Snowflakes again this morning in Georgia. It was too warm for them to stick or even make it on the ground, but still, crazy nonetheless. And it is supposed to be in the 70's again by Wednesday. It is that time of year, where if you want to have a different kind of weather in Georgia, you need just wait a day or two (you might get your wish).
Saturday was in the upper 60's, may have even touched 70 degrees. Then I wake up Sunday morning to cloudy, possibly rainy conditions and low to mid 50's. Lee came over to the apartment as she was running in the race (Half Mary) and Patsy took us to the race and dropped us off. We headed over to the West Stride tent and dropped off our gear. I said hey to Genie (West Stride's owner) and wished her luck on her race (Half Mary). Will fill you in on how some of team West Stride did later. I had to use the restroom and it was getting very close to race time. Last year I tried to hold it and I ended up waiting 4-5 minutes to use a porta-john @ mile 2. Granted last year I completed the full marathon, but I still did not want to stop in the first few miles of the race. I told Lee to go ahead and get into the start corrals and not to wait on me. I was going to be slower than her anyways, and I did not want a repeat of last year. The "gun" had gone off before I was done and I jogged up to the corral gates and merged with the group. Although it was not sunny outside for the race, it did not really get light outside until around mile 2.
After we got started I stayed with the herd, but tried to make sure my pace was around 9 min/mile. My main goal was to break two hours due to my lack of training lately, with my secondary goal shooting to get close to my PR time of 1:53. I saw Darcey and Rhonda around mile 2 and slowed down with them for just a minute to chat and wish them well on their half marathon efforts, and then I was off again! The up and down elevation (mostly up) began between mile 2 and 3, and I tried to maintain good form and stay as efficient as possible while working the hills. It was great to see so many people out on the streets watching us run and cheer for us. Between miles 5 and 6 we got out of elevation change for about half a mile so I put it on cruise control to check my time and pace. I was sitting just under 9 min/mile average, and I knew that I wanted to push it in the second half of the race, so I did not try to blow it out on the first half. I also wanted to try and push it in the last 3-4 miles to not only make sure I got under two hours, but to shoot for getting near my PR.
As we got through miles 6 and 7 we flattened out again in elevation and even had a slight downhill most of the way through mile 9 (minus one small hill). I took this as the time to push it since there would not be any elevation issues and the crowds had long since thinned out. I was putting in some quater mile splits under 8 min/mile pace. Looking back at the race, I should have held back until around mile 10 to push it since there were a few small rollers in the midtown area after mile 9 that really took it out of me, and pushed me to possibly not finishing in under two hours. At this point I was taking water and gatorade at every aid station (about 2 miles between each one) and I was throwing the excess water on me. Yes it was in the low to mid 50's but I was overheating and and the humidity was not helping at all (it drizzled a few times during the race as well, which felt great). Once I got to around mile 11, I was beginning to slow down a bit, and I realized I was gonna have to maintain pace as close to 9 min/mile as possible to make sure I came in under 2 hours. I attempted to pick up the pace again and found a few "rabbits" to chase, keeping me in the game mentally. One last incline before mile 12 and then I was home free. I struggled to get up the incline while maintaining pace, but I got up there. Now headed down the home stretch I was looking at my watch every 15 seconds while trying to find someone to "latch" on to. Crossed the finish line with 26 seconds to spare :)
Total Time: 1:59:32
Avg Pace: 8:59/mi
Overall Pl: 2924/10481 (top 30%)
Sex Pl: 1971/4618 (top 50%)
Div Pl: 296/676 (top 50%)
I was happy with my time and performace! Genie got 3rd place in the women's division for the half, and Wil (her manager) got 7th place in the men's division for the half! Congratulations to them! Thanks Ashleigh and anyone else out there who volunteered, and congratulations to Lee, Darcey, Rhonda and anyone else who either completed the half or full marathon yesterday!
Now onto my tri season.... :)