|Karen, Aimee, Tara, Lynn, Amy|
We went to pick up our packets early so we'd have the rest of the night to relax and encourage each other. Packet pick up was rather uneventful (if you don't include the atrociousness of this year's tech tees (mens-cut in baby puke tan with a moose on the front). I've never been to Sugarloaf without snow on the ground, it's quite beautiful.
The night was spent eating and laughing. There was a lot of discussion about what shoes to wear, what time to wake up, what to eat for breakfast, and a book called Fifty Shades of Grey (need I say more)? To say it had the feel of a teenage girls slumber party should conjure up the proper image.
After deciding where everyone would sleep for the night (and a LOT more laughing) we finally settled down. I'll be honest, I didn't sleep more than an hour or two. I don't sleep well in general, and I sleep even worse in strange places. I can still rest though, even if I'm not really sleeping. And I'm happy to report, there were no snorers:)
We woke up early, 5:15, on race day morning. Bagels and peanut butter were eaten, water was consumed (but not too much) and a LOT of trips to the bathroom. We either have very small bladders or we all get nervous pees before a big race! After much debate, I decided to wear my new (just out of the box) Nike Vomero 6 over my Nike Vomero 5. This isn't as crazy as it sounds, since I'd already retired an identical pair of Vomero 6s earlier this winter. I also decided to go "tech naked" (i.e. no Garmin or watch) as I did at Race the Runways. Instead, I lent my Garmin (aka "Miles", 'cuz I really do name EVERYTHING) to Amy.
We arrived at the start in plenty of time to work out some nervous energy, and yes... another trip (or two) to the porta-potty. We checked out the competition and decided that if you wear brightly colored shoes you MUST be fast. My shoes are mostly white, with a little yellow, this appears to support our hypothesis. To the race organizers credit, the race started on time (much to the disappointment of the 20+ people still standing in line for the porta-potty).
This was my first time racing this distance, even though it's not my furthest. I remembered from my half marathon experience that starting out slower than you think you should will benefit you in the end. Thus, I set out at a comfortable pace. I was a little tempted to step it up as I saw wave after wave of people pass me, but then I just reminded myself that we lined up in the first half of the crowd, and let's face it, I'm not fast. So I let them pass and focused on how I was feeling to gauge my pace. I thought of my teammates and silently wished them a good race. We all had our own goals and definitions of success for this race. For some it was a time, for others a pace, and others were running the furthest they'd ever run. I knew we would all be successful, we'd all been training diligently, we were prepared.
I have to admit, I like racing the longer distances and I like going tech naked. I find myself really responding to my body's cues and by the end of the race I feel like I put everything I had out there.
Once I got to the first water station at mile 2 I'd loosened up enough to really feel like I was racing. This is one of the reasons I like the longer distances, because often times it takes me a mile or two to really start enjoying a run. I'm not a big water drinker when I race (which is something I'll have to address before the marathon and the half marathons this summer), so I ran through all the water stops without taking any water except the last one. I grabbed a cup and rinsed out my mouth which was quite parched by mile 8.
As the lumber store sign became visible up ahead (aka the turn off for the finish line) I began to get excited. The last mile was a bear as the temperature hit the 80s and the sun beat down on me without any shade. I was tempted a couple times to take a walk break, but resisted remembering how I started to fall apart after taking a walk break at Race the Runways. As I approached the turn off to the finish Amy was there, with a BAND, cheering me on. Conch shells, cow bells, and bongo drums! That was enough to lift me up and release what little energy I had left to pick up the pace and cross the finish line. My official time was 1:42:24, my goal was 1:45. My average pace was exactly 11:00 which I was thrilled with (my pace at the 10 mile mark at RTR was 11:16).
We stopped for ice cream on our way home, still beaming from the triumph of the race and the fun of the weekend. When I got home I showed my husband the cool medal I'd earned ('cuz I run for cake AND MEDALS) and gave him the baby puke tan race tee. I can't wait for the rest of the races this season and for Sugarloaf next year! I bet we'll have 20 runners!
I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but I feel so lucky to be a part of Kennebec Valley Coaching. Not only have I made great new friends, but I'm continually pushing the envelope and doing things I never would have imaged... AND HAVING FUN!!! If you want to join us (and you KNOW you do) click here.