I was really excited to do this race. Last year I had to pull out of the race last minute after discovering I had a stress fracture. My goals were to practice fueling like I want to at Boston, improve on my attitude and mental game from the last race (the Kaiser Half), and have freakin FUN!
In my opinion, the race really starts the night before the race. My mom made us spaghetti with meat sauce – YUM.
And I had a leeetttle red wine with dinner.
The morning of, I got up at 5:00 am and had coffee and oatmeal with half a scoop of vanilla protein powder (this flavor since I was out of my usual PEScience Snickerdoodle), topped with a banana, blueberries, peanut butter and cinnamon. At Boston I might also have a picky bar or Stroopwafel later in the day since the race is so late.
We got to the park where the race was being held and waited for 8:10am to get closer. I ran some strides and drank Cocoa Delite flavored Generation Ucan mixed with water.
And we were off!
I knew it was a smaller field for women ages 25-29, but I also didn’t want to stress about trying to podium in my division. I just wanted to feel good, race strong, and nail the fueling like I had promised myself.
I started off a little conservatively. As usual, it seems like everyone is running away from you in the beginning. It still makes me anxious. But I popped in my earbuds, and took deep breaths and focused on form. Midfoot stride, don’t cross my arms over my torso, stay up on the toes.
The course was two laps around the park. I heard a few people mentioning that they didn’t like the repetition, but I really enjoyed it. I made mental notes of landmarks to check off on the second lap. At one point, there was person in a dinosaur costume and I got a big kick out of giving them a high five.
My mom and dad and I got to see each other 4 times along the course which was SO COOL! My mom even had Bennie The Dog and I got to pat him once when I ran by. I took a Huma Plus gel around mile 6.5-7. I was started to flag energy-wise and that helped a lot.
Around mile 10, I finally started coming alongside a girl that I’d been running behind the whole race. We synced up, stride for stride and started dropping the pace for those last three miles. It is one of those funny things were you are kind of racing each other, but also kind of helping each other. The final mile marker I told myself that I would get to see BENNIE at the end!
For about the last half mile going into the finish, I tried to really kick it into high gear. I wanted to cross the finish line feeling like I had given it my all.
I got to meet the girl I had been running next to. She was so nice and it was fun to compare notes with her. We laughed that we had both helped push each other at the end.
And even better to get to hug my doggy right away! I was really worried about him being upset about the air horn and other loud noises during the race. But there wasn’t a ton of super loud cheering and I knew my mom and dad would keep him safe.
It was quite fun to realize I had won my age group! This wasn’t a PR for me, getting to win an age group might have been more fun 🙂
And of course, I accepted my award with a little help from my friend.
One last family photo op before wrapping up – which was also right before the rain started! It was a little cold and pretty windy during the race, but the bad weather mostly held off right until we were done, which was a relief since the weather reports looked like it was going to rain for the whole race.
I had their Otra Vez beer – which is a champagne-like beer and my favorite (seeing as I like champagne more than beer anyway).
It has flavors of prickly pear cactus and grapefruit and pairs perfectly with pizza – what doesn’t pair well with pizza?
Overall, I was really happy with this race. Of course I always want a PR, but I raced to my plan and felt strong doing it. And the post race meal with 10/10 goodness – only to be topped by the company. As much fun as big race is, smaller local races are so much fun in a different way. You don’t have to deal with parking, shuttles or large crowds. Getting an age group win was a cherry on top on an already great day.