I love the idea of starting off the new year with a big race. I’m less a fan, however, of training for a big race during the holidays. When my alarm went off early on Saturday morning, I knew that I was heading out to a race I was under trained for. I also knew that my fueling situation was kinda whack. -> We were all out of gu and I opted to be lazy instead of buying more. Teehee. (I have a theory that my laziness is cute and not obnoxious if I follow it up by saying ‘teehee.’) I grabbed the only thing in the pantry that made sense at 6:20am, graham crackers. My thought was that I could break them up and put them in my mouth like a squirrel. (Yes, I realize now that this sounds insane!) Even with my lackluster training and my, um, unique race fuel, I still had it in my head that I could run this race fast. The course is flat, the weather was on my side, I should totally go for it right?
When the gun went off, I told my legs to go fast.
- Mile 1: 9:23
- Mile 2: 9:46
- Mile 3: 9:45
- Mile 4: 9:59
After a few too-fast miles, I settled into a somewhat reasonable pace. I didn’t really watch my watch. It spent most of the race under my sleeves. Instead, I tried to run by feel (not always my strong suit.) I wanted to go fast but not too fast, knowing that the race would be a long one. My two long runs in preparation (See, I told you I was under trained!) were an 8 miler and 10 miler. Both of those were run with friend from Wear Blue and tons of fun. Being out there on my own, however, was decidedly less fun. The race course was pretty sparse, there were no spectators, and the volunteers spent their energy trying to stay warm instead of cheering. It was just me and my thoughts and the desert. Those thoughts mostly centered around the fact that I wanted to blow a snot rocket but didn’t know how. Yes, I’m a great running partner.
- Mile 5: 10:02
- Mile 6: 10:05
- Mile 7: 10:04
I spent the majority of the race leapfrogging with other runners. I’d get ahead of them, but then I would walk in order to eat some graham crackers, take off my jacket, or take care of the previously mentioned boogers. My walking mean that all those people I spent miles gaining on and passing, passed me right back. Hate that! There were two women in particular that I had my eye on, but around the halfway point they really took off. I was left mostly surrounded by dudes. I know that I’m only competing against myself, but I still like passing women potentially in my age group.
- Mile 8: 10:25
- Mile 9: 10:10
- Mile 10: 9:51
The course was double lollipop looking thing. I liked where we ran. (In fact, I mentally “wrote an entire post about why I love running on post during the second half of the race.) The structure meant that even though I had Wear Blue friends running the race, I didn’t get to see them like you would on an out and back.
The one exception was during mile 9 where the too loops connect and briefly zig-zagged. I spotted a Wear Blue member, Tony, less than a mile ahead of me. We both waved. I felt a burst of energy to plow on and try to catch him. When I made it to where he had been, I could see another friend behind me! See, that’s what I like in my races – friendly faces all around! I had been dragging, but I finally felt motivated again. Time to dig in.
- Mile 11: 10:07
- Mile 12: 9:45
- Mile 13: 8:29
During mile 11, I caught up to Tony. He was doing awesome on his first half, but was fighting some gnarly calf cramps. We smiled at each other and ran side by side for a minute. He mustered up the breath to ask me to tell his wife that he was on his way. Awww! How sweet is that? (They’ve been married for a long time, have three kids, and are utterly adorable. Their marriage is worth aspiring to!) I let him know that catching him had been great motivation for me before I surged on.
My focus was to take the rest of that mile easy and push hard for the final two. The ladies I had been leapfrogging with for the entire race were finally within my grasp. This was also the point where I was feeling so sore and so tired. I wanted rest! I shifted my focus to passing people. I would lock my eyes on the person I wanted to pass, tell myself that they were the ones who were tired, and try to increase my turnover. It got the job done – I passed 4 women an a handful of dudes! There was one more lady I wanted to pass at the end, but my fastest wasn’t fast enough to catch her. Still, I finished strong!
- 13.02 mile finish time: 2:09:05
- Average pace: 9:54 per mile
I saw lots of familiar faces as I ran the last half mile. Many of my Wear Blue friends ran the 5k, which ended a half hour before, and hung around to cheer. I even saw Tony’s wife and shouted out his message to her. :) Julie and I went to Taco Cabana afterwards, and I talked her ear off for two hours. (That’s really my favorite way to end a race.) The rest of the day was spent laying on the couch because I’m an old lady. (And that’s my other favorite way to end a race.)
So what’s next? I’m not entirely sure. This was my 13th half, so I’d love to run 2 more this year and make it an even 15 for 2015. I’m also craving more middle distances, like 8k’s and 10k’s or other random k’s. Bataan (walking, not running!) is still a possibility. As of right now, I have no upcoming races picked out. I guess I need to get on that!