On race day morning, it was freezing and rainy. Not really ideal racing conditions and I think we all thought about going back home and to bed. But we were all out there and ready to race anyways. This was a Christmas themed race and those are always my favorite! I drove to the race with my friend Kate S. and we met up with a bunch of other FN Runners when we got there.
|Pre-Race photo with the FNRC|
Can you spot the bloggers??
Race day packet pickup was easy and we got the chance to warm up in the gym while waiting for the race to start. Considering the weather, this was definitely a nice perk. I found Amanda and we headed towards the start line. There weren't pace signs but we made sure to start in front of the "competitive walkers" sign.
The gun went off and my Garmin was having trouble locating satellite and getting a pace. It was clocking us at a 16:00 mile to start, which was a bit nerve wracking. I tried to make sure we didn't waste too much energy weaving. I tried to stay in front as a guide, but I told her that I would do the weaving and to try to take the straightest path forward. As I am apparently not a great pacer, we took the first mile way too fast at 8:10. Oops! I'm blaming it on my Garmin. I looked at Amanda when I realized my error, but we slowed down a bit, once I had a better gauge of our pace. The second mile had a little bit of an uphill and there was a young boy who fought hard to not get passed by us. Lol. We passed him and I tried to gauge how Amanda was doing. Her previous PR was 27:55 (about a 9:00 pace). During the second mile, I could just tell that we were going to get that PR. Despite our first mile mistake, I could tell it hadn't taken too much out of her. Having paced Amanda during our previous race (and been with her during the final miles of a few marathons), I could just tell. I think I even told her that we had this. She was going to PR, I could just feel it. We clocked our 2nd mile at about 8:40. That was much more comfortable.
|Thanks to a running group friend, we were able to get this SWEET action shot.|
Look at that smile on Amanda's face! She know's what she's on pace to do. :)
For the last mile, I told Amanda that we wanted to try to pick off people as we were going along. Our goal would be to pass the person in front of us. This race was crowded enough to give that kind of motivation, but not too crowded. We passed some folks and I tried to give a range at how close we were to the finish. When we had a half mile left, I tried to continue to be motivational. (You know, typical "Kelly" energy, I guess you could call it.) We pushed towards the end. I told Amanda to "Go as fast as you can! But I know you probably already are!" Amanda admits to not having a kick so I was happy we took the 2nd half of the last mile a little quicker. The last mile was clocked at about 8:30. Amanda's Garmin finishing time was 26:12. (The race was gun timed so the official result was actually 26:22.) That is a PR by over a minute and a half. I was so happy for Amanda because I know she has working on this goal for over a year. I was so happy I could help her get there! :)
|Post-Race photo... in all her PR glory! :)|
I know we are all guilty of sometimes being too married to a pace that it holds you back. I'm kind of glad we took the first mile too fast. Amanda even said that her Garmin was clocking us at 8:10 and there was no way that could be right. It was right, lol.
After the race, we headed back to the gym, hung around and enjoyed the post race swag. There was soup, hot chocolate, pizza, Powerade, ClifBars, and cheese. I didn't try much of the food because we had planned to go out to breakfast afterwards. Quite a few folks in our running group got some awards (including a big PR and age group award for Maggie!) so it was definitely a great day for the club. After some cheering and photos it was time for breakfast.
In summary, I think this was a good race and I would probably do it again. I only wish it would I've been chip timed from the start. With so many people (about 400 participants), it definitely disadvantaged the average runner, who wouldn't start near the very front. The warming area and post race swag were some of the biggest perks.