VIRTUAL RACE--RACE REPORT.
It was a great day for a race! I was getting bored with training and having nothing to work for, so I was excited when this race came up.
I was feeling pretty good when I got up so headed to the "race site" after getting something to eat and having some coffee. The race was to start at a leisurely get- there-when-you-feel-like-it-time, and the "weather" was perfect: a mild temperature, dry, and heavy cloud cover. I wore shorts and a wick away shirt since it was very comfortable, but knowing I would be getting warm later. I also brought my own water bottle filled because you never know what you will find on a race course.
The course was flat, and it was to be an out an back course, with water stops every two miles. And then I started seeing other blogger friends ready to start their runs as well! Marathondudebill , Suzanne, Marcy, Jeff, Flo, Lisa, Sunshine, Jeanne, RunningRagged, my co-"race director" Nancy, as well as many other "friends" I haven't "met" yet. [Anyone else who wants their name here, let me know with your time so I can incorporate it into my run.]
When the "gun" went off, I fell into an easy pace. I decided to abandon my plan to run/walk and just run the whole way. It was a race after all! I decided to just slow it down a notch or two and see what would happen.
Naturally, the fast ones took off: Bill was in the lead with Suzanne following pretty closely, then Jeff, and was that Marcy up front too? You go girl!
Nancy, Lisa, and I pretty much were keeping the same pace, so it was nice to have someone to "run" with for a change that I could actually keep up with. Nancy was chatting away, so I just kept to the task and nodded and grunted an occasional word here and there.
And there was music all along the "course" as well! Some of my favs were playing, as well as some seasonal favorites thrown in the mix. At the 2 mile mark, I was feeling great. We stopped to grab some water and then took off again, never really slowing down, just stepping to the side to let others pass if necessary. I was glad to see we weren't getting passed too often, and it was such a fun atmosphere, with everyone calling out encouragement along the way.
Just before 3 miles, a young woman I work with came flying by. Where did she come from?? Didn't she know there was a race going on?? Soon, her husband came by as well, practically sprinting to catch her! And here too, you could see the race unfolding, with Bill in the lead, Suzanne still hanging in there, a few others I didn't know hanging pretty close as well, then Jeff, a few other women, and our own Marcy working hard to keep pace with the lead packs!
And before you knew it, the half way point was approaching and another water stop. Again, no walking, just a quick stop and a drink and we were on our way! I felt better than I thought would be possible, but I guess at this pace, which is pretty much a heart rate pace, you feel like you can go forever. Lisa decided to pick up the pace here and she got ahead, but Nancy, Jeanne, and I were still keeping a pretty even pace. After the turnaround, it was fun to see the people behind us, some running, some walking, but everyone keeping at it to complete the full distance.
The 5 mile mark was quickly approaching, and the young woman from work had turned back and met up with her husband and it seemed like they decided to call it quits. And I was pretty sure that by now the race had been "won" by Bill and soon the woman's winner would finish as well.
As one hour approached, I had to congratulate myself on keeping at a continuous run pace, something I hadn't done (or been able to do) in ages. I wasn't at quite 6 miles yet, but I am still hopeful that within time I can get my pace back to being able to run a 10k a little faster. And again we had a quick water stop and we were on our way again. I was getting encouraged to also try to pick up the pace, and decided to up it slightly.
Just before 7 miles, I suddenly found myself alone, and here it started getting a little difficult, no so much the physical aspect but the mental, to keep going, not want to stop, not give in to the need to use the bathroom. Sweat was dripping off my face now, but the temperature was still quite good, so I figured I was working a little harder here too.
Now with each footstep, I started ticking off the distance as well, trying to stay focused. It was getting to be a mental game, knowing many others were finished, but knowing there were still others out there as well and not wanting to fall behind. Physically, my legs felt great, my breathing was good, I wasn't particularly tired, but it was just the idea of wanting to be done as well as the hope to meet my goal.
Shortly after the 7 mile mark, I finally had to give in to the bathroom break urge, and went "off course" briefly. I was glad there were porta-johns so close to the course! Once I started running again, I knew it would be a quick finish and was definitely deciding to pick up the pace the last half mile. And then here, what to my wondering eyes should appear? Why its Flo on her shiny pink "reindeer." She had cleverly stashed her bike at the 4.5 mile mark and was now catching me on the way to the finish line. That's all I needed to pick up the pace and go for my famous finish line sprint!
And finally, there it was, the end! 1:33:03. My goal was to make it under 1:35; my dream goal would have been 1:30, so I was happy enough with the effort. I'll keep you in suspense as to how we all finishrf and let others tell you their stories and finish times!
Waiting at the finish were all the bloggers and their families, wishing each other congratulations, sharing stores, and relaxing and having a good time. Once I grabbed some water and toweled off a bit, I went back to the finish to wait for some of those still out on the course. Then it was time to stretch, relax, and hit the hot tub!