RACE LESSON #1: When you can see your breath, wear pants, or at the very least, capris.
When we picked up our goody bags, we got our numbers and our shirts. By chance, my number was 68, which was awesome because my dad used to drive a race car as a weekend hobby, and his number was 68. Any time he has to choose a number for any reason, he almost always chooses 68 because that’s the year he graduated and decided to stop getting older. :) It was just a coincidence, but I was thrilled to see 68 on my bib number.
RACE LESSON #2: Allow a good 10 minutes to pin on a number. It will not be straight the first try.
About 10 minutes before the race started, people were gathered near the starting line. The race director was giving important instructions through a bullhorn, and we couldn't make out a word he said. I checked my phone a noticed we still had about 4 or 5 minutes before the start, so Trea and I just stood around casually talking and not expecting anything to happen for a few more minutes. Then suddenly, a gun went off, and we heard through the bullhorn, "C'mon, let's GO! This is a RACE!" Oops. I started walking through the crowd, fumbling with my phone strapped to my arm trying to get my playlist and Nike+ to cooperate, and we were off!
RACE LESSON #3: Port-o-potties make me gag; avoid. I know this is unrelated to anything I've said so far, but it's an important point to note. Thou shalt not over-hydrate prior to a race. It's not worth the trauma.
I got a little relief with some flats after The Hill before I got to The Smaller Hill in mile three. I made myself slow down to barely a shuffle so I could recover and make sure I made it to the end. I almost walked on The Smaller Hill, but I again thought of whoever is reading this and persevered. And then I got passed by a woman pushing a baby jogger, which ticked me off, so I persevered harder. After that, I was home free. The rest of the course was mostly flat, and knowing I was almost done gave me a little extra boost. I crossed the finish line a little after the 34 minute mark. I scanned the crowd for Trea, knowing he had already finished and expecting him to be cheering me on. But there was no Trea and no familiar faces. After about a minute or so, I saw him walking from the direction of the car carrying our water bottles. He finished about two minutes ahead of me but had expected me to be farther behind him. He thought he had time to get our Nuun water and get back in time to see me finish. Unfortunately, he missed it, and we were both totally sad and disappointed.
RACE LESSON #4: Don't wander off until all racing companions have crossed the line.
We worked for four months to get to this point, and we both crossed the finish line separately and neither of us could cheer on the other. During all of our training, we've been at different levels and different speeds. We do everything else together, and we're running together as much as we can. But pretty much we just start at the same time and meet up again when we're done. I depend on Trea for a lot of things, and he depends on me. We rarely do anything without one another. And even though I was sad that he wasn't there at the end, it's kind of cool to know I did this on my own. I made it all the way, all by myself, and my legs didn't fail me.
My average pace: 11:03
Mile 1 - 10:18
Mile 2 - 11:25
Mile 3 - 11:51
Later that morning, Trea surprised me with a congratulatory cookie cake slice (and cookie taco!!). That's the kind of encouragement I love!