Traditional pre-race photo
Last year, we were late in finding a parking spot and late in getting to the start line, then I had to visit the port-a-potties so by the time we actually crossed the start line, we were surrounded by walkers. (This sounds cooler if you watch The Walking Dead.) I think we just went out too fast and then paid for it by both of us getting worse times than the year before.
THIS year, we were determined to get over to the stadium EARLY. Alarm went off at 6:00 but the weather ended up being colder than what we originally thought which required a change of race attire. My breakfast consisted of a slice of whole grain bread with a ginormous scoop of peanut butter and a large glass of water. I really need to figure out what I should eat before running, but this seemed to work well for me this time. Matt ate a PowerBar -- might not have been much better than my choice. But we left and thanks to no traffic, we were parked and ready to go by 7:20. Still too early and still cold/dark out there. I ate a pack of Sport Beans while we waited ... caffeine-injected jelly beans. Note to self: need more of those!
Cold at the start, warming up at the finish ... what to wear?
I set my RunKeeper to track my intervals (run 4 min, walk 1 min) but wasn't going to actually use the interval timer until I got to Iroquois Mountain. Thank goodness it was a cool morning, because I wasn't getting too warm or needing water by the first water stop -- ran on through but around this point, I could see the mountain looming in the distance. Tried not to think of it though, so of course, that was all I could think about.
Looks about right.
As with what happened with the Indianapolis Monumental in November, I realized I was running either faster or better or whatever when I didn't see any of the elites or wheelchairs coming back towards me on Southern Parkway (if you aren't familiar with the route, it's a straight shot down one road, then into a park that loops around and comes back to the same road and then ending at a football stadium). I will say that I was a little disappointed because seeing them fly down the road toward me is quite motivating/inspiring.
I couldn't check my pace too easily and didn't really know what my pace should be anyway, so whenever I felt like I was speeding up, I'd slow it up a bit. Somehow, I made it all the way to Iroquois and halfway up the first hill before I finally had to start walking. Thank goodness for the interval tracker! I made sure that whenever I did stop to walk, that it wasn't until the tracker was at :04 minutes (even if I ran through however many of the walking intervals) but I'd only walk for that one minute.
Iroquois wasn't too bad this time and I love that they handed out full-size water bottles at the 2nd water stop (first one in the park). I carried that puppy with me the rest of the race and didn't have to stop at the other two water stops. Main reason it lasted the rest of the race was because my fingers were starting to swell AND were sweaty so I couldn't open the ding-dang thing for several minutes.
Matt hit the halfway mark flying. Literally flying. He's been doing awesome with his running, even if he doesn't do many training runs. Booger.
Coming back down Southern Pkwy, it seemed like that part of the race passed more quickly than the first part and definitely faster than the prior two years. I loved looking around at the spectators and the runners who were running with partners -- how they were all so encouraging to each other. I imagined they were also talking to me so it helped me continue to push on. :) I did see one girl passing everyone around mile 7 and she was wearing anti-gravity running shoes -- what the heck?
Mile 9 is also a horrible part of this race -- as soon as you turn the corner, BOOM - ginormous overpass that seems incredibly steep. Just when you want the race to be over, it's a big slap in the face. There was a support group smack in the middle of that incline though -- they were so supportive and I know they weren't talking to me but again, I imagined they were and I took their words and ran with it. Also, best part of running the overpass that day was being almost to the very top of the incline and getting the text that Matt had finished the race (also with about an 8 min PR) -- so proud of him! I gave a little "whoop!!" and ran the rest of the incline and back down the other side to get to the stadium. I did stop to walk one more time just so I knew I'd be able to finish strong. At this point, I knew I had a better time but didn't know how much.
As usual, I don't want to see any of my finish line photos because I know I look horrific. But wow, this race felt good. Next up, the Kentucky Derby Mini-marathon! When I ran the two halves last year (KDF and Indpls Monumental), I had a personal goal of if I finished in under 2:30, I'd sign up for a marathon. I did that with the Monumental and I'm registered for the full for this year. Do I set a similar goal for the KDF half or no ... ???
Traditional post-race stop, especially after this race since we walk right past this Starbucks on our way back to the car.