We found A, another one of our running friends, and her sister and husband. Her sister runs closer to my pace, so while A was aiming for a PR and K wanted to come in under 2:00, A's sister and I were able to run at a more comfortable pace together for the first five miles or so.
|The course map.
I was feeling pretty good up to about mile 8. Then, some back pain set in. My knees were absolutely perfect during the race. My ITBS stretches have really been paying off; I'll make a post about them for those that are interested. But I must have been neglecting my core, because my shoulders and lower back were really tight and achy.
Because of the humidity, I stopped at each water station to drink. This definitely slowed down my pace. If I had been able to skip a couple, I think I would have come in around 2:20, which was my unofficial goal. However, pausing for water, and then slowing my pace afterward to avoid cramping up, paired with the long course (close to 14 according to my Nike+) really took a toll. I ended up feeling defeated and sluggish in the last mile.
|R and K had my back as I finished up!
But finally, finally, I was at the quarter mile mark. K and her oldest daughter (my G-ddaughter) met me at the last corner and began running with me. Little R is just shy of three years old, and she kept shouting, "Look, I'm running!" Of course a million people wanted to take pictures of this and kept exclaiming how cute she was. (She tends to get that reaction a lot.)
At that corner, M and K's husband were taking photos/video, so I plastered on a smile and waved. I didn't have it in me for a final sprint.
|I made it!
My time was 2:37:41. Not nearly my best, but this is only my third Half, and the first time I ran this race my time was 2:56, so I'm happy with the improvement. It's weird, because the course is tree-lined, flat, paved, and really lovely. It should be an easy race.
As much as I love the price of this race, especially for the amenities, I think it’s too quiet to keep my energy high. The main problem seems to be the time of year. After the holidays and the break for New Years, it’s hard to get back into real training. I didn’t feel prepared for this race, and it definitely showed. The lack of motivation to keep my running going bit me in the butt.
Here are my lowly stats: age group: 81/109, gender group: 670/896.
I have a whole year to show improvement. I'm not too bummed about the results, because over the weekend I decided to just take this race as what it was: the first of the year. I'm looking forward to the rest of 2013.