Sunday was the Xenia half marathon. We ran the race last year and it's a great little race, although we remember saying that although it's an out and back course, primarily on a Rails to Trails path, it seems like the ENTIRE race is uphill. Maybe we were losing it last year.
Or maybe not.
The race started at 8:30 and we got there around 8:00, checked in, had probably the closest parking spot possible (which I don't understand... people must have thought they weren't allowed to park where we did, although people soon followed suit!), met up with my mother-in-law who was running the race too and took our spot in the crowd of runners. It's funny... I didn't know where to place myself. Not that I've become this super star athlete or anything, but I knew I should probably move up a little from where I would usually seat myself at the start. It was a gorgeous day and I KNEW I was going to have a great run.
All of a sudden they said "GO" and we were off. We had time chips, but no mat... figure that one out! First mile was comfortable and I looked down and say 8:15 - it was downhill, no biggie. Tom and Janet were right with me so I didn't think I was pushing it too hard. Mile 2.5, the hills started and I could see that Janet was dropping back a bit. I knew the pace was probably a little fast, but I felt good. Tom kept right with me which was awesome... I didn't know how he'd fare seeing as how he's been doing very little run training since he's training for the Race Across America bike race. The miles just ticked by. The first 6.55 was DEFINITELY uphill. As you ran, you could see people in front of you who were definitely a little higher up and you could feel the incline a bit. When we turned around, Tom was fighting a low BS, but reminded me that what goes up must come down. Or does it??? Somehow, the last 6.55 miles seemed just as uphill. I swear, 2 years in a row and we must be losing it. Anyway, I felt great, knew that I was going to kick butt and PR and I was so excited. The last mile is when I could tell that I had really pushed it... I was dying, but I was so determined to get a PR (and to actually beat Tom's mom's PR of an 8:27 average, but that's between you and me!)
My garmin had been off all day and I thought that the course was short by about .25 miles, but Tom had it set to multi sport and fixed it right at the start of the race so it was in fact right and actually a little long. My splits were awesome though and relatively consistent (I can tell where the bigger climbs were with my time...
My garmin said that we ran 13.19 miles. Total time was 1:51:02 (although the clock said 1:51:10, but remember there was no start mat). Depending on how you look at it, I either averaged 8:25's (according to the garmin) or 8:30's (according to the race timing). I'm going with garmin on this one! :) Either way, I set a huge PR and couldn't be happier with my progress. I'm probably even more happy that Tom stuck with me and was able to PR as well. Although he bitched today about how I ran him into the ground, I know he secretly loved it!
We didn't really get to celebrate much as I knew I needed to get more miles in. I mistakenly took too long of a break, waiting for my mother-in-law to come in and then getting cookies (because everyone should eat 3 or 4 homemade cookies before finishing their long run)! I ended up getting another 3 miles in (I was supposed to do 5), but whatever... I pushed it hard during the race and quite frankly, I was too happy to even care about the last 2 miles. I know I can do them.
Overall, I'm super happy with the results. Not only did I PR on an out and back course that's uphill both ways, but I had a great time doing it!
Only one more long run to go! I can't believe the marathon is in 26 days! YIKES! Now I just have to decide what pace team to join. My marathon PR is a 4:44:48 - I'm assuming I can better that, but by how much... only time will tell! :)