This year's race was a bit of a mix bag for me. Getting to the race was a blast. After getting up at 5 am and eating my sister, her friend who was visiting for the weekend, and I all jumped on MARTA to the start line. We got our picture taken a few times along the way, and then I started running into friends. First, my friend Renee who I had seen in ages. It was great to catch up with her. Then Rachel got my attention (I'm not sure how long she had been yelling. I got up at 5, I was little tired...), and then a whole mess of Team in Training friends!
Believe it or not I actually had a plan going into the race. I wanted to take advantage of the 1st 3 miles that were downhill. It would give me a chance to get warmed up without having to work too hard, and it I would have a good time base going into the hills. After that I could sprint to the finish. The best part was having friends and my coach from last fall on this part of the course. I stop for hugs!! ;-)
Splits: mile 1 9:09, mile 2 8:39, mile 3 8:36
Ah yes, the hills. The second half of the course is pretty much all uphill. Fortunately I've been running the hardest one at least once a week for the last several weeks, so I knew I could get up the darn thing. It's a two part hill that goes right in front of the hospital and has earned the name "Cardiac Hill" (not only because it's in front of the hospital, but there have also been several heart attacks). My parents were waiting to cheer me on at the flat part between the two inclines. I knew running up to them that I was starting to get into trouble
(not my favorite picture, but it gives you an idea of what's going on)
I got up to the waterstop at the top of the second incline and walked through it, drinking half the cup, and dumping the rest on my head. I knew I was starting to overheat, so I tried slowing down. I knew I had one more major hill to get up before things got a bit easier. For the better part of the next mile I had to run/walk. I didn't have a choice. I was too hot, and between waterstops. I was mad at myself for half a minute, and then the light bulb went on. I needed to focus on what was going on. I needed to cool down. It didn't mater how much time it took, I had to do it. After getting across the highway overpass the street is finally shaded for minute, and I was able to start running again, and make it to the next waterstop. I wasn't so worried about drinking water. I had a sports drink with me, and I was actually worried that I had been drinking too much. I took one sip, and then dumped the almost full cup over my head and the back of my neck. After that I started cruising. I kept telling myself it didn't mater about my pace. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I don't know when things started to pick up. It was rather gradual. All I know is that I didn't feel like I was running. I felt like I was flying. I didn't feel rushed, or out of breathe. It was the most amazing feeling. I got to mile 5 and looked at my watch for the first time and couldn't believe it when I saw 48:00. I had 12 minutes left to match my time from last year. Heck I could do that. I hit 12th street, 2 blocks till the turn. Next thing I knew I was zooming pass Margaret Mitchell's house and turning onto 10th street. It was all downhill, and that's when the sprint started. Despite almost running straight into a lady who decided to walk across the street right in front of me I cruised home to the finish a full minute ahead of last year's PR in 58:15!
Splits: mile 4 10:10, mile 5 11:02, mile 6 8:32, .20 2:07 (a 7:16 pace!)
Sprinting to the finish
post race group shot
Looking back I wish I could have miles 4 and 5 back. I know I did the right thing, I just wish things had gone differently. I'm feeling much better about my training for Chicago. It's been hard doing runs this summer, and I've had to slow down a lot to deal with the heat and humidity. I spent the rest of the day with a headache and sneezing my head off before heading to the Braves game with my family. They lost, of course (they always seem to loose when I'm there), but there was an awesome post game concert by Yacht Rock Revue (they were also at the race finish area), and fireworks. So much fun singing along! Oh, and I had ice cream. That seemed to fix everything :-)