WE CAME, WE RAN, WE CONQUERED
This weekend was the inaugural You Go Girl race, including both a half marathon and 10k. The night before, Tall Mom Mel and others organized a bloggy girl meet-up at the Spaghetti Factory in Tacoma, WA (Exhibit 1).
Let's see, we had all kinds of blogs representing and I don't know them all but we had 50 Half Marathons in 50 States, Tall Mom Running, Running to Sanity, Track Coach and Adorable Wife, There She Runs, TMB Racing with Babes, Will Run for Food, Navy Wife on a Diet, Long Legs something...ok, and a bunch more I can't think of.
Honestly, I was pretty nervous about meeting everyone. I didn't know anyone except for what I'd read on blogs. Would I like them? What would we talk about?
Of course I had no reason to be nervous. Everyone was lovely and it was really nice to meet everyone in the flesh. Kinda strange, actually. For example, everyone was in street clothes instead of running clothes.
It turned out to be a late night for me as I debated about what to wear in WARM temps but heavy RAIN. Morning came too soon. After a quick 25 minute drive to Tacoma, I found parking just a couple blocks from the start and was fortunate to run into my Aunt Cindy who pretty much kicks ass is everything (Exhibit 2). This was her second half marathon this year.
Before the race, all the bloggy ladies met up and I was too busy yapping to take photos but I did snap this one of the birthday girl, Kerrie T of MomvsMarathon (Exhibit 3a). Fortunately, I was able to snag a group photo off Kerrie's Facebook page (Exhibit 3b) and the sweetie emailed me a couple more (Exhibits 3c, 3d).
From there, we went to the starting line and saw something quite strange. There was NO ONE at the start.
Usually, the start line is crowded with the local "fast" runners in their racing singlets and briefs, doing wind sprints to stay warm, and sizing up the competition - ready to throw elbows at the start of the gun.
BUT NOT TODAY! Nope, no one lined up at the start, which was the 6- and 7- minute per mile pace groups. In "front," about 20 yards back, were Tonia (Racing with Babes), Tall Mom Mel, their friend Janna, me, and a few others. It was driving me crazy that no one was at the start line! I was trying to coerce one of the ladies to go up with me because I wanted to go up but was too chicken to go up by myself.
The start line looked silly all empty and I thought, "What a bunch of girls! Where is our competitive spirit? How often do you get to start at the front-front?"
Hooray for Janna who agreed to go up front with me, and Tonia and Mel came along too, then the other ladies moved up. Right before the start, the true front runners came jogging up. Apparently, they had been out warming up. But really, there were only a few of them so there was still room at the front for us (Exhibit 4).
After the Star-Spangled Banner, we set off into the rain. Mel was pacing Tonia for a sub-2:00 half and I was hoping to keep pace with them for my 10k (Exhibit 5). My goal was to run 8:35 min/mile.
Ok, there is where I have to say, the race elevation profile was TOTALLY misleading. The course looked like it would have ONE good hill and be flat/downhill the rest of the way.
LIES! ALL LIES!
The first 4 miles were either a slight uphill grade or steep uphill with hardly any flats or downhill. At 4 miles, my pace (if my math is correct) was around 8:20 min/mile, which was better than my goal pace. I was working pretty hard up those hills but I kept thinking about how happy I was not pushing a baby jogger up those hills!
Harry HRM was beeping madly at me as I took on the hills & my heart was pushing into the 90+% of max. I figured, "Eh, recovery on the downhill, right?" It was awesome - after the 4-mile mark, the rest of the run was downhill or flat. I had to concentrate on not going out too hard and dying before the end but I did pick up my pace once I had recovered from the uphills.
When I could see the big 6-mile sign up ahead, I
But don't despair! It was all ok when I saw the clock: 49:21. That's 7:57 min/mile baby! WOO-HOO!!! That's WAY better than I thought I had in me at this point. And guess what? For finishing in the top 5 in my age group, I won a bracelet with Swarovski crystal! I don't know what it looks like and I would have to drive a LONG way down to Bonney Lake to pick it up, so I'm not sure if I'll ever know what it looks like but it's nice just knowing that I won something.
All day, I've been wondering how I pulled off that pace. Aside from the 2 miles of downhill, I'm pretty sure my surprising pace was attributable to the bad-ass tat-sleeves I was wearing (Exhibit 6).
At the finish, laptops were set up so you could type in your bib number and get your results. My results weren't showing up and it wasn't until I got help from the timing people that I realized it was because my race bib was upside down and I was typing my number in wrong. DUH.
It was so much fun "knowing" so many people at the race. It made the whole experience more enjoyable, getting to cheer others on and see all the familiar faces. Of all the runners, by far the cutest finisher was Little Mr. T, who ran the last segment with his mommy, Kerrie (Exhibit 7).
I'm so jazzed about today's race. It taught me that with 15 miles/week running and cross-training, I CAN run a decent pace. It also inspired me to get some speed work in and just have fun with shorter distances for a while. Through this winter, I'm also hoping to up my mileage so I can push my pace more.
Can't wait until the next race!