It was race day!! I hydrated and laid out my clothes and gear the night before, took a benadryl and headed to bed around 9pm. Alarm went off at 5:30am, I checked the weather, got dressed, at cereal and drank tea and headed to Julie's house. I took ibuprophen for my knee and immodium for my belly before the start of the race. I ate a banana for energy. I gave myself a pep talk that went something like this: "This is just another run. Have fun with it. Just finish. Do not get left behind. There will be chocolate after."
It was cold. There was a .75 mile walk from the parking lot to the starting line, so all in we were moving for almost 11 miles that morning. This was by far the biggest race I'd ever done. The runners started in waves, spaced out by 90 seconds between each. Gun shot, we started. We set our pace at 9:20, which we were both comfortable with for that distance. It was a beautiful morning for a run, and I loved seeing the cold breath of all the runners like clouds in the air. The first four miles went by no problem. Around mile five there was a hill that it took everything in me not to ask Julie to walk up. I knew that if I stopped, she would likely keep going. This was a race afterall and I would probably have done the same thing. So I toughed it out and got up that dang hill, sounding like I had asthma the whole time. At one point, Julie looked at me and said 'take a deep breath!' That was the only mile that our pace was slower than we wanted (9:30). Our pace had been between 9:05-9:15, but there were two miles in a row that we were sub-8:50. I think we both thought we were trying to keep up with the other and ended up just running faster than we expected.
This race went through neighborhoods and there were several houses watching the racers. One house had four little kids hanging out the windows yelling 'Go Faster!' and 'You're almost there!' at all of us. You laugh so you don't cry ; )
Around mile 7 we could hear the finish line. It felt like such a tease to hear it so close and still have 2.3 miles to go. Around mile 8 my ear buds broke. Around mile 8.5 we finally passed a girl who had started in an earlier corral who bounced the entire course on pogo legs! At mile 9 we passed two girls who were walking and both wanted to yell at them 'what are you doing?! you're almost there!' When we could see the finish line we picked up the pace and ran as fast as we could. We finished at exactly the same time and it was amazing!!
I ran straight from the finish into the medic tent for my knee. I needed pain meds and BioFreeze, stat. I stretched and felt mostly ok. We got our chocolate mugs and were shivering from the cold, made worse from being sweaty. By the time we got inside our hands were burning like the early stages of frostbite. Ok, so I'm exaggerating... a little. We thawed out, took pictures, congratulated each other, shared stories, changed into dry clothes and started the long, cold walk back to the car. Celebratory pancakes for brunch and we were on our way, feeling accomplished and exhausted. My stomach held up, I ran the whole time, we beat our pace and my knee cooperated. Can't ask for more than that!
Final results: 1:26:08, pace of 9:15, 88th out of 477 other 30-34 year old women. Amazing!!