we all know i was going into the race with a moderate goal of a 1:50:00 finishing time. i also was REALLY sticking to my guns about not going out too fast. the course is relatively flat, but the only hills come in the last four miles. the first three miles are net downhill, in fact. but i made the mistake of running a sub-23:00 for my first 5k split last year, and that did NOT bode well for the next 10 miles.
i had been placed in the A corral due to my time last year, and i hung out waaaay in the back. the gun went off and i trotted out nice and easy. my legs felt really good, and the pace felt super comfortable. i guess-timated i was running a mid-8:00; when i looked down at my garmin i was really surprised to see a 7:58 looking back at me.
i kept chatting with myself to keep it easy…but my pace felt really comfortable, and my HR was nowhere near alarmingly high, so i just kind of rolled along. miles 2, 3, 4, and 5 passed in 7:49, 7:45, 7:46, and 7:43. it was perfect running weather, and for the first race in my life i wasn’t trying to “beat” anyone. i barely noticed the people around me, in fact.
at the beginning of mile 6 i walked a water stopped and shoved 2 juju fish in my face lol. chewing and running is a bit of a struggle, and it took a bit to get back into my rhythm, but that mile clicked by in 7:57. miles 7 and 8 were both sub-8:00, as well.
it was about here that i thought – “holy crap, i might run this in 1:45:00!” my legs felt great; my fueling plan was working out (i also walked a water stop during mile 8). we got to chruchill downs right at the start of mile 9 (great scenery; nothing like the smell of horse poop to get you moving!).
i literally almost cheered out loud at the beginning of mile 10 because we were finally in double digits and i still felt awesome. the last couple of miles on the course are where the uphills generally exist. i started mile 10 with a little bit of a kick, which i started to regret about halfway through that mile. i started to fight a little bit around mile 11, and that was my first (and only!) super-8:00 mile, at 8:02.
i inhaled an orange slice at the beginning of mile 12, and from there on out it was just all out. i hit the mile 12 marker and realized that i was not only going to run sub-1:45:00, but i was going to come damn close to my time from last year.
my last 2 splits were 7:49 and 7:50, and a 6:28 pace for the final tenth haul.
i clocked 1:42:54. just 2 seconds slower than last year – with a surgery, rehab, and a 30-pound weight rebound in the middle. i have never had runner’s high like that before.
i have never run such a smart race before, either. i took 30+ seconds off my mile time from the railrunner early last month. my splits were unbelievably even, and only slightly positive. (contrast to last year, when i was about as positively-split as i could get).
my feet fared well – only one teeny blister – and my knee was only minimally stiff yesterday. today my legs were a bit stiff and sore, so i made today shoulders and back instead of squats and deadlifts.
i have other stories to tell from the race – one in particular from while i was in churchill downs – and other things to talk about. but i wanted to right about the race while it was in my mind, and because i’ve spent the past four months boring you all with my training!
hope you all had a splendid weekend! : )