I haven’t done a real race report in ages, but this race definitely merited one. As I mentioned in a previous post, my personal best heading into this race was 2:44. I didn’t know if I could beat that – I was nine years younger when I set that time. But I figured, why not try? I thought if the pace I’d maintained during my 9.5 mile training run last weekend was any indication, it would be possible, at least.
But Friday was still so warm – too warm to run fast. And I took the boys to Boo at the Zoo, where my legs got pretty tired. But I got a good night’s sleep that night, and when I was up at 5am on Saturday morning, I felt pretty good. Had some coffee and a little breakfast, and headed to catch the ferry. I was very happy to be hit with a wall of cold air when I opened the door to go outside.
I took the ferry over and then walked to the race start, where there were a couple thousand people milling about. I had plenty of time before the race started, so I sat on a bench for a little while before getting in the port-a-potty line. I didn’t want to use it, and then have to go again before the race started (I have a tiny bladder, okay?) so I waited a bit. And then once I saw the line, I regretted that immediately. On the bright side, I ran into our friend Dawn in the line, and we chatted for the thirty minutes we had to wait in line. The starting gun went off when there were still several people in front of us in line, but by that point, I was not going to get out of line.
Finally I was done, and then I had to drop my bag off at the gear check, and get my phone all set up. I had a running playlist, an interval timer, and a GPS mapping program going on to track my pace. So by the time I got to the start, the masses were all well into their first or second mile. But that was okay, the only person I was racing was myself. I started my run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute intervals from the start. The interval timer I was using would tell me which interval I was at, and each “set” was 3 minutes, so I knew if I could finish each mile by the end of every fourth interval, I would be doing a better than 12 minute mile, which was all I needed to set a personal best.
I should mention that the weather was absolutely perfect. I mean, the best running weather I can imagine. (Well, slightly less wind would have been fine, but it wasn’t bad.) It was cool and cloudy. Perfect.
Mile three hits when I was in something like my tenth interval, so I knew I was going much faster than a 12 minute pace. Much faster. Like, an 11 minute pace? (That’s blistering for me!) And I knew if George got to the finish line at 9:45, which was the earliest time I told him, they might miss me. So I sent him a text saying I might finish a bit earlier than expected. Fortunately, since I started six or seven minutes late, that built in a little buffer for me. But still – didn’t want to take any chances.
A few miles go by, and I’m maintaining my pace. My hamstrings are a little tight, but I feel good. And then I hear my name being called, and I turn around and see an old high school friend, Emily. She was actually doing a 16 mile run that day, using a 3:1 run:walk ratio, but since she wasn’t trying to set any records, she stuck with me at my pace. It was nice to have someone to chat with, it definitely made the miles go by faster! A few times I would go ahead when she had to make a phone call or something, but she caught up. It’s kind of unbelievable how fast the whole race went by. Before we knew it, we were at mile 12 and we passed the guys giving out free shots of whiskeys and beer chasers. A woman running near us took one, while I got heartburn just thinking of it. Emily told me when she went back to do her additional miles, she got her whiskey shot in. Hee!
We turn the corner onto Camp Street, which is where the finish line is. I’m feeling a bit worn out and when my interval timer tells me to walk, I do. But then the finish line is in sight, and I decided to ignore it after that. And then I see the boys, George, Dawn, and Teresa on the sidelines, cheering me on. I was so happy to see them, I just ran faster so I could finish as quickly as possible.
Imagine how surprised I was to see 2:34 on the timer when I stopped it. That’s ten minutes faster than the time I set in 2003! I went back to where everyone was standing and got big hugs from my boys. They kept asking if I won, and I said, no. I came in second. Ha!
Me and the boys and my sparkle skirt:
Later, I checked my official time and it was actually better than I thought…2:33:16! That’s 11 minutes faster than my 2003 time, and a whopping 32 minutes off my official time from the half I did in March!
Overall, just a great race. I felt great, the weather was great, I beat my time…and then seeing the boys at the end was the icing on the cake. So happy!
(And Dawn got fourth in her age group, so she did even better!)