When my sister and I got to the start, and I felt how crisp and cool the temps would be for the majority of this race, I felt good about what was to come...
We had navigated getting to the start of this race very well. It's a tricky one -- the race is a point to point, and the way most runners get to the start is to park near the finish and take the subway uptown. This is what we did. You have to do it REALLY early, though, or you'll get caught with thousands of other people trying to make their way there. I've know of people who have missed the start because they waited too late. I picked A up early -- 5:30am -- and we were parked and walking over to the train by 6ish. The race doesn't start until 8:30, so we knew we'd have time to kill, but being relaxed and taking our time was part of making this a good day. We got on an express, grabbed some seats, and started the 20 minute ride. We even had the BEST laugh of the day when a guy near us was wearing an old Garmin Forerunner 201, and his buddy looked over at his wrist and said, totally deadpan, "What is that? A laptop? An iPad?"
Hilarious. Something A and I would giggle about all.day.long. A tv remote? A satellite dish? I have one of those old garmins and they are huge! Hilarious.
Anyway, we got lined up in the corral and soon we were off. No crowd issues for us, and we started at a pretty good clip. We checked ourselves, got the pace slowed a little, and commented that we were just over an 8 minute pace (though her 310 and my 305 were not reading the same distance/pace. weird). By mile 2 A was still coughing from her leftover respiratory sickness, and just after mile 3 she settled back a step or two from me.
At this point, I sort of locked things in. I was hovering around an 8 minute pace, my breathing was good, my legs were moving, and I was comfortable. I was very aware of the crowds, the cheers, the bands along the way, but I was locked in and focused. I didn't waste energy looking around, yet I still took it all in. I didn't waste energy by weaving around people -- and yet I found holes to pass by people when I needed to. I stayed to the left, ran straight, and only took a little water (on the go) at two stops the whole run.
At one point, a guy came up next to me and commented on me running a sub-8 pace (not according to my watch, though). He said he'd been watching me and was going to hang on since I was at a steady, solid pace. He'd end up staying near me for several miles. That was flattering at first, and then it became a little annoying. I lost him a short time later.
As we approached the 5ish mile area, I knew A was still just a couple steps behind me because I could hear her coughing. I peeked back once or twice and I threw my hand in the air another time, just to let her know I knew she was there. I checked my pace -- still hovering around 8mpm -- and I made the turns around City Hall (the only turns on the whole run!) Even through here, where I knew a friend would be standing, I ran good tangents and only slightly looked around. I also knew the former mayor/governor was known to be here and I didn't even expend energy looking for him. It wasn't that I didn't want to see these people or anything, its just that with everything working so well I was just focused. I kept moving.
(Thanks so much for the butt picture, A!)
The pacing on my Garmin got all screwy at this point and I had no idea what I was running anymore. So, I decided that since I'd run this far at about an 8 min pace, I'd just keep running comfortably for a few more miles, and then after mile 7 I'd start pushing it a bit. I even saw my friend L cheering along the way here. As it turns out, mile 7 I dipped into a 7:25 pace, and then I held a sub-8 for the last 3 miles. Still feeling pretty good. Amazing what good weather does for my racing.
As I approached the 9 mile marker, my friend K pulled up alongside me, we exchanged hellos and plans for our tailgating after the race, and then he pushed slightly ahead. I passed the spot at mile 9.5 where I've cheered friends on in the past, and I thought how cool it was that my first time running this race was turning out so well.
I entered the Naval Yard and knew I only had about a quarter mile to go. Another friend, J, pulled alongside me here. Funny. So many people I know at this race! Then, the only frustrating thing of the day: the photographers had an arm crane hanging over the course to take pics -- fine, except the truck part was so far into the roadway we all had to weave around it to pass by. Grr. Alas, I flashed a smile, said, "Let's finish this!" to J, and we sped ahead to the finish line.
1:19:25 by my Garmin. A 7:56 average pace. Cool! I hadn't really thought about my finish time, but breaking 1:20 was pretty sweet!
I met up with A, who finished right behind me, and after collecting my bag and finding our friends, we made our way out of the Naval Yard to the car. We cracked open some beers, munched on some snacks, and had a lot of fun recounting the day with 4 of our friends.
The best way to describe my race was locked in. The legs worked. The weather, though it got warm toward the end, was perfect. I felt solid. It was a great race day.
Other than the butt pic, I don't really have any pictures from this race, but here's one from post-race. I think A looks waaaaaay better in this pic, but whatever -- I never take good race pics, during or after. Sweaty, messy, gross. But here we are anyway :)
No, we didn't plan to wear the same color. We got LOTS of "Are you twins?" questions today.