I've run this race 3 other times and was going to use this race to see where I was for the beginning of race season and to see how much work I had ahead of me. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised!
This would be the first REAL race(not including the one I ran a month ago with a friend, since we jogged it) since my herniated disc injury last August. I wasn't really expecting much, but was hoping to get around the 25 minute mark.
I picked up my friend's teenage daughter and headed to Sterling! Last year, we were the last to arrive and sign up so we both signed up in advance this year. When we got there the overflow parking lot was almost full. A far cry from last year since we were about one of five cars in the lot at that time.
We jogged to the signup table where we would pick up our numbers and then jogged to the starting. A little stretch here...a little stretch there and we were ready. My GPS just wouldn't calibrate to where we were so I just turned it off.
The gun went off and that was the last I saw of Kayla's back(my friend's daughter). I tried to maintain what I thought was a pace I could hold the whole race. I heard them yell out 7:45 for the first mile. Half of it was on a constant uphill so I was a little nervous thinking I may have started too fast.
I was slowly picking off other racers one by one. Right after mile one, I passed a gal, but shortly after that she flew by me. I figured she had just been taking it easy the first mile....or maybe it was because we were starting to go down a gradual decline. Either way, I didn't mind because I was keeping MY pace and felt it was going good.
The last half of the race is a series of rolling hills. Two of the last ones being what I call, "Tiptoe Hills". You know....ones you have to go on tiptoe to climb? The first one is where I ended up flying past the gal that flew past me on the downhill. My legs felt very good on the hills this time for this race. The second and last steep hill is the one that gets me every time. Every year I end up walking most of it. Here's my theory on this: Every person that passes me on that hill I end up passing by the finish. Reason: They have used so much energy in running the hill that I can walk not much slower(it's only about 40 yards long). I'm able to catch my breath at that point and have energy to pick it up to the end.
This year was different. My goal was to use my arms to pump up the hill as best I can until I couldn't take it any longer. This year I made it until about 10 yards to the top, where I walked a few steps. Just enough to catch my breath and take off again. No worries....no one passed me this time. Not even the girl I passed.
I looked up as I approached the finish line and saw 24:12!!! I couldn't believe it! Finish time was 24:17!!! That was right where I normally was for that race! I did WAYYYY better than I thought.
I ended up getting 2nd in my AG as opposed to 1st Female Master's like last year. But the competition this year was tough. I couldn't have beaten the 1st Female Master's on my best run. She finished at around 22 minutes. In my dreams!!!
Now....to recupe and get ready for the Raging Road Rally 5K in my hometown! Maybe if I'm lucky, I'll once again get 1st LOCAL Master's Female! One can only hope!