If you haven't read Part 1 you can find it HERE.
OK, so on with the race!
Janis and me at the start. Yes, we are in matching jackets.
Before I get too far into it, let me point out that this race is small. The marathon had 77 finishers and there were 43 relay teams. So there were about 110 of us at the start. This meant that there weren't crowds of people holding me back from a fast start. And because I was so itching to race, I needed to be held back.
I spent the entire first mile trying to rein myself in. Pace yourself. Don't go out too fast. You've got miles and miles to go. Live your Plan A. No 7s. No 7s.
That was the big thing. I didn't want to run anything under an 8-minute mile because I didn't want to burn out early in the race and end up dragging for the remaining miles. My goal was to run at a pace I believe I can hold for 13.1 miles, or 8:40 per mile.
Since there were so few people in the race I was quickly running by myself. A few times I fell into step with someone and we ran together for a bit but I was mostly running alone. Occasionally I would pass someone or someone would pass me. Whenever someone passed me I thought about trying to go with them but then remembered by own advice. Run your own race. Live your Plan A. And I would hold back and keep to my own pace.
Which was hard to do at times, given the crippling winds that cropped up throughout the course. But I like to think I did relatively well sticking to my pace.
I had told Suzy, who was running the second leg, that I thought I would finish around 80 minutes. At the first turn-around (the course is an extremely exciting five looper around the state office campus and some roads on the UAlbany campus) I caught sight of the clock (there were no time markers anywhere else on the course) and it read 28-something. For some reason I thought the turn-around was at Mile 3 so I figured I was way off pace. In reality, the turn-around was at 3.5 or so. But, I didn't figure that out until later.
Waving to Suzy just before the first turn-around.
Suzy was out cheering me on like the super teammate she is and when I saw her after the turn-around, I told her I was probably going to be slower than I had originally thought. She was encouraging, though, and didn't seem to mind. I, on the other hand, did.
Feeling a tad deflated by what I thought was my time through 3 miles, I tried to pick it up. When I hit the Mile 5 marker, though, I realized that I had been wrong at the turn-around. My time was 41:13. Clearly, I was running fine, under my 8:40/mile goal.
So then I just ran. I often had to run with my poor hand in front of my face to block the frigid wind but I kept running strong. I was feeling good and at Mile 7 I felt sure that I could beat 80 minutes so I started to tell myself to run hard. I didn't need to hold back at that point, I needed to push. It wasn't easy to push in the wind and cold but I gave it a shot.
As proof of how ridiculously cold it was, the Gatorade I had in my handheld bottle began to ice up over the course of the race. Yeah, nothing like chugging down ice crystals on the run! Oh, and my jellybeans (my "fuel" of choice) were as hard as rocks when I tried to eat them. I managed to suck on a few of them until they were pliable enough to eat and then I just gave up. Plus my fingers weren't all that happy when I took my gloves off to fish the 'beans out of my pockets.
I pushed on to the turn-around where I saw Amanda and Suzy waiting for me:
I tagged Suzy and she was off on her leg. And then I felt like I would hurl.
Seriously. Poor Amanda had to listen to me curse about the cold and the wind and speak complete nonsense the entire way back to the indoor waiting area. I was just spent. Cold and spent.
But happy! I had BEATEN my goal. Here are my splits:
Mile 1: 8:08
Mile 2: 7:55
Mile 3: 8:17
Mile 4: 8:30
Mile 5: 8:29
Mile 6: 8:19
Mile 7: 8:43
Mile 8: 8:23
Mile 9: 8:46
last .26: 2:06 (8:08 pace)
Total: 1:17:30, avg 8:22 per mile
26th out of 43 overall for my leg (male and female)
Yay, yay, yay!
After I warmed up and grabbed some coffee and a banana, I realized that I had beaten my goal by almost 20 seconds per mile. I can't tell you how happy that makes me!
I changed out of my race garb and then Owen showed up to drop my 4-month old off (so I could nurse him, etc.).
My finger chomper, hanging with the runners!
After I finished my leg, Suzy went out and ran her 5.7 mile leg and Amanda ran her 11.3 miles. Both of them did GREAT!
Go, Amanda, go!
Amanda bringing it home for the team!
Not to be too boastful but we kicked some serious butt! Our official time was 4:05:34 -- 16 minutes better than last year! Can't wait to see how much we improve next year.
Suzy, Amanda, me after the relay.
It was such a fun day: Relays are awesome. It was especially fun this year because my good friends Janis and Bridget were part of a team, too. Janis ran the same leg as me, which was her longest run ever! And Bridget ran her leg through some bad foot pain, but she toughed it out. Way to go, girls!
Janis, me, Bridget before the race.
So, here we are at the end. Thanks for your endurance in making it through my race reports! I'm hoping this report is just the first of many for this year.
In the meantime, hope you're all having a good week. Thanks for stopping by!