Today was the second leg of the three race series, the Polar Bear Grand Prix. This race was 4 miles on a familiar course that has a couple of killer hills. I woke up this morning and visualized me running a PR and got up, followed through my pre-race routine and a little after 7AM, I heard it--the rain came all at once and it was pouring down! I expected rain but I was kinda hoping it would be a light mist--not a pourdown!
When Joey and I got there, we found a decent parking space and sat in the warm car for a few minutes getting everything ready before hopping out into the cold and the rain, which had died down considerably to that mist I was wishing for. (MISTY RAIN!!!)
I had to go to the bathroom, which is customary for me before a race and luckily, I saw Joe coming out just as I was getting in line. We hooked up with Tom and did our warm up a few minutes before the start. The warmup actually made me feel a little off balance and my ears felt a little strange--I didn't have them covered and I think that's why. When we finished our warm up, we came back together at the start line and a relatively new forum member approached us and introduced himself! I was pretty excited to meet him, and glad he wasn't scared to approach our crazy asses!! Scott, if you read this, it was a great pleasure to meet you and I'm really glad you were there to help push Joey a little!
As for the race itself--I had a great first mile. I felt strong, got in the groove relatively quickly, thanks to our warm up and just ran a smooth, comfortable 9:30 pace. Can you believe I'm actually calling 9:30 comfortable? LOL It was mostly downhill and smooth but I felt great and earlier this year, I would NEVER have been able to run that quickly!
I didn't check my Garmin much during the first 2 miles, as I was just focused on running as fast as I could comfortably, and I was just HOPING to reach mile 2 in 20:00. I also got to see Joe, Tom and Joey (I somehow missed Scott) pass and that TOTALLY made me feel happy and distracted! At the 2 mile split, the guy called out 19:00 and while I was elated to have surpassed my goal, it was at this point that I realized I still had a tough time ahead but that I wasn't ready to give up. I still felt like I could totally pull off the 40:00 race.
By mile 2.5 though, I started to crumble. The hills were popping up and my early speed was catching up to me...my legs were fine but for the first time in several months, I was actually REALLY short of breath. I slowed down and even had to stop and walk for several seconds just to calm my breathing down as I was going up the worst hill.
I can't recall the mile 3 split but I just kept pushing to the end of the race--when I rounded the top of the final hill as I was approaching the finish, I knew I was close and I looked ahead to see the time. I knew I was going to finish with a brand new PR and a milestone of which to be proud. I finished several seconds after the 39:00 mark and I am SO PROUD! A new PR, and my first time running a sub-10:00 pace during a race that long!
UPDATE: Race results have been posted and they have my official time as 39:00!!
I had a blast as usual, and I'm loving these PRs every time--though I am aware that I will not PR every race I run. I'm just excited to see improvement, as I say so often. I'm proud of the work I've done!
Tom, Joe, Scott and Joey ran GREAT races, all of which should be very proud. We're such a tough group!!!!! I'm bummed I didn't get to speak to Hippiedigger--I saw someone standing with Tom and Joe after the finish but I didn't recognize him or even have a clue who he was, and I had to take off to catch up with Joey. Maybe I'll get to holler at him next time!
And of course, Panera Bread was THE BOMB!!!! I LOVE LOVE their breakfast. And I always love the company!
After breakfast, I went home and showered and Joey and I watched Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (second try)--bleh. After the movie, I got the urge to log some more miles so I headed up to the park to meet mom. I got in a VERY solid 4 miles that actually seemed to loosen me up and make me feel so much better.
Feels like next week should be a taper week but it's not...hopefully I can take it easy but still get in some quality workouts. I hope everyone has a great weekend, and everyone who raced--I hope it went great.
By the way, I'm loving these guys, I just bought them last week and they've been great for me!