The Thursday previous to the race, I headed to the local Fleet Feet store and picked up my packet because the race is pretty small and there was no expo. In fact this is only the second year this race has been held. I wasn't really nervous which was a surprise to me because I usually get pretty nervous before races, but this time I just trusted in my training. I felt like I was ready.
Sunday morning, I was up at 5:30am and eat my usual cinnamon and sugar oatmeal, with water and a little bit of coffee. I picked up Brian shortly after 6am and we headed to the race start. I met up with three of my friends from the running group and we planned to run together and stay together for as long as we could.
After a quick warm up we headed to the start line which was packed with people. We weaved our way up to the 1:40 pace group and waited for the start. It was a tad bit chilly but I was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt because I knew I would warm up quick. I had been designated pacer for our little group and I was in charge of making sure we didn't start off the race too fast.
Soon we were off and running and the 1:40 pacer was way out in front of us. So much for running with him. Thankfully not much weaving around slower runners was needed and we were running at a good pace which felt easy.
Just after the two mile mark we turned the corner and saw Brian and our Coach. We were staying steady at just under a 7:40 pace and everyone looked happy to be out and running.
The miles ticked by - the first 6 miles of the course were pretty flat and we maintained our pace (~7:38 according to garmin) throughout that section. There were a lot of spectators which helped make the time go quickly and I tried not to think about the hilly section coming in miles 6 - 9.
As we passed the 10k mark I could see the first big hill looming in front of us. The three of us (the three girls in maroon) has been running together and at this hill one girl feel back and couldn't keep the pace. The other girl and I continued on up and up and up. Finally we reached the downhill and flew through mile 7 and into the cemetery. This is where we saw Brian and Coach for the second time. This is also the part where I began to run alone.
We entered the cemetery with a huge but short uphill and then another uphill and then another. I didn't know the exact course and I was beginning to lose it mentally. I was tired and I didn't think I could continue to hold my pace for another 5 miles. But then the course evened out and there were no more uphills and I got myself back together and felt strong.
My left leg was hurting me through out this portion. My hamstring, upper hip, shin and foot all felt uncomfortable but surprisingly my pace wasn't suffering yet. After what seemed like forever I finally exited the cemetery, passed the 10 mile marker and pushed on. It was like I had a second wind and my legs were just pumping along. The rest of the course was mainly flat with only one small uphill after mile 12. I knew I was close to reaching my secret goal of sub 1:40 and I hoped I could hold on to it.
As I approached mile 11, I was still maintaining my pace but my left leg was seriously hurting and as I continued towards the mile 12 marker my pace started to slow down. I had a lot of thoughts during that mile which included -
- Why am I doing this? This hurts.
- How do people run this fast for 26.2 miles?
The finish was finally in sight and although I wanted to sprint to the finish my legs would not go. I knew my sub 1:40 goal was gone but a PR was definitely there. As I crossed the finish line I was happy to have finished and be done running. My left leg was in a lot of pain but I could pretty much walk ok.
After the race, I waited for the rest of the girls to finish and see how they did. I was still having trouble walking with my left leg but I was finally able to get to the car and drive home. My left leg was in extreme pain for the rest of the day and if I sat for any extended period of time it only made it worse. Stairs were tough and I just hoped that I wouldn't wake up Monday morning even more sore than I already was. Monday morning rolled around and I was surprised to find I was much better. My left IT band was a mess but only my left quad and hamstring were sore - my right leg felt completely fine. I decided a complete rest day (instead of yoga) was the best bet.
To sum it up, in Brian's words -
"This was the race that you actually looked good every time I saw you - you didn't look like death."
He is so kind. Thanks for reading!
Official Time - 1:41:05
Age Group: 9/136