Maybe you noticed this on the side bar?
So let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
I did not sleep worth a crap the night before this race. I don’t know what it was, whether I was afraid I wouldn’t wake up in time or what, but I just tossed and turned all damn night. I did get up on time, but I had a hard time getting moving. I managed to get out of the house much later than I had anticipated or wanted to, but I still made it with plenty of time to spare. Taking a cue from the last race I did, I had a Special K bar about an hour and a half before the race started.
After picking up my packet and getting my bib chip pinned on and donning my shirt (I didn’t want to walk all the way back to my, which was on the opposite side of the Zoo from packet pickup), I headed towards the starting area.
Since I had a butt load of time to kill, I mostly people watched. About 20 minutes prior to start time, I went ahead and stretched out my legs, and really focused on my calves. I also (for the first time ever) tried to formulate a type of race plan. As you might have read earlier, I was a little worried about my toe, and whether or not it would hinder me in the race. So my plan was to take the first mile very conservatively, and see how it was feeling. If it hurt too bad, I was just going to drop out. I headed to the start line with about 10 minutes to spare, and I was a little worried that they weren’t going to have any course aid, so I made sure to drink a cup of water before hand.
Once the starting whistle went off, I just made sure to tell myself, “Keep it slow, keep it slow”. I had to weave in and out of a ton of walkers, and eventually just hopped onto the side-walk. I kept checking my pace, and was pleased to see it under 17 minutes but not too fast. Just before the first mile, the leaders passed us. It’s pretty inspiring to see someone cruising to their finish before you even make it to the first mile! They are blazing fast 🙂 I clocked the first mile in at 16:31 (I was slightly off since I started my watch about 20 seconds early, due to the fact that the start banner and timing mats weren’t lined up). I felt pretty good so I decided to try to pick it up a little bit for the second mile.
The second mile went by much like the first. I didn’t feel like I was struggling at any time. Things got a little gummed up around the water stop, but that was because there were so many people and only a few folks manning the stop. It really affected my time but I managed to grab a cup, gulp it down and get back on course. Mile two came in at 16:56.
At about 2.5 miles, I realized that I was going to finish the whole thing without having stopped to walk at ANY point (I had to stop completely at the water stop because people apparently don’t know how to move through at water station without coming to a complete stand still). This really motivated me to pick it up, and I started going faster. Any time I felt tired or a little pain, I’d tell myself, “It’s supposed to hurt, keep going, you’ve got this” and so on. Once I hit mile three (15:38) and could see the finish I was psyched! I kicked it up a little more, and ran the final bit at a 14:15 pace.
At this point I was kind of in disbelief that I had accomplished such a feat for myself. I grabbed some water, headed up the hill towards the breakfast, and just mellowed in my success. I at some of my roll, a bit of my yogurt, and some banana. I also drank a chocolate milk, and started on my orange juice as I worked my way back to my car.
Overall, I’m very happy with this race. Now I know what I can do, and I can’t wait to start building on that. I’m feeling great afterwards and I know that I can push myself a little harder.
I do have one little note though (what you thought this was going to be all peaches and rainbows?):
Race Etiquette. Learn it. Teach your children it. Don’t allow your children to run as fast as they can and weave in and out of older people. Stay to one side of the course if you are going to walk slowly. No need to take up the entire lane with your strollers and arm fails and friends. Control your pace. Don’t run as fast as your legs with turn over down a hill and then try to stop at the bottom. You could take a person out/cause someone to fall with your sudden stop. These are all common sense safety things that EVERYONE needs to abide by!