Who IS this crazy girl?
It turns out my hip (which was still bugging me on Friday) was just fine when I woke up Saturday. And unlike the miserable weather last year, it was under 80 degrees (barely) and less than 90% humidity (by about 5%). There was even a breeze...once or twice.
I'm not going do recount the whole course - lots was unchanged from last year - but I did manage to get the two pictures I wished I had gotten last year: the skeleton wearing a race bib and the lady whose sign made me cry last year. I actually stopped and told her I remembered her and thanked her for being there.
Despite my lack of training, I felt strong for nearly the whole race. For the first two miles, my pace was actually below a 14 minute mile, and I knew I needed to slow down. Unlike last year, when the first two miles were my hardest, I was pretty miserable from miles 3-5 this time. I was actually getting chills, so I shortened some of my run intervals until I cooled down a little bit.
My stats from last night:
5K split: 45:51
10K split: 1:36:30
I'd like to pause here to point out that my net finish translates to a 15:57 minute/mile pace. This is the first long race where I finished faster than a 16 minute/mile! I also beat last year's time by nearly 4 minutes...even though I stopped to talk to the lady with the sign and stopped 2 miles later to hug Matthew at the medical tent where he was working.
Overall place: 8189 of 9478 finishers
Division place: 838 of 1003 finishers
Some day I'll be fast enough to run one of these races and stop for pictures. There were a few characters last night I regretted not being able to stop and pose with - the evil queen from Snow White (in wicked witch form!!!), Jack and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas, and Hades from Hercules come to mind.
I was on my own this year, mostly due to my last-minute registration, and I made some decent decisions I want to note for future reference. Rather that wear a belt pack, I stuck with shorts with pockets (and a tight drawstring). In one pocket, I kept my little boxes of Craisins - my race fuel of choice - and in the other pocket, I had a snack-size zip-top bag with my ID, credit card, and spare car key (my purse was in the trunk of the car with all my other stuff). I safety pinned the bag inside the pocket, and then "locked" it in by pinning the pocket closed. I also pocketed a folded Disney merchandise bag, mostly because they fold flat quite nicely. That bag stayed in my pocket until after I crossed the finish line, and then I pulled it out and put the bottles of water and Power Ade, snack box, and other assorted stuff in it. It's tough to juggle 18 things at once, especially with post-hot-race sausage fingers, and the bag made it so much easier to navigate post-race.
...and of course, no race post would be complete without a tally of assorted injuries. I have some random spots of friction burn in weird places - the underside of one arm and a few patches around the bottom of the bra I was wearing. I have one blister: a nickel-size one near the hot spot from my old shoes. And of course, most of my leg and foot muscles are stiff and achy. My ankles are also cracking a lot. My worst injury actually took place on Friday and was aggravated yesterday. At some point I got a piece of dirt or gravel in my shoe and did a lot of walking. A blister formed under my second toe, right where it meets my foot, and popped. It's not a place where a bandage would ever stick, so the best I could do was slather it with Neosporin. Judging by the damage there now, I'd say the original blister rubbed itself even bigger, and another blister might have formed underneath. It's angry red, and hurts like a mo-fo when I wiggle my toes, but I think a few days of Neosporin and socks will cure me.
At the end of the day though, nothing can stop me from smiling with pride at what I have accomplished. Last year, I trained for six months for this race. This year, I was in shape (well...more in shape) enough to do it at the last minute. AND I got a PR! And now, my first ever race medal has a little brother. Pretty sweet, right?
December 1: Space Coast Half Marathon
December 7: Orlando Half Marathon
December 14: Tap 'n Run 4k
February 22: Disney's Enchanted 10k (day 1 of the Glass Slipper Challenge)
February 23: Disney's Princess Half Marathon (day 2 of the Glass Slipper Challenge)
March 2: (tentative) Excalibur 10-Miler