3:30pm was an odd time for a race, so I wasn't quite sure what to do about eating. I decided to have a sandwich for breakfast and a bagel for lunch. I made sure to hydrate throughout the day and yesterday as well. The weather forecast was calling for a real-feel of 55, which is actually on the warmer side for me. I couldn't believe I was worried about a Dec. 31 race being too hot.
I wore my Pacers singlet and my red running skirt. It actually ended up being somewhat overcast and about 52 degrees, which was actually really nice. On Dec. 31, I could have been facing high winds, rain, really cold temperatures, but I think I lucked out.
My husband Greg and I got to the race, got our bibs and D-Tags, and did a 1.5-mile warmup on the course. I noticed that it was rolling hills, so I decided to use my tried and true strategy of even effort: faster on the downhills and conservative on the uphills.
The first mile was way too fast at 7:15. But the first quarter mile was all downhill. So the downhill combined with the adrenaline of a race start made for a fast start. However, I knew I'd be running that quarter mile uphill at the end, so I was glad I banked the time. For most of the first two miles, I was leap-frogging with one woman who was running a steady pace, but I eventually passed her for good.
Mile 1: 7:15
Mile 2: 7:33
There was a woman next to me who commented that we were doing a lot of downhill running, which worried her for the way back. I thought that it was about even with the ups and downs, and the only hill I was really dreading on the way back was that final one. At the water station, I took water and poured it all over my head. I was on the verge of getting too warm, so I figured the water would prevent that. Another interesting thing about this race was that it got cooler as the race progressed. Normally it's the other way around, but this time the sun was setting, and I actually did cool down during the last three miles.
Mile 3: 7:34
Mile 4: 7:23
Mile 5: 7:28
Mile 6: 7:28
I actually got a boost during mile 5 when I was running just behind a guy who smelled really bad. We were running at the same pace, and I didn't want to speed up, but it finally got so bad that I sped up to pass him and get a good distance ahead of him. If it hadn't been for that, I might have run a 7:32 mile 5.
The quarter mile downhill that started the race made that last 0.2 really a killer. I stayed strong up the hill, and then there was a nice downhill for the last 0.05. I looked at my watch at the top of the hill and it was 45:55, and I told myself that I had better come in within the 46's! I was targeting a 46:30, but would have been happy with anything in the 46's.
Last 0.26 (according to Garmin): 7:26
My official time was 46:34 and I placed 4th out of 46 in my age group. There were some really fast runners there who I was eying at the start line. Simply based on what these girls looked like, I knew my chance of an AG award was slim. I placed 20 out of 225 women, which was nice-- but I am usually in a higher percentile.
Greg and I did a cooldown and then went home. He ran a two-minute PR of 44:51. He just keeps getting faster! Tonight we are going to celebrate all the wonderful things that happened in 2010 with a nice meal, Rock Band, strawberries in chocolate fondue, and of course champagne.
This was the best year of my life: I got married to the man of my dreams, we bought a beautiful home together, and I set major PRs at every distance except the marathon. Greg and I have so much to be thankful for. I'll miss all the excitement of 2010, but I know there are many things ahead of us.
Happy New Year.