When I woke up Saturday morning I was not feeling this run. I’d had a restless sleep and it was snowing (days later it’s still snowing). But I choked down a bowl of oatmeal, gathered up my gear and headed out (and I remembered my Garmin!). I dropped off the husband, dropped off the dog and got to the race start with 15 minutes to spare. This is the first time ever that I’ve started a race without some kind of family/friend support and it was a bit lonely waiting around by myself. (Because I was by myself there are also no pictures – I couldn’t be bothered to run with my cell phone let alone a camera and Jon wasn’t there to play photographer.)
I huddled with the rest of the runners inside the mall to keep out of the snow until we were herded outside into the smallest starting area ever and then we were off! The start was a bit congested (and slippery) but soon people started to spread out and I was able to get my running groove on.
I’ve run the route many times over the past year (just in the opposite direction) so I knew what to expect and the first 3 miles just flew by (9:07, 8:47, 8:47). The route wasn’t as icy as I had been expecting (given that we’ve got more snow than we did in January) but there was a nasty wind and blowing snow. On the way out the wind was at our back but I knew that after the turn around I’d have a bit of a struggle. Miles 4-6 were ok, even after we got off the paved trail and only an icy gravel road (8:47, 8:37, 8:31).
I tip-toed my way around the cone at the turn around so I didn’t wipe out on the ice and headed into the wind for the final 6.5 miles. I hate running in the wind, it’s a huge mental struggle for me, and I can’t ever make up my mind if I prefer it at my back on the way out or the way in. I cursed the wind the whole way back, but knowing I was in the last half of the race meant I pushed a little harder than I would have if the headwind had been on the way out.
I was still feeling pretty good for miles 7, 8 and 9 (8:33, 8:29, 8:31) but by mile 10 (8:25) I started to lose my enthusiasm for having to run so far on such a horrible day. I hadn’t set a goal time for this run other than it being less than 2 hours, but since I’d been running the last few miles at around 8:30 I decided to see if I could keep that up for the rest of the race. I reminded myself that I would have been out running even with out the race and worked on just getting it over with. I’m an obsessive pace checker but I tried not to stare at my Garmin the whole time for the last 3 miles (8:30, 8:25; 8:07).
I was so excited when I crossed the bridge and knew I was in the last hundred meters of the run. Jonny had made it to the finish but I wasn’t expecting him and I didn’t hear or see him cheering me on. He had to chase me down after the finish because I was so focused on getting myself a chocolate milk (best beverage to have handed to you at a finish line ever!) and back to my warm car that I didn’t even stop to look around. It felt so good to get in the car and strip off all the sweaty, soggy layers of jacket and merino wool!
Despite the weather and the trail conditions, I was happy with my race. Official times don’t seem to be up yet but my Garmin is telling me a total time of 1:52:18 and an average pace of 8:34 /mile. That pace is nearly 30 seconds faster per mile than my goal marathon pace which means I must be doing something right with my training!
**** Results came in at 1:52:13 which is a 45 second PR !! **********