Stats that I can be super proud of - 22:02, 7:06 pace, 16th female overall (out of 499), 5th in my age group.
I know, it's not very modest of me to just put up stats like that and THEN start the blog post but I'm pretty darn happy so deal with it. The plan for this race - there was no plan. I woke up early Saturday morning and layered on the clothes to go volunteer at the race set up. The day was already gorgeous (clear blue skies) and I was just thankful that there would be no repeat of last year's stormy pre-race. I had been feeling tired all week. Simply run down from my training (more to come on that in another post) and so I wasn't super excited about racing that morning and was almost resigned to not doing it...or just doing it as a warm up to my 3 hour bike ride I had planned later that morning.
Gabe and I headed to the start and proceeded to hang banners, set up tables, and prep the registration area. Things went smoothly this year. There was chip timing, online registration, etc. It was like the race had been going for years and not just the second annual. Kudos to the race director for making this year leaps and bounds more efficient/organized/enjoyable.
About 15 minutes before the race started I bailed on my volunteering duties and did a pseudo warm-up. I actually just circled around the start line trying to find the several folks I knew who were doing the race that morning. I finally found Laura, Gina, Cami, and Jen and we all huddled in at the front ready to start. Laura and I agreed to work together and aim for a 7:15 pace. That seemed reasonable and not a total stretch. We both had our watches ready and were adamant about sticking to that pace - not going out too hard.
The countdown came and went and we were off. Jen and Gina passed us within the first 200 yards and we stuck close to their heels. A few joking words were made, a reminder to stick to our pace, and then our little pack of four turned silent - working and breathing hard. The first mile - 7:06. A little fast but not too far off of where we wanted to be. We were still running comfortably behind Gina and Jen. After that first mile Cara caught up to us. It was wonderful. A little pack of 5 running friends all pushing each other. You can't beat that in a race.
The second mile was more of the same. The group of us all going the same pace. 7:11 for my split. At this point it was time to pick it up a bit. Cara pulled out up front and Jen and I followed. Around one corner I pulled in behind Jen and just focused on her stride and tried to keep my breathing under control. We had definitely picked up the pace slightly. At about a half mile left Jen started to pull away. I let her go and just tried to give it all I had. When the finish line was in sight I let it all out. I caught two folks right as I passed the finish line and then doubled over and had a brief moment of...'oh crap, am I going to throw up?' As mentioned in a previous post (maybe last year) - push until you puke, then you know you're racing with everything you've got.
And that's it! A whole minute PR over my last year's results and a short story to fill you in on all of the details. Post race I felt great only a few minutes later - gotta love short races. Elated by my time and the spectacular day I was ready to rush home, change clothes, and hop on my bike for my 3 hour ride. Ha! Yeah, about that... I started the ride okay but once we hit the hill climbing out of Fairhaven and up Chuckanut I knew my legs were dead. I tried to draft off of Gabe but on every hill he dropped me. So, once we hit Lake Samish we parted ways (him and Michael went longer) and I looped around the lake and headed home at whatever speed I could maintain. All in all a decent 2 hour ride but it was pretty hard on tired legs.