Our morning started early as most race mornings do. We had signed up to volunteer at the race and were actually on parking duty this time. We've volunteered quite a bit but never done parking. I was kind of nervous about that. I wasn't sure how long we'd have to be parking cars and I knew I would need to get all my stuff together, warm up and line up before the gun went off. I was trying not to really stress about that though. And it was fine.
After parking duties were handed over, I grabbed my bib and gels and met the other girls to go get our warm up mile in before we hit the porta potties one more time and lined up to start. The National Anthem was played and the gun went off. We were on our way.
I had gotten my race plan earlier in the week and had plenty of time to soak it in. I ran this race last year in 2:10:48 and my half distance pr is 2:07 and change.The goal for Saturday was sub 2:05. My race plan had me going at 9:30 pace the first 6 miles being patient since there was a nice hill around mile 8-9. In reality the entire course is rather hilly but I wasn't terribly worried about that. Last year we ran this race with snow and wind hitting our faces for most of the race.
Anyway, miles 7-10 I was to hit 9:20 pace and then the last 3 go all out, whatever all out was that day. I had my 3 gels to take every 3 miles and opted to not carry my own water since I knew where the stops were on the course. I felt comfortable only carrying my gels with me.
I had made a note for myself that I studied Weds thru Fri of exactly where I would be IF I followed my race plan to a T. I knew I needed to be at the 5k mark at 27 minutes and change, the 10k mark in about 58 minutes and if everything went well enough I could make my super secret race goal of 2:02:19 but as long as I came in the finish at 2:04:59 I would have hit my goal for the day.
I hit the 5k mark at 27:44, right on pace. I took water and a gel at the water stop just between 3-4 miles which was heading into an uphill. I was feeling only slightly uneasy about the next 3 miles for some reason. I felt like it was quite a push up that hill but made my way up and could feel my body fall right into rhythm the moment that gel kicked in and gave me a boost. The sun was shining and I kept thinking how nice and warm it was compared to last year. This race doesn't allow headphones so no music, which was fine by me since I rarely use it to run anymore. I was happy enough with my own thoughts and those talking around me.
Splits 1-3 (9:02, 9:24, 9:18)
The next 3 miles were uneventful. I knew where the water stop was (same stop as the one btwn mi 3-4) and knew at that point I would again take water and a gel. I hit the 6 mile mark at just over 55 minutes, moving right along. I took off my gloves and laid them on the water table, grabbed another gel and water and actually stopped to drink this time and sipped my gel as I began running again. At this point in the race it got shady and cool again. We were headed into mile 7 and those faster runners were headed back towards the finish. It was nice passing and hearing my name from some friendly faces!
Splits 4-6 (9:57, 9:02, 9:23)
My biggest concern was the hill between miles 8 and 9. I honestly couldn't remember just how "bad" it was from last year. My race notes said, "just make it up the hill however you need to. you'll makeup time coming back down." So, I wasn't worried about losing a lot of time. I only walked briefly once and really have no idea why other than the fact that, "I will never love hills," as I proclaimed to the guy beside me. I knew that even though I walked a second I was almost to mile 9 and while I was suppose to take a gel I wanted to wait until closer to getting back to the water stop so it wouldn't kick in sooner than I needed.
So it was closer to 10 miles when I took the final gel and water and by this point I felt like I had picked up the pace a little. I could tell my breathing was getting only slightly heavier but in looking at my Garmin I was making good time.
Splits 7-10 (9:41, 9:42, 9:15, 9:45)
To say the next 3 miles were uneventful would be an understatement. I was basically just running and telling myself to not slow down. I did take one final cup of water at mile 11 or so since i knew it was the last water stop and by that point my gum had lost all flavor. Going into mile 12 the sun was again shining (a lot of this course is very shady) and I was just thankful for a beautiful day. I kept looking at my Garmin amazed at how close I was to my goal and took one tiny break to just tell myself, "You can SO do this, give it all you have." So I just ran. An extra bit of encouragement in the final stretch from a friend was nice and before I knew it I could hear lots of loud cheering from my friends that had already finished. I have never heard my name yelled so much or loudly before, "Go Kim!!" It felt so good having a little cheering section there.
I hit my watch and looked down to see 2:04:02. I was stoked (and glad to be done). I had hit my goal of sub 2:05 AND Pr'd this race by 6:36. I collected my medal, thanked the volunteer and took a minute to catch my breath. My coach found me at the finish and we high fived (and he says, "YOU SO Have sub 2:00 in you!!) before I was off to do my mile cool down (that was hard!).
Splits 11-13.19 (9:13, 9:39, 9:08, 1:26)
Chip times weren't listed yet but at last glance at gun times I finished in 2:04:12 and came in 3rd in my division. I'm super happy with that and like to joke that I hauled ass for a piece of ass....
We failed at taking any race pics this year but one of my friends and fellow teammates managed to get one of our small group that workouts together so I snagged it.
I'm super proud of our whole group and all the PRs and age group wins! This was a great race for so many reasons and makes me even more excited for the next one!