This is a weird race to write about. I ran 9.3 miles. I raced 3 of them. I really did enjoy myself, and I actually felt pretty proud of myself at the end, but I haven’t been sure exactly what to say about the whole experience.
The boring stuff: Hot Chocolate had a shakey start from what I read about their first race, but they’ve totally gotten their act together. The race was well organized, and even though the course was borrrrrrrrring, I would definitely do it again.
Okay, so Nicole and I had been planning to run together. Neither of us had ever run a 15k before, but I was really excited and had pace plans all mapped out in my head thinking this would the perfect opportunity to practice pacing for a sub 2 half, and really, I’m always excited to race with Nicole. She’s faster than me and she pushes me, and most importantly, we always laugh–at 5am, when it’s hard, at at the end of mile 18, we never stop laughing.
Right as the race was about to start, we found Stacey, got into our corral and we were off. This part was annoying. When I signed up, I had predicted my pace would be around a 9 min/mile. We were in the second corral which scared the crap out of me, but literally for the first 1/2 mile, it was so congested, and everyone was going so slowly that I couldn’t get anywhere near my goal pace. Wahhhh. I was that girl weaving around, and Nicole and Stacey followed me. Apparently I was on a mission that morning! We finally got our own space, got our pace down, and completed the first mile in 9:10–right on target. Unfortunately, Nicole had an injury that had started bugging her a couple of days before, and she was not feeling great. She told me she was going to walk for a bit (which this girl NEVER does, and how I knew something was wrong), and I slowed right down with her. She stuck with me during the turkey trot when I was having major stomach issues, and there was no way I was going to leave her. Stacey stuck with us too, and my goals very quickly changed to being with my friends–there are plenty of other races.
We walked for a bit, then tried to run again, but it was obvious Nicole was hurting, so we stopped and I told her I wasn’t going anywhere until she turned around. The marathon is a month away, and no 15k is worth risking your first marathon if you’re in pain. As soon as Stacey and I started to run again, I immediately felt totally guilty. Why was I still running??? I should have stopped and turned around with her. One of my best friends was struggling, and I turned and kept running. I felt like crap about it, and considered turning around about 100 times, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find her, and I was just conflicted, so I kept going. Of course she didn’t expect me to stay with her, and I wouldn’t have wanted someone to stop with me, but I just wished I would have stuck with her.
Anyway, I kept running with Stacey, and I just couldn’t get my head back in the game. I felt guilty, I knew I wasn’t going to make my goal of 1:25, I just wasn’t pushing, and kinda just wanted to be done. There was pretty much no crowd support, and the course just kept going baaaaack and forth in the same area over and over. I wasn’t into it. I thought about taking, like, a billion walking breaks, and not because I was tired, but because I just didn’t feel like running. When Stacey stopped to use the bathroom, I stuck around to wait for her mostly because it was nice to get to run with her again, but also a little because I thought I might totally give up if I was alone.
Then, at mile 7 I got the hell over it I guess, and decided I was ready to race. Better late than never? I ran the last 2 miles at 8:55, then 8:30, and finished with Stacey at 1:30:23. Considering I had been stopped for about 4 minutes of that, I was actually really excited. I realized that although my heart wasn’t into it for 6 out of the 9 miles, I still did pretty darn well, and this just means my next 15k will basically be an automatic PR 😉