One of the women on my Ragnar team, Sarah, was also running this race. We carpooled, and when we got out at the venue, we were both reluctant to take our warmup shirts off...The temperature has finally dropped to autumn levels! It was 63 this morning pre-race, and topped out at 72 when we were finished.
That's what I call perfect race weather!
I was happy to get a little jog in before the start time; my legs have been leaden this week from the 10k last weekend and the start of volleyball, and my 3.6 miler on Wednesday was brutal. This morning, though, after intense rolling therapy all week, my legs felt fantastic. I felt ready for this race from the moment we got there.
|The crowd waiting to start.|
Anyway, I found a nice easy pace early on. I watched others pass me and smiled a little, completely aware that by mile 3 many of them would be burned out. I kept to my pace and thoroughly enjoyed the scenery. I even took a picture - while running - along one of the boardwalks. It was just too pretty not to!
|I didn't even have to stop to take it. Check out that gorgeous view!|
|The belt felt like I wasn't even wearing it; it stayed in place and was easy to handle.|
I ate another chomp at mile 5. I waved and said "thank you" and "good morning" to all the volunteers. I was happily distracted along the entire route by the gorgeous views as the sun began to peak above the trees.
This is seriously one of the most beautiful races I've ever run, hands down. The route was much improved from last year; somehow, even adding 7k to the distance, they avoided that long stretch of road I remembered hating last time. We looped along neighborhood streets (I saw one woman in her bathrobe come out to get the paper as we passed) and ran along paths bordering lakes, fields, and the golf course.
I began to tire out around mile 7.5. It's hard for me to mentally keep myself going when I know I'm almost done. (Just something else to work on this year.) But at this point, it was too late to eat another chomp. So I just tucked in and kept going.
Around mile 8.5 I was tailing two young women in pink. We were alone on the course for awhile; I was the caboose. But something sparked as we made a turn off the road onto more boardwalk, and suddenly I was flying.
I overtook the two girls...to the point that they weren't even in my hindsight as I looked back. The last stretch from 8.5 to 9 was completely empty of volunteers and runners. I thought maybe I had gotten lost...I've never been completely and totally alone during a race!
But I didn't dare stop, in case one of the pink girls caught me. Finally I saw a volunteer, who directed me at the turn. (I wasn't off course, just uniquely timed I guess.) The last two boardwalks were heaven for my legs. I pounded around the final turn, burst through a copse of trees, and raced to the finish.
The clock was ticking 1:34:xx and in that moment I wanted to beat 1:35. I cranked it out and gave it my all at the finish, coming in at 1:34:49. As this is my only 15k, it's an automatic PR.
|Sean getting his medal, and us afterward, with our bling! (I really enjoy the banana peel I haven't bothered to throw away yet...I guess I was holding onto it for sentimental reasons.)|
|I was too short to get a picture of Sarah getting her medal, but here she is showing it off!|
|Post-race exuberance! (My fuelbelt is doing a great job giving me that Steve Urkel look I was going for.)|
I'll never again take for granted the effects of beautiful surroundings and cooler weather!