On Saturday I went head-to -head with the Monument Avenue 10k, and… here’s how it went down:
Friday afternoon Gabe and I went to the race expo to pick up our numbers, t-shirts, and lots of free samples. (Gabe is a girl, by the way, in case I don’t know you in real life :)) That evening I laid out my race outfit, just to make sure I had everything together.
We had Gabe and her boyfriend Jeff over for a pre-race, pasta dinner (brown rice pasta for Andrew and me, whole wheat for Gabe and Jeff.) Using a basic canned tomato sauce as the base, we sauteed in olive oil some mushrooms, garlic, onion (saving some without onion for me,) and ground beef, then added bay leaves, basil, cayenne pepper, oregano, and thyme and let simmer for a while.
The pasta + salads + garlic sourdough toast made an excellent meal! We ended up eating on the back deck because it was such a beautiful night. It might be time to purchase some deck furniture…
Yep, we set up four TV trays and took our kitchen chairs outside. Hah! A little ghetto, but it worked 😀
After loading up on carbs and getting a good night of sleep, it was race time. The weather was absolutely perfect: mid 50’s and sunny. To avoid traffic and parking issues with local races, my preferred method of arriving at the starting line is to drive close, and then bike a mile or two to the start. It’s a good warm up, and it reduces the risk of arriving late due to traffic and/or parking (which I did once, and ended up running a mile to the start of a half marathon, which started while I was running there. Stressful to the max.) Anyway, we parked about two miles away, where Andrew was planning to spectate. The course is more or less an out-and-back on Monument Avenue, and there’s a large, grassy median where Andrew stood so he could catch us around mile 2 and then again at mile 4.
Gabe and I met up, made our way to our corral, and before long we were running! Our plan was to start slower than goal pace (which, to run under 50 minutes was about 8:03 min/mile,) then make up the time in the second half. There’s a strong tendency on race day to get caught in all the excitement and start running too fast, so we had to make a conscious effort to hold back a little. (Andrew’s thoughts on this plan? “You should start running fast, run fast in the middle, and run fast at the end!” ;-))
We ran the first mile at an 8:08 min/mile pace. Mile two was 7:59 min/mile. When we passed Andrew we were going strong!
Why are so many other people in the photo looking at the camera? Because Andrew was yelling, “Goooo! You’re running so fast!!! Run faster!!!” 😀 My mom and Walter came to cheer us on too, and we saw them at the halfway point! It’s always so great to have people rooting for you!
We ran mile 3 at an 8:04 pace. Somewhere in the next mile, Gabe told me to run ahead. I yelled at her to stay with me, but at some point I looked back and couldn’t find her, so I kept going (we talked about this scenario before the race… it’s what she wanted. :)) Soon after that I passed Andrew again and gave him my best, “I lost Gabe!” face:
Mile 4– 7:57 pace. Mile 5– 7:47. At this point I had made up the lost time from the start and felt confident that, unless something crazy happened, I’d break 50 minutes! My legs and lungs still felt strong.
Mile 6 I ran in 7:31, and the .2 home stretch took about 1:37, which means…
I BROKE 50 MINUTES!!
Kind of crushed it, in fact 🙂 My official time was 49:00. My average pace was 7:52 min/mile. I was ecstatic (still am, really.) Gabe finished in 50:41, which was a PR for her, so we were both very pleased.
It was a fantastic day, and I am so relieved to finally break that darn 50 minute mark. Time to set some new goals and keep running!