Race day loomed bright and early. And I mean that literally on both counts. It was 5:50 am so it was definitely early – especially for a Sunday! – and the sun was shining as I hopped out of bed. That was a rare time where I really did just about hop out of bed too, I was too excited to wait for my second alarm to go off.
I hurried down to the kitchen to make myself a piece of toast with peanut butter so that I could eat it in time to have it not feel like a weight in the pit of my stomach by the time the gun went off. I really wasn’t sure what to do since I normally get up and just go run on the weekends, not eating at all until I get back home but I figured that since I’ve been running after work anyway I had obviously been eating so as long as I gave myself enough time and ate something light it should be fine.
Once I got everyone up and got myself ready we were ready to leave by about 7:05 and we were downtown with plenty of time to meet up with everyone. Despite the fact that I thought nerves would have me running to pee every 5 minutes I actually only needed to hit up the port-a-potties twice before the race started. I lost my group but we were planning to separate anyway since they were all walking and I was definitely running.
I got myself lined up in the middle of the pack closer to the front than the back, but apparently no one was really lining up according to pace except for the elite runners right on the start line because I had to do a bit of creative weaving to get going once the gun fired but it wasn’t too bad. Next time I’ll know to go even closer to the front so that I don’t lose time.
It was pretty warm today, hitting 12 or 13 degrees (celsius) by 8 am and you can pretty well add ten degrees on to that if you’re running so I did end up grabbing water from both the water stations along my route, even though only a quarter of it made it into my mouth with the rest splashing all over the rest of me (apparently running while drinking is an art I have not yet perfected!).
The one thing that I had been concerned about all along was Citadel Hill and how I would handle running up it. I think that my training must have really benefited me even if I didn’t tackle any hills quite that steep or high. Despite my worries about it, I had absolutely zero trouble running up it; I had really sort of expected to have to stop and walk but I didn’t and when I hit the top and kept going I started laughing and yelled, “holy shit, I did it!” which made a couple of spectators laugh along too. But seriously. I ran the HELL out of that damn hill.
Aside from the training, I have to credit the fact that I figured what my pace would be and planned my playlist accordingly so that my iPod was playing “Eye of the Tiger” as I headed to the base of the hill. 🙂
The run around the top was indeed beautiful but I didn’t have much time for sightseeing as I was on the move and it was also just ridiculously hot up there with the sun beating down. The whole race was very well organized and I’m so impressed with the people behind the scenes but if I could make one suggestion for improvement it would be to have a water station either on top of or at the bottom of Citadel Hill. I would have loved a quick drink since I was parched, but there was none to be found until the finish line, a full kilometer away from the bottom. Ah well, I lived.
I think I probably ran a little too fast that last kilometer, and my knees may be yelling at me tomorrow for that. It was hard to avoid it though. I knew how close I was, the crowds were cheering, and the adrenaline was revved up, so I just kept pushing until the end. My heart rate was through the roof so I was happy to just grab some water and walk it off while I attempted to find George and the girls.
My official race time according to the chip timer was 30 minutes, 6 seconds. It would have been nice to break below the 30 minute mark but I was anticipating 32 minutes, so to say that I’m happy with my results would be an understatement.
It was quite a day. Impressive numbers included the 5K winner who ran it in an astonishing 16 minutes and change, and the full marathon winner who completed all 42k in 2 hours and 42 minutes. So inspiring even if they’re speeds I have no intention of ever trying to match. The marathon winner passed us as we were heading back to the car and he didn’t even look like he was sweating!
After my run we came home and I stretched (I was too excited to do much after the race until I got back), ate a bagel with cream cheese because I was starving, had a shower, ate an omelet with toast because I was still hungry, and then I spent the rest of the day enjoying the sun out on the back deck while I re-hydrated with tons of water and read my zombie book.
This has been a mighty fine long weekend!
(PS – If you’re reading this because you saw my URL on my goofy sign while running today, please say hi!)