The success of Saturday burned out all my nerves for Sunday's race. I woke up without any anxiety, but unfortunately that also meant I didn't have much adrenaline, either. I felt loose and relaxed, but not especially race-hyped.
|Another chilly morning! I got really lucky this weekend.|
Mari and I met Kristin at the mall before sunup and she drove us to the race. We got to the venue about 45 minutes before the start time, and my biggest complaint of the day occurred at arrival - the bathrooms were locked. Groups of runners were hanging out near the bathrooms waiting for someone to bring a key, but the race organizers couldn't help us.
You all know how important bathroom usage is pre-race! Luckily, Kristin knew the park pretty well and we were able to find another set of bathrooms on the playground. Unlocked!
|At the starting line!|
This race can be run two different ways: as a 10-miler or as a 5-mile relay. Kristin was signed up for the relay, and Mari and I were both signed up for the full 10 miles. Obviously this meant we had different racing strategies to consider.
It was still dark when the race began. I clipped my sunglasses to my new belt and that worked really well - they didn't jiggle or bounce at all. I'll post a little review of the belt sometime soon because I'm very happy with it.
Anyway, I ate a Peanut Butter and Chocolate Gu at the starting line and then we were off! We stayed together for the first two miles or so, and even that early on I knew I was in for a huge mental battle. My legs were tired. I reminded myself that they had felt tired for the Sanibel race too but were able to make it to the end, so this was really more about mind-over-matter than anything else.
|Part of our route...it really was a very pretty race for the most part!|
Around the second mile, Kristin broke off and Mari and I let her go so we could keep an easier pace, keeping in mind that we had twice as many miles to cover!
At the halfway point I ate a Salted Caramel Gu. (I have to say that neither Gu compared to the Caramel Macchiato. I never felt the same surge of energy and I definitely hit the wall later in the race. Part of it was probably my tired legs.)
|Kristin got a shot of Mari and me at mile 5!|
I felt a few very minor twinges in my hamstrings during the middle miles of the race and began to back off my pace. (Big picture: the marathon is in 40 days! No injuries can happen here!) I was seriously struggling around mile 7.5 and told Mari she could go ahead without me. At which point she said, "No way, we're finishing this together!" She is seriously so positive all the time and was just running for the fun of it...If she had gone ahead, I probably would have walked at some point.
As it was, I was able to hold my pace fairly consistently (although I didn't see any negative splits) and finish in a respectable time. I wasn't sure I'd be able to sprint any of the end, but in the last hundred meters I found a little reserve and forced myself to finish strong.
|Coming in to the finish!|
Besides the tired legs, the other mental battle was the route. While the race wound through a really beautiful park, the loop repeated three times, and the second time we passed it they had already set up for the finish, which meant we had to run right past it and keep on trucking.
(Because it was a loop, the first-place finisher lapped us on the route, which had never happened to me before. And yes, we heard them announce his finish as we got to mile 7 or so, and I was flabbergasted. Talk about speedy!)
I am beyond proud of myself for running both these races back-to-back. Regarding this particular one, I'm proud that I came in within my goal time (my A goal was 1:40 and my B was 1:50), kept a pace well under my long-run pace, and didn't give in to the urge to walk.
|I would have loved to hit 1:40, but I'm still pleased with my time. I placed 11th in my AG for both this weekend's races. Weird.|
|I pretty much collapsed on this bench as soon as I crossed the finish line. My legs were dead.|
After the race, we ate at Skillets...this may possibly be my new favorite restaurant, and I'm sure you can understand why.
|So many gluten free options! Kristin, who's also GF, especially loves the little label sticks that set our minds at ease!|
I'm grateful for a cut-back week this week...my long-run will be 9-10 miles this coming weekend, and then the next weekend...finally...I'll tackle my 20!