This past Sunday, I finally ran my first race of the season. 2011 was the third anniversary of the Air Force Run, and it is a very small, intimate race – only 225 people ran the half!
I did not go into this race with great expectations – I did a 22.2 mile training run on the Thursday before (taper? I don’t need no stinkin’ taper!), and was put on prescription antibiotics for strep throat on Saturday… I was worried I wouldn’t be able to run at all! But I woke up Sunday morning feeling OK, so the race was on. My plan was to try to come in around 2:10, as opposed to the 2:02-2:03 I thought I could do if I wasn’t sick.
The race was scheduled to start at 9:00 am – a nice late start! It meant that we could get up at 7:00, have a nice breakfast, and even have a quick shower before leaving the house just after 8:00. It took 20 minutes to drive to the shuttle stop, and a quick shuttle ride left us plenty of time to check our gear and line up for the race. Race day weather was pretty much perfect ~9C, cool and cloudy but no wind! (A big deal here in Winnipeg).
This race is run to support military charities, providing support to soldiers who have been injured and families who have lost members. One participant was a solider who was wounded, and through rehab is now able to run again – very inspiring!
After being piped to the starting line by the military band, the race started with two loops through the air field, where several planes were on display. I started slower – being concerned with coughing a lot and possibly not being able to complete the race. I didn’t think I was going that fast, but according to my Garmin, my first mile was 9:13. Not bad! And I was feeling good – no need to walk yet. Might as well bank a few good miles before slowing down later, right?
Miles 2 and 3 were part of the same loop, and my pace had evened out to a nice 9:25 and 9:26. I sped up a bit for mile 4, to 9:16, but miles 5 through 8 floated between 9:22 and 9:32. The mid point of mile 9 was a turn around point, and all of a sudden, I felt awesome! I could feel myself running easier, each step was lighter and faster – I figured I’d ride the wave as long as I could, and accept the crash when it came.
Mile 9 took 9:18, mile 10 was an awesome 8:58 (!), and mile 11 was 9:00. I was surprised how good I still felt – I really thought I’d be in trouble by that point, as I had not taken any GU’s, and had barely had 1/3 of a bottle of Gatorade. But I was still feeling pretty good, and with only 2 miles to go, I knew I would be done soon. Mile 12 came in at 9:16, and mile 13 at 9:06!
According to my Garmin, I actually ran 13.36 miles, not 13.1 – not surprising, I don’t really pay attention to running the tangents. Plus I started it a bit before the start line, and forgot to turn it off for about 100 yards after.
The end result? My official race time was 2:03:57 – and I’m super happy with that. That is a new PR for me by more than 20 minutes! My prior best was 2:24:45… I’m so happy with this result! The training has really paid off.
Bruce also had a great race, finishing in 1:51:16. He snapped this picture of me on his iPhone just before I crossed the finish line…
The only downside is, I think running so hard actually set back my recovery a little, as I spent the next two days nursing a horrid cold/infection. I’m still glad I did it though! NExt up, the Manitoba Marathon June 19th…