I have done this twice now, and both times felt fantastic the day of the race. I think for my upcoming half marathon I will extend this to maybe 3 days prior. It seems to agree with me.
Another thing that seems to bring me success is a good pre-race warm-up. For Monday's race I did a good 2 mile slow warm-up. By the start of the race I was all ready to go - systems cleared (wink), muscles warmed-up, core temperature warmed up.
I had no intention of going for a PR in this race. It was a last minute decision to do it and was mostly about going out there with my friends and enjoying the course.
We started at the VERY back of the pack. This was a new thing for me. I've never started at the very back. It wasn't a huge race, but decent ... about 1200 people. We actually walked across the starting line. Though right away I knew I had to break through the pack or I would feel frustrated - I don't like to shuffle. I said goodbye to my friends and began the weaving game.
Mile 1 - 8:30
The first 1/2 mile I was weaving the entire time. People were leaving room, but you did have to find it. I only really got walled a few times. It wasn't until after the first mile before I could run freely without having to dodge the whole time. I think I could have picked up 45 seconds or so in this mile had I started closer to the front, but I don't regret starting at the back. It was almost fun dodging everyone this time.
Mile 2 - 8:49
The only slightly challenging hill was a bridge. It's a long one though and seems to go on for a while. I've run it before and knew to pace myself. Because I'd reserved a little there, as I crested the bridge I picked up speed and started passing people who had flown past me going up it. I checked my time and was pleasantly surprised with how I was doing ... so, I decided to hold her steady and finish with a decent time.
Mile 3 & 4 - 8:26 and 8:29
It was an absolutely GORGEOUS route, the sun was shining and reflecting off the water. I really forced myself to look around and enjoy the scenery instead of just focusing on my finish time. I wanted to experience this run.
There was pretty decent support throughout the run. For a small run there were quite a few people out there with bells and pom poms. The people at the 5K water station were great.
Mile 5 & 6 - both 8:21
I was starting to tire here. This is typically when I peeter out in a 10K and start to lose steam. I wanted to push a bit harder, but my legs were feeling the after effects of my mountain climbing.
This is when I remember a technique that some runners do. I started picking off runners. I'd look ahead and say to myself, "the women in the green, catch her". Then when I did I'd pick another person. This completely carried me these last two miles. What a great way to occupy your brain. Every time you catch someone you feel a sense of accomplishment. Of course, there is a strategy to who you pick to pass. It has to be attainable.
The Finish - 7:41 pace for 0.2
With 0.2 to go, I gave it my all. I LOVE to finish strong. Although this almost got me in trouble because I was weaving through some people and missed seeing a park bench until the last moment and had to hop the corner of it. Whoops!
Finish Time - 52:18
Just over a minute slower than my PR, but I'm totally happy with it. I never intended to PR, wasn't prepared to PR, and given the course differences this will probably never be a PR type race.
What a fantastic race though! Great support, the most incredible food at the finish (yes, I ate myself silly! No regrets on that), probably the prettiest course I've ever run. Awesome!
Sadly my husband couldn't run it as he is still nursing an injury, plus he had a job to finish that morning. :( I know he'd love it and I really hope we both get to do it next year ... of course with our friends who took me there.
My friend has a great picture of me from after the race. I'm waiting for her to send it to me and then I will share.
Race's are so much fun! I wish I could do them all the time.
Speaking of upcoming races ....
My blog buddy Fran is hosting a virtual run on either October 30th or 31st (you pick) - the Virtual Pink Dress Run. Conditions are that you must wear pink and post of picture of you wearing it. Check out her blog HERE and join us if you can. It's an international affair. ;)