|Staying warm by the bonfire after the race|
Kendra was super sweet and offered to drive. I showed up at her house ON TIME (go me!) at 5:30am. Her friend Adam joined us for the car ride down and the race (how I didn't know Adam before today, I do not know - according to Facebook we have close to 30 mutual friends). As we all expected with a small race (about 200 participants), everything was very low-key and everyone was super friendly. The bonfire near the start line was a bonus - great way to keep warm after shedding your layers as you wait for the start. Because the trail was relatively narrow, they started us off in waves - elites would go first, and then they sent off another group every two minutes. I went 10 minutes after the first wave. I made the dumb mistake of deciding to switch out my laces on my shoes (was wearing my old Kinvaras because I didn't want to get my new pink shoes dirty. Vanity) just a few minutes before the start. Disaster. Couldn't get the lock laces out, ended up trying to put my shoes back together with the original lock laces (now half undone, all tangled, and definitely not in any position to be relaced up. Sigh). I made it to the start with about two minutes to spare.
The race start was uneventful. I ended up at the front of the 30-39 AG wave within the first two minutes and I was hoping someone would creep up and keep me company, but no dice. The race was a simple out-and-back on the trail from the 0.0 mile marker to the turnaround point at the 6.5 mile marker. The trail wasn't very technical, just some gravelly sections which had loose footing. It wasn't very muddy and there were sections both going out and coming back that were false flats. After about 10 minutes, I caught up to the girls in the wave ahead of me, and then caught up to some more people that were in earlier waves. I felt like I was running a comfortable pace (wasn't wearing a HR monitor because I just didn't want to). My first mile was the slowest and then I picked up the pace and kept things relatively consistent for the rest of the miles. I saw Kendra and Adam as they were looping back and I still had about a mile to go to the turnaround point, they both looked strong. I felt super happy to be out running, my legs felt good and my mind was in a positive place. I wasn't out there trying to set any records, I just wanted to run a smart race and I'd be very pleased if my last few miles were my fastest ones (this ended up happening). Before I knew it, I reached the turnaround point and headed back. Everyone was so friendly out on the course and it was so nice to exchange hellos and waves with the other competitors. I didn't hit a low point until about miles 8-10 in the race. At that point, I was mostly alone and I couldn't really see anyone ahead of me to try to catch. My legs were starting to feel fatigued and I was breathing a bit heavier. I definitely didn't go to any dark places during this race - things were mainly rainbows and unicorns, but during miles 8-10 the unicorns looked a little more like regular horses and there was no pot of lucky charms at the end of the rainbow. I snapped out of it by mile 10, started to see some other runners come into view ahead of me, hit a long section with a slight downhill (the false flat on the way out was good for something!) and my pace fell accordingly, letting my last 3 miles be my fastest ones. I will say that the last mile seemed to go on FOREVER and it felt really good to stop running once I hit the finish line.
|Post-race with Leslie and Kendra|