Well. The big day finally came and went. And it was awesome. But let's go back to Friday night, first.
Kate and Ward came into town around 6:00, just in time for dinner! I made your standard pre-race spaghetti meal, and we drank a some wine and had a grand old time. We were joined by my best friend, Kristy, who gave us lots of encouraging words in lieu of her presence at the actual race.
Once Eric came home, he and Ward set about making signs to inspire us along the course.
I drank a few glasses of water and went to bed around 10:30. Kate followed suit shortly after, but the boys stayed up until close to 1:00, perfecting their race day signs.
We were all up and out the door by 7:15 Saturday morning. Once we arrived, it was a short walk from the MARTA station down to Bolt-central. Kate and got our bibs in no time, and decided to hit the Porta-Potties before the race. This is a small, local, neighborhood oriented affair, so there were only about 1200 participants. However, felt like 4 or 5 Porta-Potties weren't nearly enough.
Anyway. We had enough time to catch back up with the boys, joined now by Eric and Kate's sister, Lilli, and drop off our things. We lined up and waited for the starting gun. Kate asked me (again*) how hilly the course was, and I reassured her that it was pretty gradual uphills, followed by some lovely downhills. The worst part of the race is at mile 3, right before the finish, there's a pretty steep uphill.
The starting gunshot or buzzer or whatever it was happened and we were off. Kate and I kept with each other for all of 3 minutes before I realized I was going far too fast to maintain. I slowed down and moved to the right, trying to focus on my breath. When I hit mile 1 (after a pretty steep climb) I felt pretty good. Good enough that I wanted to keep going, but I knew I had to take a walking break. I wanted to finish strong, so I had to hold myself back at the start. I walked for about 30 seconds, and then sped up again.
I came to the water station and decided to drink about half a cup. Another walking break (and did I mention another hill?). Sped up again until I hit mile 2. I walked for maybe another 30 seconds, and feeling good, started a pretty steep climb. I ran almost until the end. Another hill, right before the final one, I had to stop. Maybe 15-20 second. My ankle started bothering me, so I shook it out and finished the climb. Turned to run over a bridge, and then the final hill. Kept at my running pace all the way. As soon as I hit the top, I turned right for the final stretch. I saw Eric, Ward, Lilli, Kate (who finished with 33:17 - awesome!), and unexpectedly, Claire! They were busy deciding which signs to hold up now, so I leaned towards them and yelled "CHEER ME!" So they did. As I got closer to the finish line, I saw the clock reading 38:xx and I knew I would PR. I felt a bolt of adrenaline and sprinted across the finish line. My "gun time" was 38:09, but my chip time was 37:33, beating my previous PR by 5:04.
I know that a 12:06/mile pace isn't terribly fast by most standards, but it's downright speedy for me. I'm so dang proud I can't stand it!
*So clearly I didn't remember anything about the terrain of this race from last year. Kate asked me when she signed up how hilly it was, and I told her it wasn't that bad. She asked again last week after she PR'd in a 5K in Louisville. Apparently that course was very flat, so she was nervous about this one. I was all "no, it's totally easy breezy". Sorry, Kate! I have a horrible memory!
After the race, we all headed back to the apartment, made a delicious brunch, drank mimosas, and then I took an epic 4 hour nap. That's how it's done, ladies and gentlemen.
I'm feeling pretty good about myself now, so I'm giving myself a new goal. More on that in my next post.