|Carter and Opa after Opa's race.|
|Mom and the kids got their faces painted in the kids' zone.|
When my watch beeped for mile 2 in 7:27, I felt a little bit nervous. I knew that should be one of my slower miles because it had a lot of incline in it, but I was still a little worried it was barely under 7:30. I kept repeating in my head, "23, 46, 69," which was where I wanted to be when I hit each 5k mark of the race. I went through mile 3 in 7:02. I intended to check my watch at the 5k mark but didn't look until about 3.2 miles. I was I was at 23:20 so I figured I had gone through the first 5k under 23 minutes as I'd hoped. The results show my 5k split was 22:40. At that point we ran out and back on a road and it was a little bit like a party getting to see everyone going by. I saw my teammates and some women I ran with last year when I was faster go by on their way back. When I made it to the turn around I saw Jeremy was not far behind me. I missed Thomas go by but heard him cheer for me. Then I started scanning the crowd looking for Ty before realizing he wasn't running and I wouldn't see him. I got a little bummed at that point and then I heard someone screaming my name, only to look over and see 3 women whose kids I had in class so that was a nice boost! I went through mile 4 in 7:11. I put a Gu in my pocket just in case I needed it but didn't end up eating it. I drank a scoop of protein mixed with water before the race and that was all I needed.
I went through mile 5 in 7:22 and knew we were coming up on a couple of flat miles. We would cross the bridge and that area of the race was where I passed quite a few runners last year. When we got to the bridge I looked up and saw I had plenty of runners to work toward. We were nearing the 10k mark and I was repeating, "23, 46, 69," over in my head again. I went through mile 6 in 7:08 and saw mats at the 10k mark out ahead. I went through the 10k in 45:13 and got so excited. I knew I was way under where I 'd hoped to be at that point. I also had gone through the 10k mark only 16 seconds slower than what I'd run at the Zoo Run 10k. I'd say not having a 20 miler on my legs made a difference! I passed a few runners through here and was catching up to a woman wearing a glittery skirt and I really wanted to catch her. There were other women between us who I'd already caught but I just had to pass her. My split for mile 7 was 7:09. As we crossed back over the river and I got closer to the last mile I started to dread hitting that mile. I remembered the last mile of the race last year being nearly all uphill and just dying. I tried to stay under 7:15 for that mile but faded to 7:23. I was worried about what the last mile would mean for my overall time. When I hit a mile and a half to go I felt much better knowing I could run 8 minute pace for the rest of the race and still come in under 70.
Mile 8 was 7:19 and then it was time to crest the hill. I passed the girl in the sparkly skirt at that point and took off up the hill. It was steep but not nearly as bad as what I was prepared for. My legs weren't as dead as they had been the previous year and I found myself thinking, "Oh, this isn't too bad." Then, "That was it?!" once I made it to the top. We got a little bit of a downhill after going up the hill and then it was back to a slight incline for the rest of the race. I was really pushing it the last mile, passing people and making ground on people in front of me. I went through mile 9 in 7:16 which was faster than what I ran that mile in last year! I could see a guy a bit ahead of me wearing a shirt that said, "Probably hungover," on the back and I really wanted to catch him. I felt like I was giving it everything I had but I just couldn't quite catch up to him. I ran the last portion of the race in 6:51 pace. I was surprised as I was finishing because I remembered finishing uphill the year before but I didn't feel like I was running uphill. It wasn't until after I finished and was walking down the street that I realized it had actually been uphill. I saw my teammates near the finish line and chatted with them while cheering Jeremy on. I walked with Jeremy after he finished and then we watched for Thomas. We got a picture together after the race with our medals and then headed through the finishing chute to get our food.
I was really proud of myself and what a smart race I had run. I started conservatively and sped up as the race went on, running each 5k faster than the last. My 5k splits were 22:40, 22:33, and 22:26. Last year my 1st 5k was my fastest and my last 5k was my slowest. It felt good to have run such a consistent race. This race was exactly what I needed to give me some confidence that I can get back where I was last fall again. I hadn't had a strong race where I felt good and finished strong since the Turkey Trot last November. Since that race I've had a string of poor performances and disappointing races. It was so nice to go out there and not only run faster than I expected but to feel good while doing it. My legs didn't feel tired or burn as I ran and I just enjoyed the race so much! I'm still riding the high of the race and am actually more proud of my performance this year than my race last year even though I ran over 2 minutes slower than last year. I think it's harder to go into a race and do well when you've had a bad season followed by some bad races than it is to go into a race when you are rocking a season with multiple PRs already in the books. Now I have faith that if I take the time to let my body heal and then get in some good training I can be back where I want to be next fall and hopefully even running some PRs!
|Jeremy finishing the race.|
|Thomas finishing the race.|
|The mug starts out black and then turns yellow once it warms up. This is it warming up.|
|Here's the mug once it was all warmed up.|