The first part of my review can be found here.
The race course was AMAZING for someone like me that loves to run FLAT courses! There was so much to look at along the race, I really didn’t need any music. This was the first race I ran by myself without an iPod and it was kinda refreshing. I’ve been doing a bunch of my training runs without music, so I was used to it. I started out running faster than expected, but that is normal for a race. So when I was in the 8′s for my pace, I didn’t get too excited. The only downfall of the race was some Garmin-drama… but what race isn’t complete without a little drama from the watch we all depend on so much?? (Well, I do!)
We went under a large highway tunnel (I think during the first mile) and everyone lost satellite reception on their GPS watches. The tunnel was dark and pretty long, so I took off my sunglasses. There was someone on a drum set and it was LOUD… too loud for me, especially when we had to run right past him. When I got out of the tunnel, I saw the satellite message on my Garmin, slightly freaked out and then knew my first mile would be off. It beeped at 8:08 soon after the tunnel. Then I realized it was about 0.14 mile off from the mile markers. It wasn’t a huge deal after that.
After I hit the first mile marker, I realized I was running just under a 9 min mile pace. I figured if I felt comfortable, I should just keep up my pace. After I hit the second mile marker right around 18 minutes, I tried to hit the third at 27. When I did, I made the decision to try to hit 9:00 minute miles at every mile marker. Since my Garmin was a little off, I tried to just use it for the pace and do my 9 times tables in my head when I hit the mile markers. I started getting really excited around mile 4 or 5 when I was still holding this and felt fantastic. This is not how I was running for my long training runs. I was struggling to hold 9:30s before! I do think doing some mid-week speed work on the treadmill helped me a lot… and wearing my walmart super-tight, old lady compression socks to bed all the time helped too!
Around mile 9 I looked behind me and saw the pacer holding the 2:00 finish sign and I started thinking. I picked it up just slightly to get a little more ahead of the pacer. I had a lot of time to think without music! This was also the first race where I read all the spectators signs and noticed everything around me. It was refreshing!
Around 9.5 miles, I started feeling the first signs of tired legs. I turned around and saw the 2:00 pacer group getting closer to me. My 10th mile was a little slower and I just couldn’t pick it up at that point. The pacer group passed me and I tried to not get upset. I knew I was still going to have my best race time, because my last half was a 2:07! I thought, maybe I’ll get a 2:02! That would be wayyyyyyyyyyyy better than anything I ever expected for this race!
Well, wouldn’t you know it but around mile 11 or 12 we got near the finish and it was an out and back. Just before that, I had stopped at a water station and gotten my 3rd cup of water. I only took water because I knew I wouldn’t be a fan of the Nuun and didn’t want to upset my stomach at all. The other two water stations (There were a ton but I skipped most of them) I just slowed down a bit for second while I gulped what I could. At the station near 11, I stopped to a fast walk and probably walked about 20 seconds and I finished the whole cup of water. Soon after that, I ran past a large group of spectators and heard Colby yell my name. I knew I could pick it up for the end, but didn’t want to fall apart too close to the end. When I had a mile left, I started looking at my Garmin and realized I was still really close to going under 2:00! I picked up the pace and started regretting that last water station.
The last stretch of the race was deceivingly long, but I just kept pushing and hoping I could keep that clock in the 1-hour range! I looked over to my left and past the standing spectators was Colby running! I motioned over to him 2 with my fingers to say under two hours!! He just pointed to the finish and I knew I had to pick it up!! He was really worried about not finding me at the finish line, so I knew he was just trying to keep track of me. I crossed the multiple mats and clicked my Garmin after the last one. It was 2 seconds longer than my official time of 1:59:56!!!!! I COULDN’T BELIVE IT!!! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could go under 2 hours for this race! I had even said to Colby before that I didn’t know if I could ever go under 2 hours. I was on cloud 9 and my stomach was great! I didn’t throw up at the finish line like my last race!! (full marathon last spring… throwing up Gatorade everywhere… nasty)
I picked up that blue Tiffanys box from all the guys at the end and was practically jumping for joy. Colby was still following me on the outside of the race area until the fence ended. There was lots of bananas, bagels, Luna bars, etc and we even got a big Tiffanys bag to put our stuff in! In the finishers area, there was a tent to buy even more finishers gear… so I got in line with Amy and Colby. Amy did 1:56!! She is so fast :)
I ended up getting a finishers sweatshirt and put on my necklace in line. We also got Tiffany blue finishers t shirts that were really cute.
They had areas where you could take your picture, so Amy and I had a short photo session. I think both of our eyes are closed in this picture, but hey! We were tired! There were also hair and makeup stands from the sponsor companies, but I was super salty and in need of a shower!
Silver finishers necklace at the top of my collage :) Overall, great race! Besides running my best time, it really rejuvenated my love for running. The course was FLAT, the weather was perfect, it was a BIG exciting race and super girly. I will most definitely enter to race again next year! Although I don’t have any plans for upcoming races yet, I think I will be focusing on shorter/faster runs this summer! In the past I’ve been so obsessed with mileage I think it will be a nice change to shorten things up and try to work on this speed that I might be gaining!
I also have BIG fitness news coming up soon!! I have a different kind of goal that I made a quick decision to go for last week. Can you guess what it is by looking at my Exercise Log?? :) :) :)