If I had a dollar for every time I said that I shouldn’t underestimate myself, I’d be able to afford a few more race entries.
I haven’t been this nervous before a race for quite a while, probably since San Francisco last June.
The day started with a good night’s sleep. I woke up on my own before my alarm feeling fully rested.
We made our way down to the start a little early to pick up the bibs and shirts. I have to give a shout out to Carolina Ale House. While it’s no where near being my favorite restaurant downtown, they did an absolutely fantastic job as an “expo” location. A big bonus? Letting us use their real bathrooms.
After watching the “warm up,” I made a second bathroom run before heading out to wait for the race start.
At the start, I kept reminding myself of my 8 min pace goal. Hold that pace through the whole race and that sub 50 will be mine.
Then we were off!
As is usually the case, the start was congested. I’d gotten as close to the front as I dared and that paid off. By the time we turned off Main, I’d gotten around the worst of the congestion.
My pace hovered around 7:30. I knew that was much faster than what I’d planned or thought I could do. Instead of freaking out I decided to hold onto that pace (and no faster) as long as I could. I felt good and by the end of the first mile had gotten into a good rhythm.
This course is beautiful. I’m sorry that I stayed away for two years. (The last time I ran it was in 2011.)
The first half had all the downhills. I tried to bank time on the downhills without increasing my speed too much. I knew that there were a couple hills in the second half and I wanted to save a little bit for them so I didn’t end up crashing and burning.
The weather was amazing, just chilly enough. I almost left my gloves in the car but am glad I kept them for after the race. I did end up taking them off around the turnaround point in the park.
It was also at this point that I encountered a runner either singing along to his music or giving himself a pep talk mid-run. He kept randomly shouting things out. I had to laugh when we went over the mini bridge at the turn-around when he started shouting “Up! Up! Up!”
Things got harder just before mile 4. I knew I’d chosen a pace that was slightly out of my comfort zone but with so little distance left in the race, I couldn’t back of then.
I also caught a glimpse of my mom and couldn’t believe how well she was doing, only a half mile or so behind me!
From running with the downtown group I knew that a couple small inclines waited just before mile 5. My pace slowed a little but I knew better than to push it with over a mile left to go.
After these slight inclines, I recovered my pace and kept pushing. It was harder to maintain my pace at this point in the race but I knew I was almost done.
Then, the hill. I’d forgotten about the McBee hill. The GHS half conveniently finishes heading the opposite way. Heading up this hill with less than a half mile to go at “gutting-it-out” pace is killer.
Then we turned onto Main, less than two tenths to go. I glanced at my watch and knew that a sub 50 was in the bag. I considered coasting to the finish. No way. I could rest when I was done.
I’m not sure how much of a sprint I had left but I poured everything I had into those last two tenths.
I’m still in shock. I didn’t know I had that in me.
So, one PR down, four to go!
I barely had enough time to circle around to get pictures of Mom. She’s incredible!
So what’s next after blowing myself away? Not quite sure. Stay tuned. 🙂