Nicole picked up our packets on Thursday night, so we weren't in a rush to get to the race early on Saturday (Nicole is Eric's superawesome cousin, who happens to live right around the corner from me). The plan was to meet up at Nicole's house and carpool together since we didn't know what the parking situation was like in the Highlands. Eric, ever the supportive spectator, was up with me and out the door by 6:50 that morning. We met up with Nicole and her friend, Chris, and had a brief chat with her mom, who wished us all luck. We were out the door by 7:15!
I think we arrived in the Highlands right around 7:30, at which point I rushed around searching for a restroom. Apparently, the gas station across the street* happily opens their doors for the runners, so that was nice, since there were absolutely NO Port-a-Potties (I thought that was weird).
*I totally typed "stress" instead of "street" and didn't catch it until proofreading. Subconscious issues, much?
About 5 minutes before the start, we all huddled around the starting area. There were about 1400 runners, but somehow I spotted my friend from college (hi, Jeffrey!) who had also signed up for the race. Eric left us to wait at the finish line, and Nicole, Jeff, Chris, and I all prepped our music and waited for the gun. Or siren. Or whatever was supposed to signal the start. I think in the end it was a cop on a motorcycle? But I couldn't see it.
Jeff and Chris took off immediately while Nicole and I trotted along at a steady pace. The music was really helpful at first. Fall Out Boy and Gaslight Anthem are my bands of choice. Unfortunately, my ear buds refused to stay in my ear, so about a 1/4 mile into the race, I gave up and stuffed the headphones into my shirt. Then, close to the end of the first mile, my calf just tightened up. I tried to walk it off, but I ended up having to stop and stretch it out.
It was all downhill from there. Actually - that's 100% not true. I think Nicole said it best after the race: "I don't know how Virginia Highlands managed to do it, but they had a track that was 80% uphill. Bastards." I would show you the elevation profile, but I can't figure out how to save the image. It was incredibly intense though. We ended up walking a majority of the hills and running the downhill/flat areas (which were few and far between). I think I got my wind sometime in the last mile because I was able to run up the last hill and straight to the finish line.
Suffice it to say, I did not PR. But I did get a nifty shirt.
I said I would be honest here, but I can't tell you what my exact time was. I looked at the clock at the end of the race, and I think it said 46:17, but I'm not sure. Eric was standing at the clock, so I hopped the rope area and stood by him. Nicole was only a few seconds behind me, and she ran to the end of the rope area and got herself a little time card thingy that you fill out yourself for the "results" page later. I definitely grabbed mine out of order, so I don't know what my official time was.
After the race, I went home, ate some cereal with a banana and crashed for about 3 hours.
That course was incredibly difficult. I wish I'd known better and hadn't set my expectations so high. I also didn't run at all the week prior to the race, but I know my endurance has improved, and I could have PR'd if the race was similar to the Brookhaven Bolt. All in all, I'm glad I finished, and I'm really glad that Nicole was there with me. I think I might have just quit after the second hill if it wasn't for her.
All that being said, I'm still excited about and in love with running. Now I'm trying to figure out whether or not to train for a half marathon. I don't need to have a sub-10 min pace to feel successful. I keep trying not to compare myself to my friends or to the bloggers who inspire me. I'm not at that level yet. I have to remember that plenty of people run/walk half marathons, and that's still miles and away better than those who don't even try.
You're waiting for my training plan this week, aren't you? I wasn't going to do one, but I'd rather make an easy plan to stick to than not have one at all to keep my accountable.
Monday: RestI finally got New Rules of Lifting for Women last week, but I haven't started it yet. Regardless of whether I start training for a 10k or a half marathon, I'll definitely be throwing in strength training once I've moved. I'm just waiting to have a gym that Eric can use too, so he can show my what to do!
Thursday: Easy 2 mi Run/Walk
Saturday: Easy 3 mi Run/Walk
Alright, that's it. Busy days ahead, but check back here tonight for photos from this weekend!
What kind of earbuds/headphones do you use when you're running?