Note: I've never broken a race report into parts before but this one was getting too long so I decided to just go for it! Here's part 1!
After Sunday's race, I know what it is like to run 9.2 miles when the temperature is 16 degrees, but feels like 3.
This was the weather on Sunday (thanks, Suzy!):
16 degrees. And windy -- don't let the 12mph fool you. When it "feels like" 3 degrees and you're running into the wind, that 12mph "feels like" 50. No lie.
Yeah, the weather was the talk of the day but it didn't define it. Awesomeness did. Running the Winter Marathon Relay with Team Pink Ladies for the second year in a row was capital-A Awesome! For real.
But it didn't start out that way.
First, there was my sleep. Which lacked. Yup, the one night I really wanted some solid, uninterrupted sleep was the one night that everyone woke me up. Repeatedly. Life of a breastfeeding mom . . .
Who needs sleep anyway, right? Not me, apparently.
As I've said before, I'm dealing with the less-than-ideal sleep so it wasn't a big deal. I got up, had a breakfast of two pieces of toast with peanut butter, a big glass of water and some coffee. And then a little more coffee. I had packed all of my gear the night before so I was more or less ready to go. But there was one glitch -- Conal woke up with a slight cold (sneezing, runny nose) so that botched the morning plan for the boys and meant I had to unexpectedly rush around before heading out the door to go to the race. And once I did get out the door -- later than I had planned -- the car wouldn't start. What the what?!?!?
I almost screamed. Instead, I ran inside and got Owen and he started the car, promising me that it would start fine later, and then off I went. I rushed and rushed but ended up getting to the race late and flustered. Fortunately, my friends were all there and all helpful. As I mentioned on Friday, the relay was shaping up to be a bit of a running party with so many of my friends running and it really was great to see them when I got there.
I was running the first leg of the relay so being late wasn't cool. Sure, Suzy or Amanda could have taken my leg if I didn't make it there on time but that would have been incredibly lame. Who can't make it to a 10:00 start on time? Fortunately, I made it, bag o' nerves though I was. And with Suzy's help, I pinned my number on my jacket and was ready to go.
First, of course, we had to make time for some group pics. Since I was so flustered, I didn't take any photos but Suzy busted out her camera and let me
Pics done, we headed to the start line, which was not too far from the nice indoor gathering space but felt like it was miles away because of the cold (did I mention it was cold out?) wind.
We lined up with the rest of the nutty relay racers and the even nuttier full marathon racers. The relay is broken into three legs: 9.2, 5.7 and 11.3 miles. I was running the first leg, 9.2 miles. A decent race distance for this point in my half marathon training. I decided to use this as a tune-up race to check how my training really has been working and to see if I could hold my half marathon pace for the 9.2 miles. In my head, I've been thinking that I should be able to run at an 8:45 pace for the half. With 6 weeks to go until the half, I figured that if I could hold that pace over the 9.2 I would be in great shape to hold it over 13.1 miles. The most important thing would be to not start out too fast, since I'm prone to fast starts and end-of-race fades. Before the start, I told myself I didn't want to have any miles under an 8 min/mile pace. I drilled myself on that. Pace yourself. Pace yourself.
Here I am trying to stay warm before the start:
Futile efforts, for sure.
Just before the start of the race, we turned into uber-huggers and started sharing them all around. Then we lined up and listened to the barely audible instructions and the (no kidding) verbal call of, "On your mark. Get set. Go!"
And with that call, we were off . . .