It was only about 36 degrees out there at the race start, which was at 2 pm. At least we were running in the warmest part of the day. It didn't feel that cold once we got moving a bit. My strategy going out was to stay just under a 7 m/m pace for the first half, then drop it down closer to a 6:30 pace for the second half. We drove the course the night before, and I knew there were two big hills in the second half. So I knew that was a bad strategy.
|self portrait before the race while still in the car|
The gun goes off and I take off too fast, as usual. Kelley remembered to give me the garmin since I've forgotten it the last few races. The first time I look down to get a pace it said 5:45. oops. At least I knew this time. So I slow it down a bit. I was actually really well placed at the starting line, I didn't have to pass a ton of people right after the gun went off, and nobody passed me at the start.
We take the first few turns and this part of the course is mostly flat/downhill as I was expecting. I was coasting along pretty good, not pushing it too hard in the first mile but not slouching off either. Strategy is working so far, but my abs start to fatigue about a mile in.
At the halfway point they had an aide station, and the guy right in front of me was the first person to take water. I took some too because I was really thirsty, and walked 3 steps to chug the juice. Now it's time to drop the hammer for the second half of the race.
Of course right after that halfway point there is a slight uphill, followed by a steep uphill. I'm kind of cruising those, knowing I can push the pace back down when it flattens out again. And I know it will. There is one little out and back spur on Marshall St right after the mile 2 marker, I know the out is slightly uphill, and the back is the best place on the second half of the course to really fly. So I turn it loose coming back down Marshall, and fly as much as I still can. There's a bit of a side stitch creeping in now, and my abs are really fatigued. But there's less than a mile left, tough it out.
At 2.6 miles the last tough uphill hits me like a ton of bricks. It starts really steep into a turn, and once you make the turn it goes straight up for two more blocks. And we turned right into a headwind. So I walked the curve and took an easy jog up the rest of the hill. It flattened out for about 5 steps then went back to uphill grade, and I had to walk again. The core just had nothing left, and I had to find something else for a strong finish. That hill cost me somewhere between 45 seconds and about 1:15 off of my finish time.
The last turn went into a parking lot then back onto a street heading to the finish line. It feels good to know you're giving the race everything you've got even if you did miss a goal. Put it all out there, kick it hard, and see what happens. If you puke, that's something that happens. Luckily, I did not. I did finish in 23:04, which is considerably slower than the 21:50 I was shooting for.
At least I totally froze my cherries off.
Kelley, however, finished in 30:05 smashing her PR of 30:11 set back in 2010. She did really well, negative split the course, and got a rose at the finish line!
|With the rose after the race|
We finished 12th among 24 couples in the couples competition based on our combined gun times. The winner finished in 16:07, my 23:05 time put me in 95th place overall, and Kelley's time placed her in 277 out of 485 runners. Being in the couples competition, we didn't get an age group placement, but I would have been 11/26 and Kelley would have been 9/29 in her age group.
Any day we can walk away from a race with a rose and PR is a good day to be running. I'm just glad we were able to get out there. Now it's time to taper for the Myrtle Beach Marathon next weekend.