Okay, it was actually only 6:56 (official). Short version: My Garmin time was 53:07 (which matched the official time exactly, for a change!). Last year I ran the exact same course in 1:00:03.
I hadn’t planned on doing this race, but after realizing that I had 5 miles scheduled for today and that it was only $18 for active duty military, I figured I’d do it. Plus, I needed to make up for my TERRIBLE time last year.
Last night, I had a minor WTF moments when I realized I’d gained 7 pounds since Saturday morning. I knew it was just water weight (mostly) but was not happy having to run with that extra poundage.
This morning, I got semi-lost on the way to the race (which was about 30 miles from where I live), despite that I’d been there before, I had printed directions, and I have a Garmin. The way this race is set up is that everyone parks along with long road and then you need to walk to wherever you are in the line to the entry point, and then it’s still about a 10-minute walk to the check-in, and then another several minutes to get to the start line. Since I knew I was later than i wanted to be, I took my Garmin, water bottle, and iPod with me when I left my car to check-in, but for some reason I decided I wouldn’t eat any sports beans until I got back (and also opted not to take them with me–my only caloric intake for the morning).
By the time I checked in and got my chip and shirt, I realized it was not feasible to get back to my car and back before the race start. Oh well; I’d run farther on an empty stomach before, but I try to eat *some*thing before races. I just carried by race shirt with me.
My plan from the beginning was to run for 4 minutes, then walk a minute, then repeat. I was actually still in line for a port-o-potty when the race started, but I didn’t really mind since it was chip-timed. I crossed the start line a few minutes later with a both of other stragglers. This actually proved to be a good idea because I HATE crowded start lines where everyone’s practically tripping on each other. I was able to run my own pace from the beginning.
The first mile or so had a lot of uphill parts, but it was at the beginning so I didn’t mind. I saw scottydog off to the side taking pictures at one point (as he normally does!) and said hi, but didn’t slow down because I’d just started to get into the running groove (and I had to make up for last year!…And did I mention he beat me by 10 seconds last year?). I hit the first mile in 10:4x. The second mile came and went rather uneventfully in 10:4x. One thing I did notice during this mile, though, was that other runners were coming back from some kind of turn-around, and since the people I saw didn’t look super fast, I assumed the turn-around was right up ahead. However, I seemed to run forever to get to it, so I have no idea how so many people were already coming back so quickly. However, strangely enough, it seemed to take a lot longer to get from that particular point to the turnaround than it did to get from the turn-around back to it. Mile 3 was okay, and I ran it in 10:2x. As I ran, I was constantly calculating the pace I needed to maintain for the rest of the race to beat last year’s time. The fourth mile was a bit tough as there were several uphill sections of note, but I knew when I hit that mile in 11:2x, with a total time at that point under 44 minutes, I figured there was no way I wouldn’t PR. I only took one 30-second walk break during the last mile, and that last half mile of it or so was mostly downhill and I felt like I was running effortlessly, kind of like the finish line was pulling me to it. It started lightly sprinkling the last quarter mile (which turned into steady rain by the time I stopped…then it stopped a few minutes later). I sprinted the last little bit, although I could have sped up earlier in retrospect. I hit my fastest pace somewhere int he final sprint of 5:14. I crossed the finish line in 53:07.
I felt like I redeemed myself from last year, so i was happy. I felt fine after the race, which tells me I could have pushed myself a little more.
After the race, there was wine and snacks (like fruit), which were located on the main road in the opposite direction of my car. I definitely got a lot of walking in! Since it was still almost an hour until they would begin serving the wine, I just grabbed a small bunch of grapes and left. However, I did get my free wine glass to take home! All in all, a good morning!