Race weekend ensued Friday night by meeting up with Miss Alyssa. Seriously, I'm not sure if there's a sweeter more fun gal in the world. For the record. We ate some food and called it a night since we had a 4:45am wake up call. Alyssa's friend Amy rolled home from work at 4:30 and we were up and at em and ready to head to the race. We got to the race after a couple of wrong turns ;) and immediately gave the race 5 stars out of a possible 5 for having sufficient parking extremely close to the starting line. It was humid out, but cool temps, so it wasn't kill yourself hot. Whoo! I was shooting for a PR and Alyssa was planning on a training run, as her goal HM is in October, and technically she's just starting her training for that.
We lined up and we were off. The race start was *so* congested. Right off the bat we were led to a 2-3 person width trail which doesn't work for a race start. Alyssa and I tried to run on the grass dodging trees to jockey for position. For some reason, the grass running made me super tired...yikes. It took to about the 2.5 mile marker for it to feel like I had some breathing room to run in. Alyssa and I ran together for about the first 4 miles, or I should clarify, I ran exactly one and one half feet behind her left shoulder for the first 4 miles. I'm weird like that. :) My Garmin was showing baaaaad paces (10:30-11:30 minute miles) which was annoying. I had planned to start the first few miles at 8:45 and progress from there, so when I saw my pace at 8:30, I decided to let Alyssa go ahead. Run like the wind my friend! :p
The course was beyond gorgeous. We ran through some beautiful wooded areas and around some lakes. I actually left my iPod off for the first few miles, because it was so calm and peaceful listening to all the hundreds of sneakers hitting the trail. Very zen moment. Ooops..... I'm racing...buh bye zen! Since the race is pegged as a very green and eco-friendly race, the race bibs had seeds embedded in them, so you can plant them after the race and they grow in to black eyed susans. I had joked that at mile 10, I had expected to be sprouting flowers since I sweat so much. Uh...try mile 4 or 5. That was the first time that the bib ripped and I had to re-safety pin it. And again at mile 6. And again at mile 8. Finally at mile 11 I let it go. Buh bye race bib. :'(
At the halfway point (6.65) I knew that I had a PR in the bag as long as I didn't slow down the second half of the race. Since I'm known to have a strong finish and run a negative split in races, I wasn't too concerned. Unfortunately, I was unconcerned enough to continue pushing the pace. For some reason, I kept thinking I would pick up the pace, and I didn't. With 5 miles to go, I'll pick it up....nope. 4 miles.... you can run a 1:51 if you put in the effort....nada. 5k to go, this is where you shine....just kidding. Seriously.... 2 miles? Are you even racing?... hmmm... not sure. One mile, seriously you should at least run a strong final mile....meh.
So as you can see the 8:45, 8:35, 8:25, 8:15 progression that I had planned did not happen, but I still PR'd. Apparently I just wasn't in this race as mentally as I should have been. I am still ECSTATIC that I PR'd, don't get me wrong, just bummed that I didn't seem to have any mental toughness. Possibly because this isn't my goal HM race (that's coming in September) I didn't feel the need to push it, I'm not sure. But it's definitely lit a fire under my booty to push hard at the Sioux Falls HM and to do whatever is necessary to get my legs and my brain on the same page in the meantime.
I finished the 13.1 in 1:52:42 for a 27 second PR (so I ran the second half about 18 seconds faster than the first half :p).
This was a fabulous race. Like I said, beautiful course. Super flat course (even though I was convinced it was hilly until I looked at the elevation on my Garmin.... apparently I'm insane). Awesome shirts. Sweet recycled bags. Great crowd support. One failure = no finisher's medals. This girl likes her bling, so I may have complained once a thousand times about the lack of medal. :( But I would highly recommend this race to anyone in the Twin Cities area. Make sure to check out Alyssa's race report to see how she did (no spoiler's here!).