Before I get into the race post, a picture of the ring that I promised ...
The ring! Blue topaz donated by my dad for the cause set simply. I love it.
Anyway, on to the race! Brandon and I did this same race last year. We were thinking about doing a smaller one, but decided "eh, what the hell" and did it again this year.
Last year: 4,000 people showed up.
This year: 9,000 people showed up (7000something finishers).
Last year: Race temp somewhere in the 40s.
This year: Race temp ended up cracking 60.
Last year: We pretty much quit working out for like a month at this time.
This year: We've kept plugging along somehow.
Last year: The race would be the longest one to date.
This year: I've cranked out over four several times and even cracked five once.
Last year: I had to walk during the race.
This year: No walking for me!
Last year: I felt fine.
This year: Ran through a head cold (which is still here ... grrr ...)
Okay, so except for that last one, this year was much better than last, including our times (which you'll see in a second). Given the warm weather, there was still snow on the ground, though.
Brandon standing in CO snow for the 11th straight month.
We got there about 90 minutes prior to race start so we could find good parking so we could get out of there pretty quickly after the race ended (race time was 10:15am; i had to be at work at 12:30p). As a result, we had tons of time to walk around and warm up.
Brandon and I with Gobbles the race mascot.
The typical "Brandon adjusts his iPod" warm-up shot.
Continuing the silliness. I also rocked out my new Zeal sunglasses this race (they were awesome).
Exiting the port-o-potties. Remember how I said 9000 people showed up for this race? Yeah, there was this row and another row with about the same amount of port-o-potties right next to it ... and none other except at the finish line. Yeah. Glad we got in line early.
Some guy dressed as a chicken.
Brandon channelling his inner warrior for the race.
T the Tree becoming a tree ... kind of literally (t the tree was my hockey nickname ... long story).
We finally made our way to the start about 15 minutes prior to race time. Given that it's our "last" race of the season, we decided to run it together. I kind of felt bad making Brandon run with me given that his running has been going a lot better than mine AND my body decided to get sick on me, but he insisted.
Given that this race is so huge, they don't have people at the mile markers yelling out your time. Which, given that it ended up taking us 90 seconds to even get to the timing mat at the start line from our place in the masses, was probably okay. Anyway, first mile was different for Brandon and I. He thought it felt bad. I thought the first mile flew by and was kind of surprised to see that first marker. I felt okay while running and I didn't lose my timing chip in the first tenth of a mile like I did last year, so that was a plus.
The latter half of mile two was when things started to get iffy for me. One thing that probably helped in the first mile and a half was we ended up running on the path in the park and NOT the street. However, halfway into mile two, we wound up back on the street which I'm sure changed the impact of my feet hitting the ground and blahblahblah. I also started heating up a bit (remember what I said about it getting to 60 degrees?). Regardless, if mile one felt great, mile two felt like crap.
Mile three wasn't that better. I was seriously concentrating on form so it wouldn't crumble into the ground and I was slowing my pace a little just so I could keep running. It crossed my mind to take a small walk break, but I know that once I make the decision to walk once, I've made the decision to turn what was a run into a walk/run. Sucks, but that's the way my body works. So, I kept on plugging.
Mile four was the most painful. I could tell Brandon probably wanted to pull away, but, wonderful fiance that he is, he stayed with me. I kept giving him one word answers to his questions (which were mostly, "You okay?" me: "yeah."). Still, I kept running. Felt marginally better once I saw the finish line. Was a lot happier that, unlike last year, I could actually SPRINT across the line this year ... though it was probably one of my worst kicks ever.
Last year: Got stuck in a logjam and had to walk across the finish line.
This year: Was able to actually RUN across the line!
Last year: Finished in 48:26 for a 12:06.5/mile pace.
This year: Finished in 40:52 for a 10:13/mile pace.
Last year: Finished one second behind Brandon.
This year: Finished one second ahead of Brandon.
To sum up, it's better to never just stop training and even if you have a head cold and haven't been putting in that many runs (particularly longer distance runs), you can still pull a decent time out of your behind.
Also, as Brandon and I are hoping to do a blog overhaul sometime between now and January 1, you might see even less posting than you do from us now ... particularly from him. Just to warn you.