YAY!!!!! What a great day.
I woke up at the crack of dawn to catch the buses that took us to the start. I was relieved to not wake up hungry, meaning that I ate plenty yesterday (must've been the Moose Tracks ice cream). The ride up was good - I sat by a super nice lady and we chatted. The staging area had tons of fires to keep everyone warm. The next hour went by pretty slow...I didn't know anyone around so I just sat quietly. I did a short 1 mile warm-up and my legs were feeling great.
When we lined up for the start, I didn't realize that I was standing RIGHT next to the guy that shot the gun. That came as a surprise! Oh well - we were off. There was a lead pack of about 5-6 guys that created a quick gap on the rest of the crew. The first 2 miles were pretty downhill, so I ran what I felt was half marathon effort (5:54, 5:56). That was a good feeling! The third mile was all uphill so I came in that mile at 6:15 - exactly what I expected.
Now all I had to do was cruise the downhill until a short hill at mile 11. There were two guys running together about 25 yards ahead of me. The next few miles I just tried to stay in check with them. Miles 4, 5, 6, 7 were 5:39, 5:45, 5:56, 5:55 respectively. Those miles flew by...miles go by so much faster when you're running faster (who would've thought?!).
Miles 8 and 9 were uneventful with times of 6:01 and 5:56. I started to feel the pace at mile 10. This is not surprising because the downhill gradient was less steep and I was going much faster than my goal pace (6:05/mile). I hit 10 in 6:10 and knew that I needed to pick it up and start racing. I passed one guy which lifted the spirits a bit. The next mile had a short hill, hence the 6:07. I was a little disappointed in the cheering for this section - people watching would just look at me and not say anything at all! It was kinda weird.
Anyways, I hit my goal pace in 6:04 for mile 12 and really tried to pick it up for the end. 5:45 last mile with :31 finish! I saw 100m away and knew I could break 1:18. Finished with a total time of 1:17:52. That's 2 minutes faster than my goal time and 4 minutes faster than my PR set a month ago (granted, it was an aided course with 1% downhill gradient overall). I honestly had no idea who was behind me or how far behind me they were because I did not see a girl after the very start of the race, but I think second place was 20 seconds slower.
The race was great overall - perfect temperature, VERY well run by the race director, every mile marker was right on, aid stations and bathrooms everywhere. I was super impressed. The only thing I really wish was better - the massages! I think it was more of a soft pet than a massage :o)
I took a shower then ran to watch Jake race. I was getting nervous about his race, but WOW he was running so fast with a mile to go and ran in 2:21:45. What a marathon debut.
I was very happy to put some names to faces today from people on the blog. Everyone is so nice and friendly - can't wait to see you for more races!
We got Dairy Queen after the race. Nothing like a large dip cone in celebration!