This year, I decided to head down to Memphis to visit my BFF for the weekend and as luck would have it... the race was the same weekend! $6 bucks for an 8 mile race on a CERTIFIED course? Ummm... Yes.
To be completely honest, I didn't remember much about this race except for some crazy ass switchbacks (and as a trail runner, I've learned that the word switchback is not something you want to read in a course description. Ugh), turns out... there's another nasty hill and a few other minor hills that makes you realize... ohhhhh... that's why it's called HILL and Dale. Duh.
My strategy was simple. I really didn't give a shit about getting a PR... I mean, it's an 8 mile race. But, I wanted to use the race as a tempo run. So, I told myself that I was going to take it easy for the first 4 miles and then start to pick it up and try to average 8:15s (my goal Half Marathon pace) for the last 3-4 miles.
April and I started out with a little warm up jog. It felt good to get the legs warmed up and by the time we ditched some extra layers and made a bathroom stop, it was time for the race to start.
The weather was perfect for January. Overcast, 50 degrees. I mean, it was perfect. We started off rather speedy (of course) but then settled into a smoother, slower pace...
Me in the red cap and the white Chicago Marathon tee.
For good luck, ya know? Ape's hamming it up in the white cap.
Mile 1: 8:47
Mile 2: 9:23
Mile 3: 9:22
Mile 4: 9:48 (ummm... stopped and walked up part of a hill).
When I was done with mile 4, I started watching my Garmin like a hawk. Trying to get my pace down to 8:15s.
Mile 5: 8:44
Mile 6: 8:30
I started having a hard time sticking with 8:15. I'd either be at 8:45 or 7:45. I couldn't get the feel. One thing I did notice though... was that I was feeling pretty damn good. Usually with 2-3 miles left to go in a race I feel like the wheels are falling off.
Mile 7: 8:17
Mile 8: 8:48 (this mile included the UPHILL switchbacks to which I walked for I'd say anywhere from 45 seconds to a minute and a half).
Once the switchbacks were done, I kicked it into HIGH GEAR and started picking off people as best I could. I felt good... like I was actually racing (uhhh.duh). I was starting to think... maybe I could finish sub 1:10! But then quickly realized that I didn't have enough time for that in the last mile. So my goal became to finish in under 1:11.
The last quarter of mile seemed to last FOREVER, but I just kept cranking it up and passed a couple of people right before the finish line.
Eat my dust, bitches.
I came in at 1:11:18. Which is an 8:55 overall pace. I was pretty pleased. I ended up PRing by like 4 minutes (my previous PR was 1:15:xx). So... yeah, I pretty much PRed the SHIT out of that race. BOOM!
Overall, I am happy with my race performance. I kept it easy in the first few miles and though I had a hard time getting to 8:15 and staying there... I still felt really good and had enough to kick at the end. It's good because in the end it makes me confident that I'm on the right track, but it also let's me know that I have some work to do in the next 9 weeks.
Of course... post race called for some good eats, some champagne drinking out of a can with a straw (I had no idea this even existed!) and dance party while we got dressed and ready (April's got those pics) and then a night out full of pizza, pirate bars, and pissing and moaning about cover charges!
At the Pirate Bar.