Yep, I quit doing the week in review posts. I promise I'll start them up again, but I've been insanely busy. SO MUCH TO DO before Christmas!! Thank God, I have next week off from work to get some stuff done (including finally figuring out my ironman training plan!). I've still had time to keep up with training decently well, just not enough time to blog about it. And, well, if I have to sacrifice one in the interest of time, it should be the blogging. :)
Anyway, on to the race....
First of all, I highly recommend this race. It was only $25, and that included a long-sleeve tech shirt (that is adorable and obnoxiously green) AND a pancake breakfast after the run! Pancakes, bacon, sausage, ham, coffee....awesome. It was small, 83 people total, and it was far enough away from the city to have a friendly, small-town feel to it. It reminded me a lot of the Fall Freedom Dual - other runners and staff were all happy, friendly, and supportive.
It was COLD. Not really cold for a Cincinnati winter, but the coldest it's been all year thus far, and I'm not used to it. At. All. The forecast had called for low 20's, which in my head didn't sound cold. I was wearing tights, a mockneck, a lightweight long-sleeve shirt, gloves, and my new moving comfort hat that I am totally stoked about because it has a ponytail hole!!! Usually, hats mean I'm forced to wear my hair in pigtails because I can't STAND having hair against my neck when I run. This way, I had my hair off my neck and out of my way and I was pretty happy about that.
Anyway.....so with that getup, in the low 20's ("feels like 18" said the weather channel's website), I was FREEZING. I went to the registration tent to get my shirt and number and I realized that my booty was shaking hardcore, involuntarily. Yep, I had butt shivers. The shirts were GIANT and they gave me an xs even though I signed up for a small. That is insane. I'm not a large woman by any means but I'm a solid medium in normal clothes. I felt bad for the girls out there who were built like tiny little runners!
Thank God we were allowed to wait inside. I found some people to chat with, the sun was shining, and as long as I could warm up during the race, I felt pretty good. They didn't have a timing mat at the beginning but I didn't care so much; with the small crowd it didn't make a difference.
I started off too fast. I had turned off the pace indicator on my Garmin so I didn't get all OCD about it, but in retrospect, it probably would have been a good idea to have it. Let me clarify something: I don't get swept up in the crowd. I'm not competitive - I'm really not. I don't care if people pass me. I'm happiest in a race when I'm running pretty much solo. BUT having people ahead of me and behind me and around me really throws off my sense of how fast or not fast I'm going. I thought I was going pretty slow and easy, and when my Garmin chirped it said 9:05. Crap.
That is a tie (along with Warrior Dash 5k) for the fastest mile I've ever ran in a race.
So I tried to slow down, although it was really fun seeing the miles fly by and seeing that the time was way lower than I anticipated it would be. I talked to an older guy and told him I wanted a sub-60. He said I was well on my way to a 55-57 and not to let an old guy beat me. I told him old guys beat me all the time. When he started to pull ahead, I held myself back. I was having trouble getting words out anyway. The next mile was a little slower.
Then....wall. Yucky no fun race time. I was not happy when I was seeing 9:50-something splits, but I was doing about all I could. There were some ice spots, but some nice volunteers pointing them out. For a while, I was totally solo on a bike path, no people in sight, and that was when I was at my happiest. Maybe I really am a lone ranger runner at heart.
We had to go out and back on the bike path. A guy in a reindeer costume was one of the fastest people and that made me smile. I saw the older guy pretty soon before I had to turn around and he told me I was still on pace.
I hit 5 miles. Even though I had only had distance and time on the Garmin, I was still calculating like mad how much time I had and how fast I had to run and how much time to allow for going a little longer than 6.2 - starting at mile 2, the course markers had been .3 miles or so off. I had hit mile 2 at a hair shy of 19 (according to the guy with the stopwatch) so I was still good with that, but I knew I was slowing down with each one.
So at 5 miles, I knew I had to pretty much give it all I had if I wanted that sub-60. I had no chance to relax. There was a woman ahead of me who I'd slowly been catching up to; I used her as motivation and passed her and tried to put as much distance between us as I could, just to give myself more reason to speed up. I saw the people in front of me zigzagging back to the finish line and they were above me. Crap, there's a hill. I did NOT want a hill of any sort, but it really wasn't bad.
Nobody ahead of me. Nobody behind me. Just me. I hit mile 6 at 57 something on my Garmin, but not quite at the mile marker. I stopped my ipod ("Demon Speeding" - my final kick song) so I could hear the girl at the mile marker reading off my time as I passed her. 58 even. I went all out. I thought I might puke. The guy from earlier had finished and was jogging back. He told me I did it as he ran toward the finish line with me. The clock said 59:40-something. And the timing mat.....where was the mat???? I yelled it out loud. I kept flying by the clock and kept running until a volunteer stopped me and asked for my chip (attached to the bib.) I took it off, doubled over, spitting and drooling and nose running everywhere and tried to ask him where the chip timing stopped. Obviously I made no sense, since the guy answered, "Umm...water's over there." I took a deep breath and tried again, and he told me the sensors were mounted right by the clock. I MADE IT!!! I had to have come in under 60!
I also realized after a minute that my face was FREEZING. That was why I was having so much trouble talking. My jaw felt almost anchored in place.
They gave out awards at the pancake breakfast. I found out my official time - 59:50 - because I freaking came in first in my age group! That was a nice surprise. I got a medal that not everyone else got. :)
So all in all, the race went awesome. However.....I'm really wondering why my training run 1 week prior was a hair faster and felt way easier. This was WAY harder, effort-wise. But...this tends to happen to me during shorter races. Who knows?
Time: 59:50 (9:39 pace)
1/5 age group (F 30-34)