Yesterday was the inaugural Crossroads 17.75K race. And as I mentioned in my earlier post, my day was full of the unexpected. I set my alarm for 4:15 p.m. instead of a.m. I got a call in the wee hours of the morning, letting me know that Dizzle had puked in her bed (SO happy I missed that one). Let's just say, I saw my fair share of drama.
Shortly after the vomit drama calmed down at my house, G and I arrived at the start of the race. (This was a point-to-point event. We parked at the start and were shuttled back MUCH after the race). Upon arrival, we got all of our gear prepped and were about to call MCM Mama, when out of nowhere we heard someone call us out for our rather boisterous outfits. We turned to see MCM Mama coming across the parking lot.
After a few minutes of talking (and G messing with her hair), we headed over to the bathrooms (which had NO LINES!) and waited for the start. Due to the fact that it was forecasted to be 95 degrees with a zillion percent humidity, we had decided to run the race conservatively. It was strictly a fun run. Knowing this, we headed to the start line and moved ourselves to the middle of the pack. Unfortunately, we stood directly next to a speaker which caused us to lose our hearing for the next few minutes. (Seriously, the announcer was SCREAMING into his microphone).
Promptly at 7 a.m., we were off. It was scorching hot right from the beginning. We fell into a comfortable pace (right around 10 minute miles) and headed up a highway toward the State Park where the majority of the race was run. As we turned into the park we were in for a big surprise. We had read that part of the course was on "unpaved roads." I was picturing dirt roads. Maybe with packed gravel. But no. We were running on large unpacked gravel. It was treacherous. Add to that the steep inclines and declines and I was pretty sure I was going to wipe out.
Just after mile two, we came to the first water stop. MCM Mama suggested that we walk the water stops. I have NEVER done this, but figured I'd give it a try. We were all staying together and I wasn't running hard anyway. We did this for the next four water stops (until mile 8) and I have to admit. It didn't suck.
G, MCM Mama and I stuck together (over some monster hills, both in incline and length) until mile 8. At that point, MCM Mama said she needed to slow the pace a little. That's when I picked up the pace (I know, real nice). But, I was feeling really good and she had said to go if we wanted (G stayed). When I left them around mile 8.2, I noted that my overall average pace was at 10:05. I tried to speed up enough to finish with an average of just under 10 minute miles.
At mile 10, I ran past a father and son. The son (who I later found out was 17 with multiple marathons under his belt) yelled, "Dad, I'm gonna go run with her." I told him to come on and we picked up the pace even more (my last mile was 8:13). We chatted for the next half mile or so, until I started to feel the burn. He turned to me and asked if I kicked too soon. I said, "Yup." But I really wanted to say, "No, I am just running my fastest mile of the race. And you are 17 and I am 28 and have had three kids."
I told him to feel free to kick it to the finish. And he did. I tried to follow, but he crossed eight seconds ahead of me. When I finished, I looked at my watch and it read 1:48:03. Overall pace of 9:45. Much better than the 10:00 pace I was trying to get to. I killed those last three miles!
After I grabbed some water, I headed back to the finish line to cheer for G and MCM Mama. Here they are in the last hundredths of the race ...
After the race, we had to wait for an hour for a shuttle back to the start. This is us waiting ...