I did not want to run this race. For one, I had to get up at 4:15 am to get ready, meet my carpool, and ride down to the race. Two, it's hotter than hell around here lately... 10 miles racing in 80+ degrees? Ehhhh... not my idea of a good time. But, this whole Grand Prix thing is coming to a close and previous to this race, I was BARELY hanging onto 3rd place. I would have been really pissed at myself if some of the people below me didn't show up and I didn't run the race... So, yeah... it was my desire to actually rack up some Grand Prix points that drove me to sign up for this race.
As we turned off the highway onto the road that would eventually take us to the town of the race, my friend that I was riding with asked us all... "anyone need to use the bathroom?" as we passed by a nice BP station. "They only have like two porta potties at the race." I decided that I was totally fine and no one else needed to stop either, so we rolled on through.
We got our chips, t-shirts, numbers, etc and headed back to the car to get ready. With about 15 minutes left I decided to proceed to the start line solo, as I wanted to hit up a porta potty. All the sudden: I had to pee and thanks to Melanie's prior warning, I knew that there weren't porta potties on the course. I walk over to 2 porta potties and get into line. The line wasn't too long and by this time it was about 10 minutes till the start of the race.
Here's some obvious advice on porta potties, people... to choose the fastest line... always pick the line with the least men in it. I always do this and it works everytime. The thing is.... if there are men in line... the chances are pretty damn high that they are going to be spending a little while longer in the porta potty. Sure... the women could, too. But a lot of the women are just there to pee. Men typically won't wait in a porta potty line to pee. A lady who had chosen the wrong line was bitching the whole time. "I even counted the number of people in each line." she said. Ahhhh... but did you count the number of men?
I got out of the porta potty and realized... I had no idea where the start line was. I started walking towards some other runners, but also realized... that for a race with 900 runners, there were very few bibbed runners hanging out. As I was trying to find the start line I look behind me and see that I'm about 10 yards from getting trampled by runners. Uhhh... guess the race has started. I still hadn't found the start line, yet! I darted across the street and kept jogging, looking for the start line. I finally found it and crossed it completely alone. Like... no stragglers, no walkers, no nothing. Just me. I figured I'd be starting pretty slow. Partly because I wanted to (and have been running slow in general lately), and partly because I had to because I was in the wayyyy back of the pack. I clicked off the first mile around 9:04, which ended up being a little faster than I wanted to start, but I was feeling pretty decent, so I didn't worry about it.
After the second mile, there was a little hill and I could see an old dude standing outside his house on the side of the road. I love old people. So, as I approached him, I smiled and was just getting ready to tell him "good morning" when he says to me... "pretty short strides you got there." W.T.F? Are you serious? I just got trash talked by an old dude? I wanted to kick him in the shins and run off yelling... "let's see how long your strides are." But, I fought the urge and continued on.
Now, this race is known for the heat... and it's known for a hill. Everyone talks about the hill like it's heartbreak hill at the boston marathon. I got a glimpse of the top of it as I approached it, and.. admittedly, it did look pretty steep from that angle. Just as I was getting ready to approach the base of the hill a black cat darted across the road in front of me and the runner just in front of me. I let out a "Whoa. That can't be good." And the girl in front of me turned around and was like... "did that just happen?" Yes. It did. A black cat crossed our path before the "big" hill. Prepare to die.
When I got to the hill, it was like a war zone. EVERYONE was walking. I thought... well... I'll just keep running until I can't run anymore and then I'll walk. And... I didn't stop. I just chugged up the hill and made it to the top. Ehhh... it wasn't that bad. I definitely slowed down on it, but it wasn't unmanageable. Probably, it was hyped it up so much that I was expecting it to be way worse.
It was at this point that the girl that was in front of me said a few things to me and we engaged in a little bit of conversation. I was feeling really good after that hill, and chatting with her helped me, too. I realized... wow. I can talk pretty easily. That's got to be a good sign. I must have started getting on her nerves though, cause she gave me the ole... "well, good luck." And I took off.
I was feeling really good. It was hot, though. Every water station I stopped at, I took a sip and then dumped the rest on my head. It was about this time that I started thinking about how nice it would be to be running in just a sports bra. I decided that I was going to start eating as much lean protein and vegetables as I could, so that I could run in just my sports bra. No more sugar. Fewer carbs. Good idea, right? Yes. I can do it.
Around mile 8, Matt (who got a late start, too) caught up with me and again... I became Chatty McChatterson. I talked and talked and when we passed the 9 mile marker, I was still feeling good.
With about 3 tenths of a mile left, I spotted a friend who had already finished and he came over to run with me for a bit. Again... talking my head off, and picking up my pace, he made some comment about how I seemed to be feeling good. And I was. Eventually, he stopped running and I kept on. I ended up crossing the finish line in 1:32:26. Not too far off my goal (which, kind of makes me mad, cause I totally could have broke 1:30, I think). That last mile? I ran in 8:00. Holy hell, where did that come from? an 8 minute mile (yes... it is mostly downhill, but still) at the end of a 10 mile race. Kick ass!
Afterwards I indulged in a chicken biscuit (with honey), a muffin, and a popsicle. What? I can start the sports bra diet the next day, right? haha.
All-in-all, I'm glad I ran it. But, it's a huge race and I came in 28th in my age group. So... it's really not the best race for me to try and gain any Grand Prix points. I do have to say that the race FLEW by. I think that running 10+ miles during the week a couple of times really helped with that. It was just like a regular run for me. And I also think that running in the heat on Thursday afternoons helped acclimate me. It was hot, but I didn't think it was brutal.