The race-cation began on Thursday, two days prior to the race. The travel to the Cape went smooth. I was disappointed by the change in weather forecast and we muddled through rain. We stopped for lunch at a new-to-us restaurant. It’s nice to see marathon memorabilia splashed on the walls of a sports bar…we don’t see that much in NH, but due to the Boston Marathon, MA is on it.
Friday began with some leftover rain which by late morning gave way to glorious sunshine. We couldn’t pass up an opportunity to ride the Shining Sea Bikeway. If you’re ever in Falmouth/N Falmouth, MA you should make a special effort to walk, run or ride the bikeway and take in some exceptional views.
Later in the afternoon, the Fitness Expo started and that’s where I planned to collect my race packet and swag bag. I <3 all the goodies I got. This also started my race jitters with excitement. I should have taken a pic of the expo. It was small, but everything was for WOMEN <3. I held back huge temptation to buy a motherload of stuff. I have enough stuff (if there is such a thing).
Later that afternoon, there was a course Q&A session with the Zooma founder, Brae Blackley. No offense, I didn’t want to attend. Mostly because I had dinner reservations and didn’t want to sacrifice a nice meal.
In the evening there was also an Honest Tea Mocktail Party, which due to our dinner reservations, I skipped.
Speaking of dinner reservations, we enjoyed a delicious meal, Chicken Marsala (stick with what you know the evening before race day) and even splurged on a little dessert. I skipped alcoholic beverages. It was a spectacular dinner spent with the hubby.
We traveled around the cape for a bit taking in the evening sights. Once we arrived back at the hotel, I set out my race clothes, fuel etc. that I would need for the following morning.
We had an early night (by 9:30 I was ready to sleep) and knew the excitement of the race in the morning would interfere with a good nights sleep. Easily I woke up 20 times (either to roll over or to peek at the clock). The downfall of a race-cation is not having a familiar bed to sleep in.
The morning came, with the trumpeting of my alarm at 6:00 am. I was awake at 5:20 am, so the alarm was just my signal to actually get out of the bed. First I ate my banana and oatmeal (which I brought from home to be able to have my run approved breakfast). Then I drank some water, brushed teeth, dressed and did my hair. Off to the start we go!
The 10K racers lined up ahead and had a 7:30 start and the half marathoners had a 7:35 start behind them. It was actually well-organized start, at least from my experience.
My plan for the race, after much visualizing and training review was to start and maintain a 10:15 pace up until about mile 9, then give myself leeway to pace back to a 10:25. My goal being a 2:15:00. Mind you, I haven’t run a fast enough pace to quite hit the 2:15 goal. I was realistic and knew I would slow even if I started at a slower pace because the rolling hills and inclines were located on the back half of the course, where fatigue would start to set in for me anyway.
At the race start, I was out of the gate at a 10:02, which I managed to slow to a 10:04. I felt good and decided I’d keep it here and see how it went. It’s a race after all, I’m supposed to push my limits. I knew if I felt like it was too hard, I had wiggle room to pace back and regroup. The Shining Sea Bikeway was part of the course, and I had a nice preview of it on the bike ride the other day. I knew it was perfect for me to do some faster intervals to keep my pace. As it turned out, I was able to keep the pace around a 10:08. I lost myself in some of the views and threw off my pace, which disappointed me. I had fallen back to a 10:12 in my daydream and had to pick up the pace for 60 intervals to get back to 10:07-10:08. My 10K time was 1:02:XX. Then the rolling hills came after we exited the bikeway. They are not big hills, but after a few of them, the legs start to cook. Actually, my left leg was bugging me at the start of the race (days before too) and limited my mobility. Which I needed those muscles on the hills. By mile 10 I was feeling it badly, but knew I was only a 5K from the end. Single digits! I pushed through and mentally felt good. Focused on trying to maintain good form to reduce pressure. I’m still working on perfecting my form.
Overall, I paced back further than I should have in those last miles, but finished strong at a 2:15:54 which I am ecstatic with! A new PR by 8 minutes +/-. A huge smile on my face, I did it. A great race and learning experience as to how my fitness has improved for this distance in the past 6 months.
There is no better feeling after 16 weeks of training than crossing the finish line feeling successful and don’t forget–the medal! It also didn’t hurt that my wonderful hubby was there to witness it and was beaming when we met after the finish line. It’s true, he loves me.