Good racing start to the year!
I was super nervous for this race. I haven't raced since November and have only been feeling strong (back from injuries and a pitiful 4 month post-marathon recovery) for about 3-4 weeks. With that said, my fitness has come back pretty solid in the past few weeks and I have been able to get in some great workouts. I still had lots of doubts and low confidence though (within reason, I mean I was struggling to break 8:30 miles a month ago) - my A+ goal today was 17:30.
I did a 15 minute warm-up followed by 6-8 strides trying to get a feel for pace. The elite field was very intimidating - Kim Smith, Desi Davila, Stephanie Rothstein, a few Ethiopians, etc. I got some great pictures next to Kim Smith :) I'm still not sure how I got elite status with my name on my bib and everything! I knew the race was going to go out fast so my goal was to be super conservative and go for negative splits.
As soon as the gun went off, I was immediately engulfed by the field. A lot of really fast people! However, I was very proud to look at my Garmin and see that I was going the exact pace I wanted. There was a good hill at the end of the first mile but it didn't seem to affect me. It helped that Rachelle was at mile 1 cheering for me! First mile was 5:45. The first half of mile 2 was an awesome downhill stretch followed by flat for the rest of the race. I hit the 2 mile mark with a pace of 5:41.
Here, a little 13 year old boy running decided to run with me and said "Come on - let's do this together!". Haha that just made me smile. He was about half my size too! I was feeling great so I really picked it up the last mile. We turned onto the finish line street with about a half mile to go and I ran hard. The last 1.1 was 5:21 pace and I finished in 17:23! I am slightly embarrassed to say that the 13-year old beat me, but what can you do?
It is a great feeling to know that I'm not even close to my best shape right now and was still able to run that fast. I probably could've gone out a little faster (given the much faster last mile) but I still think it was a smart move to be conservative.
After the race, I met up with JG, Dan, Hamdog, Jake, Rachelle, and (briefly) Steam8. So nice to put faces to names and talk with everyone. Several of us did a 4 mile jog around the parks. I wished them all the best of luck tomorrow and to go out CONSERVATIVE!
FYI - I was a little nervous about my hamstring which is why I'm wearing compression shorts. But I had no problems!
PM - 1.5 mile shake-out with Jake.