I did it! I finished the race, and with a pretty good time. My goal was under 45:00. My clock time was 42:something, and according to my HRM (which I started right when I crossed the mat), I clocked in at about 41:00. (I looked at it a few moments after I stopped and found T it was at 41:36.) They haven’t posted the results online, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it will be.
I slept terribly last night. Sometimes our cat Buckley gets in a mood where he just likes to mess with stuff to wake us up. He spent 4-6 a.m. batting at the bedroom window blinds, which was horribly annoying. I accidentally hit snooze one time too many, so we were in a rush, but I’m kind of glad I didn’t have too much time to dwell on things. Pre-race, I had my breakfast of choice–milk and whey protein powder over Kashi GoLean cereal.
We headed to the zoo and I made it to the starting line about 15 minutes before the race was about to start. T took a few pre-race photos (thanks, dear!):
I tried to line up somewhere in the middle of the pack.
Me ready to go:
And we were off! It took me about a minute and a half to get to the mat, I think. There were a lot more runners than I expected, but I felt a LOT better after seeing that there were lots of kids, families, older people, and teenagers doing the race. I would have been even MORE scared if it was all super serious runners. Honestly, lining up I teared up a little bit because I was so nervous. (This is just how I respond to stress–I was fine, just excited!)
Mile 1 was pretty good. I was running on adrenaline, but I had serious cotton mouth. When I’m nervous, that (and gas–gross, I know) are the physical symptoms. After about half a mile, it went away, but it was seriously unpleasant. The first mile wasn’t very scenic–we were basically on an access road outside the zoo. Nice, but not very interesting. The course looped back on itself and I was so excited to see the leaders–a man and a woman, sprinting side by side. They looked ridiculously fast, but it was totally motivating.
Mile 2…well, I’m not really sure where it started. I totally missed the one-mile marker (and later heard that there either wasn’t one or it was really off) and was a little worried when it was 15 minutes in and it hadn’t seen anything. I hit up the first aid station and got water, which ended the cotton mouth and felt great. This was a fun part–we were running through the “Africa” part of the zoo and I saw giraffes and elephants, among other things. Pretty cool. See?
Mile 3 was the hardest. I passed the mile marker for it at about 19:30, so I knew I was pacing slightly faster than I wanted to (I was aiming for 10 minute miles). I figured I would slow down at the end some, so I was okay with it. This was probably the hardest part of the race for me–most of the course was flat, but there were some hills here, and it was very wind-y. We ran through the Asia and Australia parts of the zoo and I saw tigers, various birds (including an emu!) I also hit the second aid station and chugged what I thought was going to be water, only to find out it was some kind of blue Powerade (GROSS). Not the taste I want in my mouth while running. I took a few short walk breaks in this mile, probably totaling about 2-3 minutes walking total for the race. Also, I have to say, barnyard animal smells aren’t really appealing while running. Still, the scenery was nice. Sheep, in Australia:
Mile 4 was tough, but fun. I ran the entire last mile, just telling myself that I was almost there. Unfortunately, I was accosted by another cup of blue Powerade. That stuff is really foul. When I could see the finish line in the distance, I SPRINTED. I seriously must have passed 5-10 people in my last 30 seconds. I had been saving a little for that, and I put it all out there.
T tried to photograph my finish, but he wasn’t quite fast enough with the camera. So, let it be known–I finished just ahead of this guy. He looks pretty speedy, so I’m happy with that:
Here’s my immediate post-race victory photo:
The shoes worked really well. My feet were complaining a little bit, but really it wasn’t bad compared to my other shoes. I would have been miserable in my Asics, so the Sauconys get a thumbs up. The running skirt was less successful and a bit chafe-y, so I think I’ll go back to capris for my next race. According to my heart rate monitor, my average heart rate was 191! and my max was 202. Crazy! I burned 596 calories in about 41 minutes.
After the race, I pounded a bottle of water and a mini cupcake and we walked around the zoo for about two hours, taking pictures for my recap. We got totally lost trying to find our car and wandered around for probably half an hour to try to find it. I’m absolutely pooped and need a shower badly, but I think I’ve got the racing bug! I’m thinking about registering for an 8K the first weekend in November–if I can do 4 miles without really training for it, I think I should be able to do 5 with a month’s notice. Anyway, thanks for all the support and kind words–I was DEFINITELY thinking about it when the running got hard today!