I love this race. Even though I am not very pleased with my results this time, you can't argue the fact that this is a great race. There's like a certain pre-race atmoshpere that you don't find at all races. It's like an old school race with all the luxuries of the present day and age. You can be running along during this race and instantly make friends. There are bonds to be created between those who conquer "The Hill" together. And all the sweat poured out becomes worth it when you make the turn into the backstretch lined with people cheering and the smell of good food being cooked up just for you.
Having run this race last year, I knew all this when the alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. Saturday morning. But as always, I had those "Do you really want to do this?" thoughts. And I answered quickly and firmly, "Yes, ofcourse I do!! Let's go!". I got dressed and all packed up, and Michele and Holly showed up around 5:30. We set out to Bell Buckle - got parked, picked up our t-shirt, race number and chip. We chatted briefly with Mike Neiderhauser and Carla and Chris Bloom. They are from a neighboring town here, and we always see them at races like this. We also spotted many of the speedy Nashville Striders that we know about.
We soon made our way to the start line, and took off. I felt like we had started out a little fast, but the first mile was 8:47, and the second was down around 8:35. Keep in mind I don't have a Garmin anymore, so I had to just rely on my watch. After mile 3, though, Holly and I realized we were right at an 8:20 pace, though, so we really must have sped up for that mile. I was hoping to finish the race with an 8:20 pace overall, so i was okay with that, although I didn't really feel as good as I had hoped for. Michele had dropped back a little, and I figured she must have been doing a better job of employing a "start slower, finish stronger" strategy than we were. But we kept moving, and found The Flash(my Dad) and my mom around mile 4. We gave them a "thumbs up" as they cheered and snapped our picture. Shortly after, "The Hill" came into sight. Holly looked up and mumbled "Oh. Dear. God." We made it to the base and i cheered "HERE WE GO!!!" as we started climbing. All the hype surrounding this hill makes it exciting for me...it's like the most important battle of a war or something. As I made it to the top, I realized Holly was no longer with me. I looked back and didn't see her, so I proceeded on. I hit the 5 mile split in 43:57, twenty-six seconds slower than last year. From there on out, I tried to just run as hard as I could without losing control of my heart rate. I talked to a few people, and had a good time, but it wasn't long until I realized I wasn't going to beat my time from last year. As I turned into the backstretch, I figured the only other thing to shoot for was to pass everybody I could see between myself and the finish line. I gave it everything I had, and passed about 5 or 6 other runners, the last one being just a couple steps before crossing the finish line. Official Time: 1:25:51 (8:36 pace) and 48 seconds slower than last year. I was 9th out of 62 in my age group, 55th overall female, and 218th overall.
I talked to my mom and dad for a few minutes, then went out to cheer on Holly, Michele, and others I knew who were still out there running. Holly came in strong at 1:28:15, and Michele at 1:28:53.
I enjoyed a popsicle, banana, and an RC Cola...got some pics taken with my friends and headed home.
I'm not really sure why I was slower this year. Last year I finished in 1:25:03, and my goal was to get down around 1:20:00 this year. I guess I'm just not there yet. Either that, or Saturday was just not my day. I guess you can't PR every time, but I don't like thought of stagnating. I won't dwell on it, though. This coming weekend is the McMinnville City Triathlon, and I'll be up against those 30-34 year olds again!
Here a few more photos:
5 years ago