I had to register at the Finish Area which was about 12 miles from the Start. Race was supposed to start at 9 am “near” a resort. Sid dropped me and Jess at the start (after we found it) and we stood around waiting on the bus, which was late. I was ok because I got to find two different bathrooms in that time period and no longer had anything urgent to do. This tiny crowd of racers finally took off 20 minutes after 9 am.
The first two miles were steeply downhill. I believe I clocked a 6:57 and then a 6:40 for 1 and 2. At some point I feared my feet were going to slip out from under me, but I think my legs were just shocked to be running that fast! Even though this course was billed as a fast, net-downhill course, net-down does not preclude some ups along the way. We did meander thought some rolling terrain for a little bit. I recall thinking at least twice, maybe three times: “Was this the ONE hill they mention would be on the course?” By mile 9, I was pretty sure that I found it as we traveled up a long steep up that kicked my butt! I need more hill work.
Once over that final hill, we headed down towards the finish which we passed on our way to the 7 mile out and back stretch along the river. As the half-ers, who saw the turn around, peeled off, I was very happy to see two men ahead of me, moving about the same pace as me. A solo 14 mile run would be rough after a hard 12 mile effort. I was hoping to be able to focus on someone else other than how I felt.
Just before the half, a guy ahead waved me up to him. I am sure he was feeling that company would be nice. Just like last time someone called me up to them, I responded by saying it was too early for me and that he should just keep it up. I was in a comfortable but challenging pace, something I could imagine holding for a long time. By trying to run someone else’s pace, I feared that I would be setting myself up to explode later.
I hit the half mat at 1:38:00 exactly. If I could hold that, I’d have a 3:16. I had high hopes of something close to that since I tried to convince myself felt that the grade of this OUT was a teeny bit uphill and that is why I felt tired. :) The river was running down while we ran against it, so I hoped that the way back would feel better.
I spent a large part of the "out"trying to calculate when the "back"would start. I knew we passed the bridge where I ditched my T-shirt at 11.5-ish miles. I was not sure how much further the finish was once we got to head over that bridge, but I did see a 25 mile mark on the other side of the road a minute or two after the 11.5. At the starting line, that RD said he thought the turn-around was at the “two cones around 17 miles”... then he asked if anyone needed him to bring their clothes back to finish area. Small races rock!
17 miles was not correct, but I was so tired that I just couldn’t do the math. This was important because several half marathoners missed their turn around mark. At least, they had some comfort in numbers. There was a good chance I would be solo at my turn around. I really didn't want to blow past some cones and still have 7-8 miles to go after correcting for a mistake.
After I convinced myself that I would not see the turn around until after 18 miles, I realized I was making up some ground on the two guys ahead of me. By mile 17 a guy in black who was really moving well flew past us. His energy was contagious and I passed the two guys in front of me. I could not move as quickly as the guy in black, so I settled on just pulling away from those behind me.
I was pleased to see Jess in the lead and on her way back. I was hoping that I might be second, but before the turn around I saw #2 female moving well and already on her way back. Maybe I would see her on the way in and feel motivated?
Unfortunately, from the turn around all the way to the finish, I ran alone. Spectators consisted of one creepy guy seeming to pretend to mend his fence as he stood in the bushes less than a foot from the shoulder holding some pliers. I saw him there on the out and the back and the fence seemed fine to me. Three people were standing outside of a corner store, or maybe they were loiterers? They didn’t cheer or seem interested.
I spent the balance of the run trying to not step on road-kill, or in the alternative, trying to not become road-kill as the speeders hauled up and down the road. That kept me busy through 22 miles and by that point I was dying of thirst. The temps went from 42-65 during the 3 hours I was out there. I was struggling now with 2 to go. Some Gatorade would have been nice, but there was just water the entire way. I had 2 gels that I already took en-route. I was feeling the legs get heavy, my pace had slowed to 7:50 and I was just hoping to see some sign that I was getting close to being done.
Finally there was that mile 25 mark again! I was at 3:10. I knew I needed to be there by 3:05 to have a shot at a new PR. It seemed like I ran forever after mile 25 before I saw the bridge to turn towards the finish. I turned and saw mile 26 on the ground and three people waiving me on. I could see the park and the shoot and realized that if I picked it up I could break 3:20.
Official time: 3:19:14
3rd place Female out of 8 women :)
5th place overall… out of 16 total! LOL!!
Small races are the best!