Well, it turns out my fears about this race were totally unfounded. My body is still in good shape despite my cut back in running the last few weeks, and my lungs didn’t rebel (much)!
I woke up this morning feeling kind of sluggish and not into the whole idea of racing today. I hit the snooze button a few times before finally getting up. I debated for a few minutes whether I should stick with my planned long-sleeved tech shirt, or go for the short sleeves, since the high today is going to be 70 degrees. I took Milhouse out for a short walk and decided to stick with long sleeves, figuring I could always push them up if I got hot. I ate some blueberry toast with almond butter, and we were on the way!
We arrived about 15 minutes before the start. T decided to take a fake action running shot of me beforehand:
Lovely. As you can see, the scenery was, well, scenic. The whole race had a lot of very pretty fall foliage. Also of note: I bought a 2-pack of cheap gloves at Target for $1.50 since my hands froze in my last race. I wore one pair. They were nice for the first half of the race, but were a bit hot and itchy towards the end. They’d be great in slightly cooler temps, I think. Also (TMI alert), they were lovely for wiping snot off my face and stray pieces of spit.
Anyway, they sung the National Anthem. And then resumed playing Eric Clapton music? An odd choice. And, we were off.
Mile 0-1 involved a lot of jockeying for position. I started mid-pack, and of course I had to dodge 5K walkers who don’t quite get the concept of “runners in front.” I picked two guys that I wanted to follow–they looked like they were keeping a pace similar to mine, and they were both wearing KC Marathon Finisher shirts. I kept with them for the first half of the race, and then kept them in my line of sight for the rest, although they were ahead of me. I hit the first mile marker at almost exactly 10:00, which is what I was shooting for. I also saw the people who were clearly going to win the 5K, and dang, they were fast. I know a lot of people hate out-and-back courses, but I like them because I like cheering for the leaders (especially the lead women) and getting cheered for by the walkers on the back.
Mile 1-2 was mostly downhill, with a slight hill near the end. I have to say, I was expecting a hilly course but this wasn’t bad at all. The inclines were gentle and long rather than short and steep like in my neighborhood. I spent a lot of this mile amused by a couple pushing a double baby jogger with an angry baby in it that kept throwing its blanket out of the stroller. Eventually the kid successfully got rid of it and the parents didn’t notice, so, hope he wasn’t too attached to it. We split from the 5K crowd at the mile and a half mark and I had a quick sip of water at the water station. I hit the mile 2 marker around 19:45, meaning I’d picked my pace up nicely.
Mile 2-3 was probably the hardest part of the race for me, because I kept thinking that I saw the 8K turnaround just ahead…but it wasn’t quite there. Finally, I hit the turnaround and got a little more water. I don’t really remember much of this mile, other than just saying, “You do NOT need to walk.” repeatedly. And I didn’t. I think I clocked in at mile 3 again just short of running 10:00 miles–maybe 29:45 or so.
Mile 3-4 I remember being somewhat uphill and very twisty–lots of curves. It was here, I think, that we started to catch up to the people who were walking the 5K. I remember having to do a lot of maneuvering to pass groups of children, people with strollers, groups walking 4 and 5 across. It was annoying. I also recall seeing a “mile 2” sign, which I assume was for the 5K people, but I freaked a little nonetheless.
Mile 4-5 I pushed hard. I really, really didn’t think I’d be able to hit my initial goal of running the race in under 50 minutes because of the lung problems I’d been having, but when I finished Mile 4 at about 39:50 I knew I could do it if I just kept up the same steady pace I’d been running. I picked it up, especially after seeing the half mile sign, and once I saw the finish line I literally sprinted. In fact, I started sprinting so soon that about 50 yards from the finish line I almost had to stop because I didn’t think I had it in me. But I did!
My final chip time was (drumroll please) 49:38! I beat my goal without even thinking about it for the first few miles.
Unfortunately, I told T that I’d probably be finishing at about 51:00-55:00, so he wasn’t ready with the camera when I finished. Instead, he got this highly flattering shot of me about 20 seconds after finishing:
Oh, T. One day I will get a photo of me actually crossing the finish line in a race. I swear.
After a brief investigation to find out my chip time, we hit up First Watch to refuel post-race. I had an omelet with potatoes and an English muffin, two cups of coffee and a whole lot of water. Well worth it! If nothing else, here are before and after shots of my food:
Mmm. According to my Polar, I burned 756 calories during the race, with a maximum heart rate of 202, so obviously I needed to refuel accordingly. (It’s now maybe 1.5 hours after lunch and I’m already feeling my tummy rumble again. I think a snack is in order soon!)
Anyway, even though I may have had kind of a shite attitude going into this race, I’m super proud of how I did. I feel 100% confident that I’m going to be fine for my half marathon in April, and pretty soon I’m going to try to get together some winter/spring races to prep. I’d like to do at least one 10K before the half, so hopefully I’ll be able to find one that works.
Thanks to all you guys for your support! I thought of you when the going got tough!