This race is a perfect example of having a plan, and executing it to success. I ran the Mountain Goat 10 miler last year, on a day that was very hot and humid, weather that Syracuse was not ready for. I had a tough race mentally, and I really debated on running it again, but by the time April came around, I was ready to redeem myself.
My work started over the winter, I was stuck at a 10 minute mile pace, but between the speed work I did on my treadmill, and at Saturday morning training runs around hilly parts of the city, I managed to knock it down to between a 9:15 - 9:30 pace. I ran the Shamrock Run 4 miler, where I got a one minute PR. That's all I needed to feel great mentally, so I was ready to take on the Goat again.
The night before the race I ate smart, a bit of salad, along with one of my favorite pastas, made with artichokes, feta, kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, and a bit of chicken. Race day, I had my standard pre-run breakfast of coffee, toast with peanut butter, and a banana. I guzzled some nuun, and water, and was ready to go!
My plan was to follow what I did on my last long 9:33 mile run. Not not take in too much water the first five miles, have a gel at mile six, stay strong on all the hills, and go all out the last two miles. I debated about what to wear, I wanted to wear not only my compression socks, but my shorts as well, my hamstring has healed, but I've been giving it a workout, so to be safe I wanted to wear the shorts.
Sunday was beautiful, cloudy, but it warmed up quickly to the low sixties. I rode to the race with Norine, Heather, and Manal, and then we met up with our friends Natalie and Debbie. My sis in law Jeannine was sorely missed, she had done all the training with us, but had a prior commitment race day, so it was a bummer that she couldn't run.
I kept running into friends, and chatted the time away on porta potty lines, and I got a final pep talk from my friend Kelly. I was a little worried that my clothing choices were going to be too warm, I topped my black shorts with my Run EMZ shirt, a look that I knew the Black Knight would approve of.
I was so ready to get moving. My plan was to stay around a 9:30 pace, and try and go as quickly as I could on the hills. I had a water bottle with me, since they ran out of water last year and I wanted to be sure to have some on hand. No ipod, but I had a chocolate mint GU. Which I have to say, I love GU, I started using it last summer while marathon training, and it has never given me issues. The folks at GU were kind enough to send me a bunch of flavors last fall, when I told them I couldn't find chocolate mint in my local stores, and it's now my favorite flavor.
Anyway. The race started, and I immediately lost everyone, but I wasn't surprised. We hit the first group of hills about a mile and a half in, I sailed right up, up, up, and over. Another nice stretch, it was perfect weather for a run, and warm enough that I started sipping from my water long before I planned to. At mile five, hammy surprisingly got a little tight, and I knew killer hilly Colvin Street was coming up, so I stopped at the side for maybe 15 seconds to stretch it, then got moving again. Sucked down my GU, put my head down, and tackled the monster....it was one of those "am I running or walking?" situations. After I got through that, I came to mile seven, the point last year where I had my mental meltdown. I was determined to get through it, but it was hard for me again, it was so quiet, I tried chatting with some runners, but everyone was too focused to talk.
One last hill around mile 8, and it was a doozy, a short climb, but very steep. I looked at G-unit, it read 1:19, I knew at this point I was going to get a PR, even if I slowed down, so I did, and walked to the top. The rest of the course was smooth sailing, I knew the worst was behind me, but I was tired. Then I realized I was running behind the basketball runner, this guy runs the race while dribbling a basketball, and has been doing it for the past 21 years!
I turned the corner and saw the finish line, I've said it before, but I hate knowing the finish line is in sight, it's that whole it's so close yet so far kind of thing. I looked for Mike and the kids, but didn't see them, but I did hear someone call my name, and it was Kelly, jumping up and down. She later told me I looked really strong, which compared to last year, is Huge.
When I saw the time clock, and looked back down at G-Unit, I knew I had pulled off over an EIGHT minute PR, my official time was 1:40:25. WHOO HOO!
Redemption is sweet.
Caught up with everyone, had some beers.....then, Heather (my Biggest Loser competitor), who pulled off a 5 minute PR, found out she got a silver medal, for completing the course in under 1:20!!!
You Go Girl!
I'm in a great place mentally. My plan now is to take it easy this week, then I need to start my triathlon training, for my Sprint on August 8. Then I'll take another short break, before I start training.....for the NYC Marathon!
Can you see my happy dance?