I have been training pretty hard for this race- I've had more back issues this year, and have only recently been able to up my mileage on the weekends. Plus I've started lifting weights, using the P90X videos (wow, if you follow the link, that guy looks like a total meat-head. But he's actually really positive and motivating in the workouts). Thank you Abbey for sharing these with me! They have made all the difference in my back health and strength, not to mention the fact that I am starting to show some definition in my arms! Even though I have been a swimmer most of my life, this type of sport doesn't make for lots of definition. Anyway, I don't mean for this post to be a commercial. Back to the race. I was a little late in getting to the start line, and I couldn't find the rest of my team- Turi and Dave were both running the half with me, but Chris opted for the 10K, in which he almost placed first, but missed it by only a few seconds. So the horn blew right at 7:00 and I kicked off on my own. Took me 38 seconds to reach the start line because there were around 700 other runners (or last I checked on the results after the race), and settled into a steady pace after the first mile or so, iPod in full gear. It turned out to be a beautiful day, temperature in the 50s, sun shining in a cloudless sky. Doesn't get much better for running conditions! I didn't push myself at the beginning because I was a little nervous running this distance for the first time since the Kokanee run up at Tahoe at the beginning of October last year. I kept my eye out for Turi and Dave, but didn't expect to see them, or at least not Turi- until the turn-around when he was on his way back. He surprised me by passing me just before the 5 mile mark! Turns out he and Dave were at the very back of the start looking for me, and he didn't catch up to me until then. So we passed the next 6 miles chatting about this and that and marveling at the gorgeous day.
Even though I was taking it easy, I still had a time goal in the back of my mind. I have run this race one other time- it was my second ever half marathon, back in 2008, and I ran it in under 1:58. Big PR for me! So I made a little goal over the past couple weeks to try and break 2 hours again, since it was the same flat course. Once I settle into my pace, that's generally where I stay, but when we hit the 10 mile mark, I had 1:35 on my watch. That left 25 minutes for the last 5k if I were to make that goal. I have run a 5k under 25 minutes twice- once on my treadmill (and then I threw out my back later that day), and once at the Scheels Spark-A-Delic race in Nov. 2008. But neither of those runs were after doing 10 miles first. Oh well. I could be happy with 2:05. But I picked up the pace anyway. And then with 2 miles to the finish, Chris passed us running the course backwards doing his warm-down with a friend. His goal in running the course backwards was to run either a 5k or until he caught up to one of us going the other way. He and Turi started chatting, and he gave us a brief update on his race (which started a half hour after ours, but he ran it in like 33 minutes or something ridiculously fast like that). Then Chris "ran" Turi to the finish, much faster than I had energy for, so I cranked up the tunes again and pushed myself with what I did have left. About a quarter mile to the finish Chris found me again and I kicked into full gear and nearly sprinted the last 2-3 blocks. 2:03.26! I had a bit of an emotional moment walking off the first of the post-race "jelly legs" because I was actually pretty happy with this time, and because I am able to run virtually pain-free again. About a year ago there were days when I was afraid to drive to work because I knew after the half hour it took me to get there I'd be in a serious world of hurt. Physical therapy was my savior last summer, and weights this year. Also, this is by far the closest I've come to my PR since I ran it 2 years ago. (I'm keeping my watch time, BTW, because it took me almost 40 seconds to reach the start line, and my official time was 1 minute and 1 second slower than my actual time. And I placed 377 overall, and 46th in my age group.) I'm in the center, green shirt, black jacket:
It was a great day to be with my teammates, TLD (Team Library Dork), and a super supported race! Turi ran almost exactly 2 hours, just under 2:01, and Dave came in at 2:22. What a great time! Then the four of us celebrated by splitting an Espresso Yeti, and then headed to breakfast at My Favorite Muffin. Only 2 more pictures to share today- the first with Turi, taken on his brand-new-as-of-yesterday Droid Incredible:
And for the second, I begged a guy in line to take a quick picture of us after we finished breakfast~