Great Race and a PR for me :)
It was a beautiful morning, cold and crisp for the start with lot's of bright sunshine. We arrived in Conway way early and had plenty of time to pick up our packets and use the facilities. The race started at the McGee Center which is a very nice community center in Conway. They were open and we were able to stay inside to keep warm and had access to clean bathrooms! I took advantage of the clean bathrooms three times and I guess it did the trick because I didn't have any problems during the race.
Our/my goal for this race was just to use it as my long run for the week and to try and maintain a 10:30 avg. pace. We were all milling about and Tala said come on we need to move up so Jane and I followed her, but then we saw the 2:15 pacer who was wearing a Jesters cap and seemed like a fun guy. So I changed my plan from a 10:30 avg. pace to a 10:16. As we were waiting for the start signal I said to Jane "if you feel good don't hang back for me" she said same for you. Once we started it didnt' take long for her to be off ahead of me. At first it was hard for me to stay with the 2:15 group I kept getting ahead but I made myself slow down so that I could keep an even pace.
About 1.5 miles into the race I see James and Russ a little ahead of me, James hasn't done any runs over 4 miles since his Ironman in June so I figured they were just taking it easy... that was the only reason I was catching up with them!! LOL When I did catch up James asked me what my goal was and I told him I was planning on sticking with the 2:15 pacer. He said they were looking at a 2:20 - 2:25 finish. I said cool I'll just run with you guys, so I slowed down and watched the 2:15 guy get ahead of me but he was always in sight. I had fun with James and Russ we pretty much chatted away and I was feeling good. After a couple of miles I eventually went on ahead, I think it was on one of the bigger hills.
I made catching up with the 2:15 group my goal, but I will be honest I didn't know if I could and decided I would be ok with a 2:20 finish. Somewhere around mile 6 or 7 I started getting that yucky feeling that I got on my long run the weekend before... just kind of drained and I was thinking good grief what is wrong with me?????
I never took a walk break other than at the aid stations and that was just a few steps to take a quick drink of gatorade and then water. The aid stations were great plenty of them and always stocked, there were also people along the course handing out gu's, starbursts and stuff like that. I took a gu and I thought it was vanilla but when I looked it was blueberry pomegranate and I knew better than to eat it!! so I stuck it in my skirt pocket and kept going. I do wish someone would have had pretzels!!!!
Also around 6 or 7 I saw Jackie, as soon as I saw the Cabot shirt I knew it was her and I was worried. She is an awesome runner MUCH faster than me so for me to catch up with her meant she wasnt' feeling well. When I caught up with her just past an aid station we walked for a second and then ran togeteher for a little bit. As soon as I first saw her I thought I am just going to stay with Jackie, but I found myself pulling away a little and she said "Have an awesome finish" so I knew I should keep going, and anytime I started to feel like it was getting hard I just thought about Jackie and would keep pushing through. I wanted to have an awesome finish for her!! and I did :)
I think it was around mile 10.5 when I finally caught back up with the 2:15 group, I thought ok here I am now I can just relax and hang with these guys for the rest of the race. It was getting hard for me to stay with them I kept slowing down and then I thought why am I doing this..just go!! so I did and just prayed that I wouldn't die and have to watch them pass me.
When I finally made the turn for the final stretch I could hear people yelling my name but at first I couldn't see them, but then as I got closer I saw Brenda, Andrea, Lisa, Cindy... they were all yelling for me and as I got close to them Brenda screamed PUSH IT so I found that other gear and I was able to sprint in and that was a great feeling. My finishing time was 2:13:30 a 5 minute PR and on a hilly course, so I am very happy!!
One of the great things about this race was how many people along the course I knew... I think at least 4 or 5 times I would hear someone yell my name :) and then at the finish line the lady who put my mylar blanket around my shoulders was someone I've met at a lot of races and she knew my name and gave me a big hug and congratulated me.
After I got my medal and water I headed over to Brenda and the girls to help cheer on the rest of our Cabot bunch... along the way I got to see Cheryl, Kim and Tammy they all had GREAT races a huge PR for Cheryl and also a PR for Kim. This was Tammy's first 1/2 marathon and I think her first time running over 10 miles she and Cheryl finished in under 2:05.
When I got to Brenda and Andrea I found out they also had great races and PR's!! oh and Jane my running partner she finished in 2:03 I think whatever it was it was awesome and a big PR for her too!!
I really cannot say enough good things about this race it was so well organized and all the proceeds went to a great cause. Next year it will be part of the Grand Prix series and will be even bigger!
Tomorrow is another race.... the Mid South Marathon. We have said all along this is a training run but now that it is tomorrow I am getting nervous!!