Saturday came bright and early…and chilly. It was perfect running weather, but that nip in the air wasn’t quite as welcome standing around. I went back and forth between wearing a tank top and a short-sleeved shirt and came down on the tank top. My mom and her neighbor showed up shortly before 6, and we were on our way.
We nabbed a sweet parking spot, which meant we didn’t have to wait in the interminable gear check line to ditch our jackets. So we did our pre-race business where I ran into two of my husband’s co-workers.
Downtown was beautiful, even if we were a little chilly. I had a feeling it was going to be a great race. My mom and I discussed our plan. We wanted to have fun and take pictures…but we also lined up in front of the 2:15 pacer with the goal of keeping him behind us.
At the start with the Pinnacle building on the left and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on the right. Jo Dee Messina did a bang-up job singing the National Anthem, and we were off. It was a true wave start, and we were in the 3rd corral, so we scooted up to the start line and were given the go ahead. The first mile was slow because we were weaving in and out of people and trying not to trip on the potholes along 2nd Ave. 10:15 pace at the 1st mile marker.
I remarked that I had actually looked up what a sub-2:10 pace would be the morning of the race, you know, just for fun. In case you’re curious, it’s a 9:56 pace. 2nd mile – 9:19 pace. Hmm, how did that happen? We should probably slow down a touch. We headed into and out of Centennial Park and up and over some not-so-nice hills with our pace holding steady around 9:50. Most of the aid stations had people dressed up and cheering, and the bands were great. The men in the group I occasionally run with had planned their Saturday run so that they intersected with the race and cheered us on.
We hit the out-and-back portion of the course just in time to see the first runner heading back downtown. I knew I would start feeling better after five miles, and I was right on. I hit my stride and felt awesome up and down Belmont Blvd. It was also motivating to see everyone else. I took a Gu close to the turnaround. Miles 6-7 got a little speedy under 9:40. Once I hit mile 8, I felt confident that I wouldn’t die. My mom kept telling me to go ahead, that she didn’t want to keep me from my PR, but I would pull ahead for a little while and she’d catch up again.
We ran together up Music Row to the statue at Musica, and I was feeling pretty good so I pushed the pace a bit back into downtown. Mile 9 – 9:30. Mile 10 – 9:33. We ran down Broadway, and I remarked to a woman I was running with that I could really use a beer. Then we hit the big hill up 2nd Ave to the bridge over the river. I stopped to walk through the aid station and then picked it up again.
Miles 12-13 were a mental battle. We were so close to the finish line downtown but had to cross the river and go around LP Field before finishing. I had spent the whole race dreading the Korean Vets bridge back into downtown. When I hit mile 12, my mom told me to go again, but I could hardly feel my legs. We got to the bridge, and, like everyone else around me, I started to walk. My mom pulled up beside me and coached me into starting to run again. Little steps up and over the bridge. Somehow, mile 13 was the fastest mile of the race at 9:10.
Right now is when I start thinking, “Where the EFF is the finish line?” Finally, we turned a corner, and there it was so I tried to kick it in. Garmin time (and what ended up being official chip time):
Pretty solid PR for a race I was not planning to PR.
Joe was at the finish to take a bunch of pictures of me and my shiny medal.
Despite the hills, I really like this race. It’s got a good energy and is well-organized. It’s the perfect size to where there is crowd support, and you’re never alone. The volunteers were super enthusiastic, dressing up in costumes and dancing and cheering for all the runners. I was very happy with how it went, but I was ready to get to breakfast.
Happy running and racing, fellow WHM runners! It’s been a pleasure being your official blogger. Keep reading for my next running adventures.