"I run for hope, I run to feel, I run for the truth for all that is real, I run for your mother, your sister, your wife, I run for you and me my friend. I run for life." from "I Run For Life" by Melissa Ethridge
This weekend our family was split. My daughter had a volleyball tournament in Ft Worth and my son had soccer games here. Since I also had a race on Sunday, I got to stay here with my son.
As we showed up for his first soccer game Saturday morning at 7:30, the air was filled with fog, the ground was covered with frost and the temps were in the low thirties. Oh how I was wishing I was in Ft Worth inside the gym for volleyball. It was COLD on the soccer fields. So cold in fact that when the fog made my hair wet, the wetness froze and I had ice crystals in my hair. I even had to go buy my son some gloves between games because his hands were freezing. And at this point I thought "it better not be this cold in the morning".
Fast forward to Sunday morning. I wake up early, get dressed - in shorts, a tank and a long sleeve top - eat my breakfast and head downtown for the race. Temps were a little better this morning, but still in the low 40s. And the whole time I'm thinking to myself, "why do I do this?" But then I think of Melissa Ethridge's song 'I Run For Life' and I know why I do this. I started running in 2005 with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program to honor my brother-in-law who is a Lymphoma survivor. And I haven't stopped. I run because I can. I run for those who can't. I run for life.
So I headed to the race start. As the gun went off and I started running it was cold. I knew I'd warm up. Since I met my goal of breaking 2 hours at the 3M Half Marathon last month, I didn't really care what my time was today. This course is a bit more challenging as there are lots of hills on the course. My first mile was 9:29. Perfect. I can usually hold a 9:30 pace for long runs, so I was ok with that.
The first part of the course leads you away from downtown with a slight incline. Then you turn, go over a few streets, and head back to town with a slight decline. I held a pretty even pace through it all. As I got back to the downtown area around mile 6 the crowd support was great. It was the boost needed at the time. The next couple of miles were fairly flat. There is one short steep hill thrown in, but mostly flat for a while. I was still holding fairly steady but knew the hills were coming.
As I turned to the hilly stretch of the last 3-4 miles I told myself to just stay steady. Shorten my stride and keep moving. Surprisingly, the hills didn't feel that bad. In the past, I've done specific hill training once a week with hill repeats. I haven't done that this year so I figured the hills would get to me a little bit. But I knew the big hill was yet to come. As I approached mile 12 I prepared myself mentally for the big climb. There was no way I was stopping on that hill and I didn't. I made it to the top, regained my breathing and kept going. I knew the end was near. And when we turned next to the Capitol to head to the finish I started picking up the speed. I could see the finish. I kicked it in to cross the finish line. Chip time - 2:01:41.
Overall, I was happy with my time. I was secretly hoping to break 2 hours again, but I knew the hills would slow me down. However, I ran a very steady race. My pace for each mile was all within a :30 space.
Mile 1: 9:29
Mile 2: 9:28
Mile 3: 9:11
Mile 4: 9:19
Mile 5: 9:00
Mile 6: 9:05
Mile 7: 9:10
Mile 8: 9:18
Mile 9: 9:30
Mile 10: 9:26
Mile 11: 9:12
Mile 12: 9:23
Mile 13: 9:21
last .1: 0:45
I paced fairly evenly, but I can run this pace for my long training runs. Now I need to figure out how much I can push myself and when to start that push.
After crossing the finish line I got my medal, got my finisher shirt, grabbed some food, and put on some warm clothes. It turned out to be a beautiful day for a race. However, I never shed my long sleeve top, so I was pretty sweaty. Sweaty and cold temps make me really cold. I managed to get the sweaty stuff off and get some dry clothes on and then headed home for a shower and food.
I'm glad I raced today afterall.