Woke up early to make sure the stomach was settled and the bladder was empty by start time this week. Very relaxed since I literally was 2 minutes from the start. The weather decided to be cold again which was great for racing, not so great for warming up and waiting for awards, but I'll take it. Next race though I need to remember to bring some proper warm up and cool down clothes. I was freezing post race! So other than a strong headwind on the way out conditions were pretty close to ideal.
We checked out the race course Thursday and other than a mile in the middle that winds through the woods on a gravel path it seemed to be fast and flat. It's a money race so some serious runners were out. I had no idea how my legs were going to feel but wanted to ideally run a 29:20 and would be happy with anything under 29:59. I also wanted to try and behave and run a more even split race than I did at Johnnycake.
No chips today so I lined up on the line with a few fast locals and a handful of fast foreigners. The gals seemed to take it out slow because I could still see some of them the first mile. But then things started to spread out. I was behind my training buddy NC and another locally fast chick and her speedy husband the first mile. I was feeling good, and happy that the legs were responsive. I managed to find myself in no mans land and wasn't too happy about that, but didn't want to push the pace and blow up so I stayed about 10 seconds back from the next pack of people. Thankfully near the mile marker two guys caught me and I tucked in behind them to try and get out of the wind. Hit the mile in 5:47 which was in my target range of 5:45 to 5:52.
The race was marked well and had mile markers and 1/2 mile markers as well as signs saying when you were 100 yards from the next mile. It was overcast and the second mile we were cruising along. I knew our pace wasn't quite as fast but we weren't falling back from the couple ahead of us so I just sat on the guys I was with. Hit mile 2 in 11:47 (6:00) and decided that was ok. Even if I ran 6:00 the rest of the way I would still break 30 which was my do or die goal. You head through the park on the next mile and my mini pack started to break up but I couldn't find another gear and had to let my "rabbits" go. I just kept telling myself to keep it up through 3 and see what I could do the last 2 miles. Hit 2.5 in 14:47 so I knew I was still holding steady at 6:00 pace and it felt controllable.
Mile 3 you head off the pavement and into the woods. Another 6:00 mile here and I knew it was time to go to work if I wanted to catch anyone and hold my place. My friend LT was shooting for 29:30 and I knew he would be gunning for me. Sure enough about 3.5 I heard some breathing behind me and he encouraged me to keep working. That got me moving a bit quicker and I managed to hold that mile to a 6:00 too, good for that mile since much of it was soft surface and winding.
With one to go the wind was at our backs and it was time to see if I had any juice left. We hit 4 miles at 23:47 so I knew I needed to keep up 6 or better to seal the deal. With about 1/2 mile to go the inevitable happened and LT passed me encouraging me to try and catch the next girl. We upped the pace but I just couldn't quite stay with him. It was sprinkling and the road was getting a little slippery. My traction was a little off but I did my best to up the ante and pick it up. With 1/4 mile to go I was pretty sure I wouldn't catch the next girl but I could hear footsteps behind me and I did not want to get caught! Coach as usual was encouraging me to get on my toes but I had to settle for running hard and upright. Surprised myself with a 5:44 to finish it out in 29:31.0.
Couldn't hold off LT or catch the 6th girl, but a 45 second PR and finally got that sub 6 monkey off my back so I am a happy girl! Keeping my PR streak going for the year. Another confidence booster for the marathon this fall!