Location: Richmond, VA
Temperature: 38 degrees
Official Time: 38:54 (7:46 per mile), 3:04 minute PR
Place in Age Group: 13/369
Place in Gender: 90/2344
Overall Place: 385/3743
Fast and flat. Out and back.
This 8K course takes a straight shot up Broad St., which has a gentle grade, for the for the first two miles of the course. Just after mile 2, participants turn left and make their way over one block to Grace St., where they head back towards the finish. Runners are greeted with a the only climb of the course at mile four. It is smooth sailing after that, as the course flattens out and turns right onto 3rd street. With less than half a mile to go, runners turn left onto Cary St. and head downhill to the finish line.
(Note: This has been and will continue to be my favorite course in Richmond.)
The Course: I love this course. It is PR friendly and easy to navigate. And the downhill finish is KILLER.
My Pace: My goal for this race was to run sub-8 minute miles for the duration of the race. Simple enough. All I would have to do was check my Garmin to see if I was on pace. The only problem was that I didn't want to obsess about my time. And for me, NOT looking at my Garmin is the only way to make that happen. So, I opted to wear my watch, but cover it with my sleeve. Instead of watching the clock, I would listen to my body. If I felt like I could push it, I would. If I needed to back off, I'd do that.
The strategy worked. I hit my goal and I didn't check my watch until the finish. Here are my splits.
Mile 1: 7:44
Mile 2: 7:56
Mile 3: 7:53
Mile 4: 7:50
Last 0.97: 7:30
My Placing: Prior to the race, I looked at last year's standings. I knew if I ran sub-40, I would place well in my age group. But I really didn't think I would finish as well as I did overall. I was 13th out of 369 in my AG, 90th out of 2344 in my gender and 385th out of 3743 overall. Kind of made me feel like a rock star.
My Outfit: Seriously. Do I have style or what?
My Music Selection: For the first time in pretty much FOREVER, I changed my race playlist. And then, I set it to random before I ran. Yet, somehow, the PERFECT songs came on at the PERFECT moments. I was pumped throughout the race and there was a song during every mile that reminded me to push myself.
My Mental Game: I NEVER doubted myself. Even for one second. I felt strong and I knew that if I pushed myself, I would walk away with a PR. Now if I could only do the same thing in the longer distances ...
The Weather: It was 38 degrees at the start of my race. And I dressed perfectly for it. By the end of the race, I was warm, but not overheated. It made holding my pace that much easier.
The Race Length: This race reaffirmed to me that the 8K is my favorite race distance. I love it and wish it was offered more often.
My choice NOT to switch to the marathon: After the stomach bug hit me during the Indianapolis Marathon last month, I considered getting Marathon Redemption at Richmond. And even though I was telling everyone I was sticking to the 8K, I won't lie and tell you that I didn't consider switching races at the expo.
Everything seemed perfect to run the marathon. G would be by my side. The weather was perfect. I was healthy and uninjured. But ultimately, I knew the 8K was the right choice. Not only was I beyond ready for it, running the 8K gave me the opportunity to pace J to the finish of his half marathon and G to the end of her marathon (both of them finished with HUGE PRs. J improved his time by 15 minutes and G cut hers by 37!).
I ended yesterday with 23 miles under my belt and was able to share/shape their race experiences. It was amazing to be there with them and I wouldn't trade that for anything.
Wait. There was no bad.