The morning dawned a cool 30F but sunny. I made a judgement call and decided to wear less layers since I seem to always overdress for running/races. My running club racing singlet, arm warmers and capris with gloves and sunglasses were hopefully going to keep me warm enough for the entire 13 miles.
I met up with my running girls and we did a quick mile warm up before removing our sweats and heading to the start line. I was chilly at first in my skimpy outfit but once we were in the mass of people at the start, it was actually warm. Soon we were off and running.
As I mentioned before this course was very flat for the first 6 miles and then hilly from mile 6-9 and then flat to the finish. I had planned to try and keep at 7:20-7:25 pace for the first six miles. The miles slowly ticked by and we weaved around the empty streets. I was being passed by a lot of runners at this point but I knew the hills were coming so I held back and didn't push myself. The sun was shinning and I was just enjoying being out on the course. I passed Brian around mile 2.5 and made sure to smile!
Around mile 3 I started to feel a little bit fatigued and that worried me. I had done a small mini taper for this race but there was still a lot of fast miles on my legs. After about a mile or so I started to feel stronger and better and just pushed on to the hills.
The crowd support going into the hilly portion was awesome and it gave me a little extra boost and I started up the hill. I tried not to push the pace and just maintain my effort from before. I lost about 4 seconds on my over all pace on the first large hill. We entered a steep downhill and I picked up speed as I braced myself and tried to recover before hitting the second hill. At this point I seriously got confused about the course. I thought they had changed a section because I didn't remember it from the year prior. About 2 minutes later I realized where I was and that things had not actually changed.
With three hills left to conquer, I entered the cemetery portion of the race. I saw Brian again but didn't really acknowledge him because I was focused on not tripping on the cobblestones that lined the hill. The last thing I wanted was to fall!
At the top of the cobble-stoned hill, I tried to recover quickly but the next hill came fast. I don't really remember thinking about much at this point except trying to just get through the hills. Finally I reached the flat portion and tried to pick up speed. I was feeling great and this point and had actually gained back a second that I had lost through the hill portion.
I was surprised at how good I felt and how good my legs felt. I had no pain in my legs what so ever, while last year at this point I started to have trouble. The cemetery portion of this course can get very lonely and boring and although it was not as bad as last year, it still was pretty desolate. Definitely my least favorite portion of the course.
Once out the cemetery, the crowd support picked up and as I made a right turn I thanked a very cute police man. Always nice to have some eye candy while running! At this point I continued to try to pick up my pace without going all out and burning out. I was seeing my pace slowly drop back closer to 7:20 overall and I was happy. I was feeling good and continued on until I finally made it to the mile 12 marker. I couldn't believe that the race was almost over - my legs were still feeling good and my pace was dropping.
The final mile I did my best to smile because I was happy to be racing. I had enjoyed running the race and knew I was going to PR. As the finish line came closer and closer, the crowds began to grow and get louder! Although I had my garmin time, I wasn't really looking at it in the final mile - I was just trying to get to the finish line. When the clock finally came into view I was very happy to see a 1:36! My favorite part had to be running with the streets lined with people and finishing while the announcer called my name.
Brian happened to catch me close to the finish - I didn't even see him. I think this is my favorite photo that he took. It just shows how good I felt and how strong I finished. My goal had been to run under 1:37 and I did that and I ran about 5 minutes faster than last year's race and PR.
Monday and today (Tuesday), I am feeling really good. I have no soreness and only minimal tightness in my legs. I think all this high mileage marathon training is actually paying off to help me run faster at the shorter distances and recover faster too!
Post race, I met up with my running girls and we all had brunch together with our significant others. I had muffin bread french toast and it was the best thing ever. A great way to refuel after a fun race!
1:36:30 (7:22 pace)
Age group: 15/280