Wow. I had no idea what to expect going into this race. Well, I knew a little but what I knew made it difficult to create a race plan.
I ran the first 5 miles of the course 3 weeks ago in that group run and did not have fun on that uphill. As I described, my mind was in a bad place on the uphill and I seriously considered dropping down to the 5k. By the time I turned around I knew I had to do the race and not just run, conquer it.
Then, in the 3 weeks since the race, my runs have become faster. I didn’t know how my body would respond to the mountain with my new-found speed.
I arrived half an hour early and pulled into the parking lot by the start but didn’t see anyone. After driving around a little I made my way to Timmons Arena (the 5k start) hoping to see some people. I had success. Turns out that the packet pick up (and the finish of the race) was at Timmons Arena but the 20k start was on the opposite side of campus. I definitely got a good warm up. 😀
A couple minutes after I arrived at the start line we were off.
Miles 1-3.25: I fell into a comfortable pace very quickly and was able to keep it up even after we started going up the mountain. It was a little on the slow side but that’s to be expected. I kept plodding away on the incline and even picked off several people as I just kept going.
I couldn’t believe how comparatively easy this felt. (It didn’t feel easy at all but easier than the group run.) I was thankful for the group run and knowing when I would reach the summit and have a little relief.
Miles 3.25-7.5: These miles felt wonderful. I felt strong and I absolutely fell in love with the course. The views were beautiful too. I knew that something “interesting” was coming up in miles 8 and 9 because I overheard someone mention that on the walk over.
Miles 7.5-10: That something “interesting” was a street called “Dreamland”. Seriously. That was the name of the street. This street consisted of several short but comparatively steep declines and inclines. They just kept coming. I felt a little prepared but couldn’t wait to turn off this street. The water station right at mile 10 was timed perfectly. I took the water and walked while I ate 4 chomps. (much harder to do when they’re chilled.)
Miles 10-12.4 I’d glanced at my Garmin so I knew my pace was much faster than I had even dreamed. (My goals in order were finish, 3 hours, 2:30, 2:15) There were a few unexpected hills in this portion but I got really excited when we turned onto Old Buncombe because I knew that Duncan Chapel Road was down hill. Turns out I forgot that after the steep downhill it’s reversed a couple tenths before the turn off onto Furman. That was just cruel.
Take a look at that finish time. I am so thrilled by it! I’m also already planning to run this race again next year and I want that sub 2 hours. 😀
I don’t know where I’m going to put it but there’s no way I’m getting rid of this. 😀
Next up? Hilton Head Jingle Jingle 5k in 2 weeks. I’m going for a PR. (eek!)