I was anxious going into this race like I am every other race. My coach had me using heart rate training. Usually I would run full out and hard every run, so I would know what I was capable of. I would also end up injured. Heart rate training has kept me injury free, but I was going into this race not knowing what I was capable of. My coach had given me a goal pace of 8:10!!! I have to admit I thought she was a little crazy, but of course I hoped she was right!! I felt like 8:10 was a very ambitious goal. I figured I would aim for 8:20 and make my stretch goal 8:10 and if I was really lucky I would make it somewhere in between. My friend Meredith and I went on a warm up run before the race and this is something I will always try to do. Usually the first mile of the race I spend working out aches and pains and any kinks I have. This time I didn't have to. I felt great from the start. I was at an 8:00 pace and my legs felt strong and my breathing was steady. A few miles in I saw my coach Gena and her husband Greg. It was great seeing them out there! I was getting hot so I started getting water at every station and taking a drink and pouring the rest on me. I made it to the halfway mark and I still felt great! My pace was steady and each step closer I knew I could do it. At about mile 9 I saw Coach Gena and Greg again. She said I was at an average sub 8 pace! I got excited and started pushing harder and my breathing was all off. Another runner reminded me to focus on my breathing and I did just that. I got it under control, I made it up the bridge and down, and turned the corner towards where I knew the largest crowd would be waiting. I took my headphones out so I could hear the cheering. When I did that it caused my phone to slide out of my armband and fall on the ground. Here is where I learned a very important lesson. Never ever under any circumstances bend over after running really hard for 10 miles. First my knees hit the ground and then I fell forward. The crowd collectively gasped, went silent, and then cheered as I got myself up and started to run again. Oh the humiliation! I remember scanning the crowd wondering if there was anyone out there I knew that may have witnessed my lack of grace. My friend Leanne snapped this pic right after I got back up. I swallowed my tears, put a smile on my face, and made it to that finish line. I was hyperventilating at that point and had trouble keeping back the tears of humiliation. My parents found me and my mom told me I had to have finished in close to 20 minutes. I waited a few minutes for them to post the first sheet of results. I got my finish time of 1:20:46. I knew it was really good but I still didn't know my pace. I was ready to just get home. In the car I checked results and there it was an 8:04 pace!! 8:04!!! I did it! I didn't just meet my goal I surpassed it! Nothing like a little dose of humility with my pride!
I ran this course a year ago with a finish time of 1:30:27 and a pace of 9:03. This year I beat my time by 10 minutes!! Ain't nothin' gonna keep me down! Got my PR baby!!