Early Sunday morning I woke up, threw on my running garb, grabbed my usual pre-run breakfast and headed out the door. I wanted to get to the race site with plenty of time to park (in my preferred spot), find my friends ( I had their bibs) and use the facilities. I accomplished all of that with time to spare. It was a very relaxed race day for me. I love running races with friends.
Two nights before the race there was a heavy rain storm over the area. Then it preceded to rain again the night before. As a result the race course was changed. It is usually a 10 mile loop, but half of the course was flooded, so they made it an out and back. It was going to be a muddy and hilly race no matter how you sliced it.
There were a handful of waves of runners going off every 2 minute or so. I didn’t pay too much attention how they were organized, but I ended up somewhere near the back of the pack. It wasn’t a huge race, so I was not worried about getting held back. I stared the race with a couple of friends. They decided to run together, but they knew I had a plan for this race and would eventually jet out ahead.
Ms. Amanda, my running coach, asked me to keep as close to a 8:30 min/mile pace for the entire race. I was not to go any faster than that. I started off slow since we had to run around a very muddy grassy area and then through a huge mud puddle to get to the limestone path. There was no other way but through this giant mud puddle. My feet sunk and when I lifted them up a blocks of mud were stuck to my shoes. After running on the path for a short while I took off and left my two friend behind. I upped my pace and was passing people for most of the race. There were times when I was easily running and times when I was struggling. It was an over cast day, which helped, but the humidity was out of control. With the conditions that day I did the very best I could. Some miles were faster than 8:30 and some where slower.
When the race was over my watch reported an average 8:45 min/mile. However, I forgot to turn my watch on at the beginning of the race so my stats were delayed. My watch read about a quarter of a mile behind the mile markers on the course, which was a nice mind game. I was please with my results, but when I was able to check the official results I did much better than I had previously thought. 1:25:40 was my final time, which comes out to an 8:34 min/mile average. So of course Ms. Amanda was right again! I beat my 10 PR (from two years ago) by 11:14!
I couldn’t be more please with the improvements I have made over the last few years. I have a feeling I am going to be setting a lot of PRs on my marathon training journey. Thanks to the confidence my coach has in me I am starting to cultivate that confidence in myself.
I love this race. It’s has several packet pickup options, it’s close to home, there’s easy parking, cool t-shirt and medal too. It is also a smaller race, but not too small. I will definitely run this race again and you should too.