Race time was 6pm and there was no early/day before race packet pickup. We arrived around 4:45-5pm because I knew I needed to grab my packet and do a warm up before the race. I grabbed my bag, set up camp chairs (there's bbq, a band and beer post race!) and gabbed with friends before doing my warmup.
Since it was so hot/humid out I was give the ok to only do a mile warm up instead of 2 miles. I changed into my racing shoes and had more water before lining up. This race starts on a downhill and runs mostly downhill flat the first mile before hitting a decent uphill. It's an out and back so what you hit down going out you hit up coming back. And believe me I knew at the first decent downhill what kind of beast I'd meet between mile 3 and 4. I was not looking forward to it.
My race plan had me starting at a 9:20 pace the first mile or and like always I went out too fast. I knew this before I hit mile 1 and the first real uphill so I took a walk break to try and reason with my head and get in control so that I wouldn't be too taxed to hold a decent pace the remainder of the race.
I did not carry water but knew I'd hit a water stop 3 times. The first water stop I took water and drank a few sips. The second water stop I took a water and took a sip but dumped the rest on my head. I was starting to feel a bit chilled and that worried me. I knew I'd began to get a bit warm so dumping the water on my head seemed to be a good choice. I took what I was hoping was sports drink at the final stop but ended up being water. Again, sip and dump seemed to be a good method for me.
Going into this race I knew it was not going to be a distance PR. This is a challenging course as the race description states. Add the heat and humidity and for a mediocre runner/racer like me you just don't get PR conditions. So, my expectations were relatively low though I did secretly hope there weren't many fast Athena's running this race. I wanted to keep my little, local Athena winning streak alive.
The only thing I told myself this entire race was Just Finish.
9:02 9:24 9:20 9:48 8:18
Obviously mile 3 got me, big time. I had hoped to hit a solid 9:10 pace overall but with the walk break in the first mile to pep talk myself into slowing down and the major walk break up puke hill I just could not maintain it.
relieved as I come down puke hill
My Garmin read 46:14. Official time 46:22 which is not a PR nor was it good enough for a win. I've tried hard all weekend to not beat myself up over missing #1 Athena by only 23 seconds but it is what it is. I keep telling myself if I had ran more up the first hill and up puke hill I'd have hit this one just right but I didn't have it. It's ok though.
2nd place Athena
78 out of 176 overall isn't too shabby either!
Overall I am very happy with how this race went because I am coming to the end of a training cycle and have raced 4 weeks in a row. I ended an 8 month training cycle with a challenging course and that feels great. I happily chugged a brew or two and enjoyed the post race bbq. Now I look forward to a week of easy running and/or rest before marathon training starts.