So after some slacking here is this weekend's race recap.
Warning: I have not loaded the pics yet, so this will be a word heavy post.
Just some background, the Gate River Run is the largest 15k in the country with approx. 20,000 runners, and is also the US 15k National Championship.
After 2 years of wanting to do this race and not, I was beyond excited to finally get my chance at our city's biggest race. I had also never done a 15k, so it was an automatic PR, but despite that fact I was plotting out so many different race scenarios in the days leading up to the race. I had an A goal and a B goal, because I honestly didn't really know what I was capable of.
I warmed-up with my group pretty lightly, and lined up in the seeded corrals with a teammate. He was going to start out at my goal pace and then get faster, but with a neon-yellow shirt on, I knew I wanted to keep a visual on him and that would be enough.
I made sure to let him go early in the first mile so I didn't go too fast and so I didn't slow him down. My race plan was to keep a moderate pace for the first 5k and then pick it up, I think I followed instructions pretty well, but I was able to pick it up in the 2nd mile, and once I felt it out, I knew I could hold it until I hit the monster bridge at the end.
Mile 1- 8:38
Mile 2- 8:29
Mile 3- 8:30
Mile 4- 8:33
Mile 5- 8:31
Mile 6- 8:36
Mile 7- 8:30
Mile 8- 8:51
Mile 9- 8:40
9-9.4- 2:48 (7:14 pace)
So I felt super consistent throughout the whole race, I think my paces pretty much dictate that. I kept it easy in mile 1, and hit my 8:30 goal until the bridge. Now this course did have some rolling hills, it was in no way flat, not even by New England standards, so I was really pleased with my pacing on such a tough course, all the time I put in doing Monday morning bridges really did pay off.
Now...The Green Monster...
We started up the on-ramp onto the bridge at mile 7.5, so it pretty much killed my right on track mile 8 split, but I had planned for that. Once Mile 8 beeped, I still had another half mile of up to go- that's right 1 whole mile straigh up hill. My effort never dropped, but my pace dipped into the high 9:00 range, like seriously 9:50-10:00 pace up that bridge, it was just so steep and never ending. As soon as it leveled off I looked to my right and saw my dreaded Monday morning bridge and wispered sweet nothings to it about how awful I had been and how I would never take its short 1/2 mile incline for granted again, ha!
Once at the top, I just took off, I knew I still had almost a mile to go, but it was literally all.down.hill. The downhill of the bridge goes straight onto the off ramp that goes downhill straight to the stadium, and the finish line. I knew I would be well under an 8:00 pace, and I was right. I took huge strides and became almost reckless trying to see how fast I could fly down that hill. I knew I was close to a sub-1:20 which would have been great, but I was aiming for anything in the 1:20:xx range.
The downhill and reckless sprinting took its toll, my quads were absolutely trashed, and I was almost certain I was about to throw up on a bystander, but I managed to keep my breakfast down. I felt like I really had left every ounce of push I had in me out there on the course, and was beyond thrilled to stop my watch and see 1:20:13 over 9.4 miles, or an 8:33 average pace, whoa!
1:20:13, 8:33 average pace
60/786 in F20-24
In addition to an amazing time, and not puking, as I walked through the masses towards the water and medals, I had a lady hand me a hat. I told her those were only for the top 10% finishers, and she said "I know".... I had somehow managed to finish in the top 10% of the female race field, I am still not sure how that is possible, but it made my perfect race even sweeter. I have never been so happy about anything or any race performace, I had done everything right and it had all payed off.
After stumbling around and finding someone's phone to use, I managed to meet up with John and my parents.
Showing off my new hat! Seriously I am obsessed with it at the moment, I would wear it to work if they would let me ;)
Post race I grabbed a banana, water, beer, and walked over to meet our friends Jesse & Crystal who had ran the 5k and their first races ever. We stayed for a good hour or so chatting, it was an absolutely beautiful day out and they seem to have also caughten the dreaded race bug now ;)
Sunday morning I woke up...and could barely walk. My quads were screaming any time I went from sitting to standing or vis-versa, but it was a great feeling to know I had raced so well. Sunday was a lazy day for me as I knew I had big plans and a new training cycle starting Monday morning, which you will have to wait and hear about!