A long sleeve shirt with thumb holes
Socks and running shoes
Nano and earbuds
3 rubber bands
race number and pins
two running bracelets
change for clothes for after the race
That is everything I laid out last night before I went to bed. As always, Drew looked at the parking map and told me the best way to get to my destination in downtown Houston. I ate my normal pre-race meal....two pieces of toast with peanut butter and a tiny bit of jelly. I got my stuff gathered and off I went. I ate my banana 30 minutes before we started and drank all my pre-race water.
I had the best race number ever. It was 97. I smiled when I saw it. 1997 was a great year for me. I graduated from college. Drew and I got married. We moved into our first and cutest apartment in Charleston. I knew 97 would be a good number for me today!
I did not arrive at the start line in time to get a good spot because I was so unbelievably cold. It has to be really, really cold for me to wear pants and today was not that. Waiting for 30 minutes wearing a running skirt was brutal. It was cold at 44 degrees with a wind chill of 36 degrees. The wind was crazy gusting to 20 mph. I was shaking uncontrollably waiting for the start. Even then I was worried I would be too warm and I was at times, but overall I think I was dressed appropriately for the weather.
The course was 3 loops of 5+ miles each. I thought the course was short. It should have been 15.6 miles and my watch had 15.47 at the finish. That little bit of difference if always debatable so I am not worried about it. I have never run this distance before, but I loved it. This and the half are just so fun to run!
The out portion of the loops was nice because the wind was at my back. Coming home for 2.5 or so miles was brutal at times. The wind was strong all day and much harder on the hills. The course was on the parkway so there was lots of overpasses, but I like hills. I thought this was great when it was not too windy.
The plan for the first loop was to run an 8:45 pace. Unfortunately because I lined up late and my first mile was slow. I did not want to waste too much energy weaving in and out of people so I ended up with a 9:40 miles...yikes! The next four were much better as the crowd thinned some. Miles 2-5 were 8:40, 8:47, 8:37, 8:54.
The next five miles were to be run around 8:30. I was feeling good and was not worried about increasing my pace at all. Miles 6-10 were 8:27, 8:28, 8:25, 8:26, 8:33.
I had a goal time in mind for this race. I thought it was possible, but I was not totally sure because it was a new distance. I also knew I had to pick it up bigtime if I wanted to run that time. I felt great...really great. So, I decided to run 8:00 miles if possible. The last few miles passed so quickly and honestly I wish I had picked up my pace sooner. Live and learn. The last 5 miles were
8:06, 8:05, 8:05, 8:01, 8:01 and a 7:25 pace for the last .47 mile. My watch had 2:10.43 and my unofficial time was 2:10.37.
My goal time was 2:10! I wish I could rerun that first mile. Still, I could not be happier with today. This is my first race since I injured my hip. It is also my only race before the marathon in 8 weeks. I feel like I have made great progress in the past 8 weeks. I am starting to feel faster again. I think I can get even faster in the next 8 weeks. I feel like a much stronger runner this fall.
I am my own worst enemy. Friends and family have much more confidence in my abilities than I do at times. I believed I could run a good race today. I feel like I did. I kept reminding myself of a great quote from one of my all-time favorite Penn State football players...
"There is honor and worthy achievement in proving wrong the myth of impossibility"
I am the one who thinks achieving my running goals are impossible or close to it. Today I wanted them to be possible so I kept repeating those words. They were a great reminder today and I believe them to be so true!