I was up by 5:15 and already worried about "bathroom issues." After giving up on those issues, I picked up Renee (who provided some much-needed coffee) and then we picked up Megan. The race was in Lewiston, which is about 45 minutes north of Portland. The drive was nice although I was still worried about bathroom stuff and was starting to worry about the heat - it was hot and humid. We made our way to the parking garage near the start - in the middle of an old mill complex that appeared to be in the process of being overhauled for office, retail and residential use - it was a neat place. We did not go to packet pick-up the day before, so we had to take care of that pre-race. Apparently, we were not alone as the line for checking in was uber long.
Long line to check in
It took about 20 minutes to get checked in and then we were invited to visit another table with some freebees. I picked up a nice Bands on the Run water bottle. Renee and Megan also picked up these:
Proudly made in Maine!
Apparently, there is a Tampax factory in the mill complex - who knew!?! After we dropped our goodies back at the car and ran around the block, we hit the port-o-potties (another 20 minute line). Even after that last pre-race visit, I was still a little worried about things.
As racetime approached, there was still a long line of folks checking in:
Still a line as we approach race time
Because of the long lines, they pushed the start back, but only by a few minutes. I told Renee that I would run the first four minutes with her, but that I was going to do the Run-Walk method at least until Mile 11. As we started and ran through some narrow passages in the mill complex, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to walk at all without causing some serious issues for everyone behind me. We talked about running the first mile and then switching to the Run-Walk. But we were out of the mill within 3 minutes and people started spreading out, so when my watch beeped at 4 minutes, I walked. And I have to tell you, it was a little emasculating. Here I am, half a mile from the start and I am walking. Alone. Ugh. It only got worse during my second walk break. We were approaching 2 miles and my watch beeped, so I started to walk. I was going downhill and there were several volunteers and people cheering and I am less than 2 miles into the race and walking (again). But then a woman running the race ran by me, put her hand on my shoulder and said: "It's downhill. You can do it!" Emasculation complete. I was able to get out: "I'm fine. It's all part of my plan!" before she was gone. When my watch beeped again I was off to the races (ran way too fast). I continued to really push it during the runs, when perhaps I should have just taken it easy. Within a few cycles, I started seeing the same people over and over. They would pass me while I was walking and I would pass them when I ran. At one point - near Mile 9 - someone said to me: "Hey, I like your strategy! It looks like you are staying fresh." And yes, yes I was.
I saw my "you can do it" friend several times throughout the race and near Mile 10 overheard her saying to someone: "It's a 5k on Thursday; a 10k on Friday; a Half on Saturday; and a Full Marathon on Sunday." I was walking so she was passing me at the time, but I was able to get out: "Are you doing the Dopey?" "Yeah!" she yelled back. I yelled, "Well I'll see you down there" as she entered one of the several trail portions of the run and I looked at my watch and saw that I had another 30 seconds of walking.
That leads me to the actual race course - it was odd. We ran (briefly) through the mill complex; then through a downtown area; then on a bike path type of thing; then a trail run; then back to streets (first some rural roads and then some major strip mally roads; then back to trails and bike paths . . . ugh. I hate trail running - my ankles are horrible and I usually twist one or both of them on trail runs - plus some portions of the trails were fairly narrow and it was difficult to walk through those sections and not piss everyone off.
My initial plan had been to Run-Walk 11 and then run the final 2.1 miles. However, it was so hot and humid and my longest run since the Princess Half in February has been 10 miles, I quickly decided that I would only skip the last walk. So just after Mile 12, when my watch beeped, I started walking again. At that point, I had about 0.7 miles to go and people were starting to appear again on the course, but I kept my head down and stayed with the plan. About half way through my walk my "you can do it" friend passed me again. This time she said "Something tells me you will feel a lot better when this is over that I will." My watch beeped again and I was off (for the last time). I felt good (and strong). I cross the last bridge and into the park where there were many more spectators. The course has you run around the park and then to the finish. About 1/3 of the way around the park my watch beeped calling for a walk break. At that point I could see the Mile 13 marker and the finish in the distance, so I ran through that walk and ran about another minute beyond that right to the finish. So in the end, my last run was about 6 minutes as opposed to 4.
Even though it was hot (way too hot) and humid (like really sticky) and even though several miles were trail miles, I was able to run a PR, beating my prior PR by nearly 5 and a half minutes! Finished with a time of 2:01:56! Very happy with that!
So all in all, it was a good day. I felt fine the rest of the day, but clearly should have just turned off the competition gene and run a nice easy run (not a race). The Run-Walk thing was great race-wise, but difficult when alone out there (especially early in the race). I'm glad I ran the race if for no other reason than it opened my eyes to how difficult it can be to slow down on race day. I think Anne and I are going to need to run at least one half together before the Dopey where we just take it easy.
As far as goals from last week, I ran what I said I was going to run AND I started a new book (trashy book, but a book nonetheless). I was not as disciplined on the eating front as I'd like. Ugh. Story of my life. But this is a new week, right?
Goals for this week:
Run three times during the week and one long run next weekend.
Finish my book.