For the fourth year in a row I crossed two bridges in two states and had one EPIC finish -- their phrasing, not mine.
The big question with this race is "what time did it *really* start?" In 2012 it started 45 minutes late. In 2013 it started 15 minutes late. In 2014 it started 22 minutes late. This year it started 14 minutes late. I did not hear a reason for the late start this year. It is something I have come to expect with the race and have learned to go with the flow. Fortunately this year it was 60 at the start (and overcast) so I was not uncomfortable.
One of the joys of these local races is bumping into local running friends. Though there were 3,300 runners and I saw pictures of my friends with their medals after the race, I only bumped into Michelle and Kim at this race. Later I learned Gabrielle PR'd and won our age category.
At 900 runners, Black Girls Run is the largest group at this race. I applaud them for all they are doing to encourage black women to make healthier choices. This year for the first time I saw the male group represented, Black Men Run. The feminist in me wants to shout if it is Black GIRLS Run, then it should be Black BOYS Run, or Black WOMEN Run and Black MEN Run, but they did not ask my opinion during naming. Throughout the course I heard shouts of BGR! Not only did they have the most runners, their friends and family members cam out to cheer for them along the route. May their actions encourage more women to get out an get healthier.
I had two goals for this race: 1) beat last year's time and 2) finish the 10K before the first runner finishes the half marathon.
We hung out behind Waterfront Park and chit chatted. My only complaint is the announcer made it sound as if there was a start time for the half, then a different start time for the 10K, and a third start time for the 5K. The website clearly stated the half and 10K started together than the 5K. By the time he corrected his mistake (silly me for listening) the chute was overflowing and I was not with the 11 minute pace group. It took me at least a mile to find my flow.
I only took one picture during the race. It was within the first mile when we were still pretty bunched up. If you want to see pictures from the race, click on the above links to see previous years' pictures. The first two years I ran the half marathon. The past two years I did the 10K. I love the 10K distance more, but I did miss the loop through Mill Hill. That was my favorite section the second year.
I felt stronger throughout this race. I kept up with my 1 minute:30 seconds intervals. For a while I was with the same group of runners, but we lost each other at a water station. I was feeling fabulous until I hit the timing mat just before a big hill in Morrisville. I thought I had already gone up that hill and had nailed it, but no. It was purely psychological in my part. I saw the hill and my legs said "no way, Jose." So I walked it. At the top I told them to get back to running, and they did. About this point I heard someone say to her friend (as I passed them) "we are doing great, we are maintaining a 9:40 pace." My best ever has been a 10:53 pace and that was on a flat course. In the end, it was an 11:15 minute mile, with none of my miles being under 10 minutes (the best was about 10:53).
I saw a boy just after the second bridge looking at the sign that said 10K to the right, Half to the left, and wondered where his race (the 5K) was supposed to be. Ooops! He missed the turn. He looked strong, and some runners pointed him to the 10K mark, and 1.75 miles to the finish line. He picked up speed as only a young kid and do and blasted past us.
Along the boring stretch of Route 29 I heard a man coaching a woman to just breathe as we went up an overpass (overpasses=hills). I thanked him for the reminder. He smiled and said his advice was free.
Rats, I do have another complaint. Mile markers. The 10K people had one for miles one and two, then we didn't merit any others. I saw mile markers for the half marathon. Towards the end I saw mile marker 12, which should have meant we still had 1.1 miles to the finish line. My Nike watch said I only had .7 miles to the end. Fortunately my watch was right. Again, I felt psychologically drained at the thought of having to go an extra .4 of a mile.
By this point, the stadium was in sight. I was on target to make both of my goals. I dropped my intervals as soon as I entered Waterfront Park and ran to the finish line. The finish line said 57:00 -- wow! then I realized that was the 5K clock, which was 15 minutes behind the 10K/Half Marathon clock. Oh well. Still an awesome finish for me.
My official time was:
JACQUELYN PILLSBURY just crossed the Finish in a time of 1:09:55! A new PR for me. Last year's pace was 11:59/mile. This year's pace was 11:15/mile. While 5 minutes might not sound like much, looking at my stats post race and realizing the wheels never fell off means a lot to me.
Post race I hung out in the stadium noshing on a pretzel and drinking water while I waited for Michelle and Kim to cross the finish line.
I have since read stories from my friends about their races. In Savannah race officials encouraged marathoners to go down to the half marathon. In Florida the Wine and Dine Half Marathon was delayed due to thunderstorms, then the route was shortened (was it because of damage in Animal Kingdom or because they needed to reopen roads by a certain time?). Hard to complain about 60 and overcast on any day, though it did not feel like November weather.
Next up: my trip to Cuba!