A quick google search yielded a runner's forum about the race so I knew there was a big hill in the first mile. Since it was a modified loop, we would hit it again in mile 3. My strategy was to go out relatively slow in the first mile or two to pace myself, then pick it up in mile three. In the previous race, I picked it up in mile 4 and that was way too late to make enough of a dent in my time.
Thursday I gathered all of my running gear to pack for my trip up there. My mom picked me up on Friday so we could make this a dual purposed occasion. I would run my race and we'd also hang out with my sister to celebrate her birthday! I was very excited! The girls would be back together! And Rashan really hates getting up for races. It turns out he was up before 8:30 (the start of the race) anyway without me waking him up.
Friday night, I'd decided to cook Thai. But both of them were not interested in the coconut milk. Seriously? So I made my old stand-by of angel hair pasta with diced fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, onion & crushed red pepper. I switched it up a little by adding spinach and mushrooms. It was delicious but everything takes longer in an unfamiliar kitchen so my feet were hurting by the end. Ugh.
I don't usually sleep well pre-race but I had slept terribly the entire week previous so I knew I'd be able to get some decent sleep. Except... I went to sleep around 10 knowing I'd need to be up at 6 to eat. When I woke up before my alarm, I felt extremely rested but hungry and a little thirsty. I decided if it was 5 something, I'd just get up and eat. Except when I looked at the clock, it was 1:18!!! Are you kidding me? Before my last 10K, I used that mid-sleep hunger and ate something at 3 a.m. It worked pretty well. So this time I got some pasta and did a load of laundry. I know!! I'm nutty. I finally got back in the bed around 4 but couldn't fall asleep until about an hour later. That made me a little groggy when it was time to get up but like I said, it's become a race morning ritual so I'm used to it. And I'm in good company. Lots of people share the same inability to sleep pre-race.
Race morning, I had to corral my mom and sister to get them out of the house on time. The bad thing about racing is that I have all of the energy and excitement of the race and sometimes it's just another morning of being up way too early for the people who are with me. I need them to be way more excited. Plus they were moving too slowly and I wanted to be out of the house at 7:30. We were 9 minutes late and I had an attitude. This wasn't going well. When we got in the car, I was cramped into the back seat of my sister's tiny G5. THEN there was some radio "discussion" foolishness about snitching. I can't. I requested music and she always has fast-paced stuff so my spirits picked up immediately.
We get to the race site and I get my timing chip then go to the bathroom. We are now 5/5 in non-portable toilet race bathrooms!!! I was quite happy! There were bread samples pre-race so I got some Great Harvest cinnamon chunk deliciousness to knock off the pre-race hunger I often get. I had brought tangelo slices as well just in case. This was the first time I was running with a reusable chip that attaches to your shoe. Every other race, I've had the foam chip attached to my race number. I decide to do a little warm-up then get my mind right so I leave them about 12 minutes out. I had written the times I wanted to hit each mile on the inside of my forearm so I reviewed those again as well. Organization was bizarre here. There were signs for registration/chip pick-up/packet pick-up but none for the start of the race. What?? So I asked one of the chip volunteers and he had no idea. I had to just follow the other runners. Usually there are bullhorn or microphone announcements prior to the start. It was even set up for that with a podium & mic but nothing. The horn went off and we started moving. I was in the back so it was really the guy who was calling out the countdown clock who helped me know the race was starting on time. Umm... I guess.
I wanted to hit 12:30 in my first mile. I started off a little fast as race day can do to you but I knew I needed to conserve in case there was something crazy happening on that first hill. There were multiple people who were ahead of me and two or three behind. I was in a little pocket of Jameil by myself. And I heard the end of the race sweeper cart way too close. Like I turned around like what is that??? I was like okay I'm really not going THAT slow for you to be doing all that. I started to catch the group of 8-10 people who had sprinted past me so as not to be last but 1) we weren't to the hill yet, 2) I didn't know how fast they were going, 3) I have to run my own race. I had to remind myself that some of those people may be running their first 10K and they will burn out. I don't want to be burning with them.
When I hit the first hill, it was long and steep. The group in front of me was walking up it. I decided to run it but then I realized I was expending a little too much energy and could get up it faster by walking. I still passed several people in the :10 or so it took me to get to the top then started running again as I would do the rest of the race. I knew there would be volunteers to call out times at each mile so I was looking forward to 1) hearing how close I was to my projected time and 2) seeing how off my Runkeeper GPS was as far as mileage. Pretty close. This time my GPS was behind. That's very unusual so I wondered what was up. I took a little hit in my time and ended up hitting the first mile at 13:04... my official average pace for my first 10K. Ummm... NO. I knew I felt like I was barely moving even while running at some points but that's just unacceptable for me. I kicked it up and decided to count my steps per minute. You pick a foot and count the steps on that foot for one minute and you should hit 90 or more. It gives you a short stride and helps you be more efficient in your running. It was like magic when I tried it on Tuesday so I knew I'd be pulling it out for the race.
|Waving at my family!|
|Putting on the game face|
|About to overtake some people nearing mile 6|
Right before we hit 6 miles, one nominee (ringing a cowbell!!! LOL) turned and said to the other, you can do it! I used it for myself and pushed past them. You should have seen the encourager's face. I basically came out of NOWHERE and shocked them! I hadn't been less than 1/4 mile near them all race. At mile 6, I heard, "72:12" and thought "OMG!!! I CAN GET SUB-1:14:00!!!" .05 later I was starting to fade a little but refused to be caught in the last .2 miles!! As I rounded the last corners (it was really winding in this portion), I saw the finish line clock was at 1:13:30. WHAT?!?!? I kept pushing and crossed at 1:13:46!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
|Basking in the glow of my PR!|
For some reason at this race, the fun run is AFTER the main races. What??? My sister was running it so we had to wait until almost 11 for the start. You know I was ready to eat 8 or 9 horses, right? I had burned 847 calories! Yeah... After that, we went back to my sister's apartment and my mom cooked breakfast while I made bellinis then promptly fell into a deep sleep. I am usually awakened by everything. They left and went to the mall and I didn't hear them until they returned. Then my sister took a nap. I went back to sleep for another hour or so until it was time for dinner.
A couple more things about the race: they announced it was short on the first turn so it wasn't technically 6.2 miles so the course record, which a guy hit by 7 seconds, wouldn't count. How awful is that? Poor thing. He passed me twice running his little heart out with the closest competitor two minutes behind at the end and a simple mistake cost him a course record. Not cool. I hope he gets free registration for next year. It's only $13 but still. If you didn't want them to keep time for you it was only $10. That meant I passed more people than were on the race docket. Cool with me! And of COURSE I'm counting this PR!
Overall, I had a great time! I now know I can run a little faster at the outset and go a hard pace and probably be even faster. I'm going to take it a little easy this week. I'll clock no more than 10 miles of running versus my usual 12+ and next week I'll begin training for a half marathon!!!! I'm so geeked! I expect to have at least two months before my next 10K should I run another one so my goal for that one will be sub-1:12:00 with a secondary goal of sub-1:10. If I'm even faster in training, with continued speed work & my long runs getting to be so much longer than a 10K, I might adjust even more! Wheeee!