttle buses to the start worked fine. Kudos to RNR!
So mile 1 is downhill. I'm trying to relax, and I kept it to 7:49. A little quick, but not bad. Mile 2 was 7:51, so I had apparently "found" my comfort zone. Then miles 3-4 were more downhill at 7:37, 7:41. Oh boy, I am banking some time here! I'm kicking myself a little because it feels close to 10K pace, and there is a LONG way to go. I try to slow down, but oh it is so hard! The sun came out here and I started to feel tired in mile 5. Tired, already!? What have I done?! I kind of figured it would be a tough last 5 miles at this point. And then I felt a blister starting up under my toe. Shoot Feathers!
And then we hit the first of several good size hills. Maintain effort, I tell myself. Just keep it steady. Pace goes up over 8 on the hills, but there are many downhills too, so it evens out. Miles 5,6, 7 were 7:50, 7:50, 7:52. Strangely as I go over the hills I start to feel stronger. Mile 8 I got my confidence back. Oh, I was hurting, but I still had forward momentum, and was passing people, and had the feeling I was going to make it. By now I thought sub 1:45 was in the bag unless I bonked, and 1:44 was likely as well! Maybe even under 1:43! Mile 8 - 7:37!
One 1/2 mile long hill at mile 9 was the worst, but I was maintaining pretty well and I knew the last 3 were downhill so I kept pushing. I had run this course two years ago, but it is slightly different now, so what was mile 12 is now mile 10. Two years ago, once I crested the last hill it was a short downhill to the finish, but this year there was still almost 3 miles to go. Ugh! Miles 9 and 10 were 7:42 and 7:52. Nasty short steep hill at 10.5, which 2 years ago brought me to a walk, but I trotted over it and regathered my oxygen for the finish. I was flailing my arms and banzai-ing down a long steep hill here and knew I just had to cruise it in, but my body was not very happy with me! Mile 11 in 7:54.
In mile 12 they throw in one more nasty hill amidst all the downhill, but I still had enough to get over it in good form and head to the finish. Then it was just holding on and saying, you got this, just keep it going. I matched up with one guy who helped me push the pace a bit for about a mile, and i pulled away from him in the end. Big crowds at the finish made for a great wall of noise and I cruised into victory. Mile 12 was 7:53. Mile 13 was 7:35, and the last .23 was at 7:03 pace! Total time 1:42:41! Woo Hoo! It's Banana time!
Here I am at mile 12.5, wearing the colors.
The blister didn't turn out to be too bad - just an annoyance. I'm pretty wiped out, but very happy with the race! On to Marshall!
Here I am with Smiley.