It was GREAT! I went in having no idea what to expect. I was so anxious about it. I know I can run the 5 miles "no problem", but that's on a treadmill. The road is SO different and I'm completely aware of that. I also know that I tend to run a lot faster on the road than I do on the treadmill, so it's a lot more difficult to pace myself. Then there are the hills to consider, that's just a whole endurance situation. So with all this considered, I was hoping to finish around 55 minutes. This was accounting for everything - running a 9:40 min mile on the treadmill, the hills, and having to walk occasionally. BUT, I ended up finishing in 49:33!! WOO!! I was stoked!
So we all got there, it was PACKED! I'm glad I got there when I did! We had to park at the college across the street and traffic wasn't that bad, but by the time I parked and walked across the street, traffic was way backed up on the main road. Whew! Glad I JUST missed that! There was an announcer telling everybody what to do and he kept saying that there were over 3000 registered runners. 3000!!! The largest race I've done is 300 people! I was NOT expecting this! And not only was it over 3000 runners, but these runners were from 36 states! This was a USATF certified course, making it a huge attraction for people. It's the largest Turkey Trot in the area! That made me uncomfortable to know that there were SO many people, but it caused there to be a lot of excitement in the air.
We started to line up based off of pace times (less than 7 min, 7-9 min, 9-11 min, and greater than 11 min/baby strollers/walkers). I lined up near the front of the 9-11 min pace group and off we went! I looked at the map of the course beforehand (bad idea) and knew that it wasn't going to be on very many roads. One road (about 1.5 miles), then through a neighborhood (1.5 miles), then back on that same long road (2 miles), so that gave me a rough idea of where I was in the course. I didn't like it! There were very few visible mile markers and the iMapMyRun app SUCKED. I heard it go "Time: 2 minutes, 28 seconds; distance: 1.00 miles" and then again at the 5 minute mark, then again the 7.5 min mark, etc. By the end of the race, it said I had gone 8.5 miles! Yeah... My "pace" started at 2.5 min/mile and by the end, I was at a 5 min mile. I know my pace slowed down a lot, but I also have no idea if my phone was measuring a mile the same at the end as it was in the beginning. I've never had the app be so wrong before! It was really annoying!
This race really was mind over matter. My phone wasn't telling me how accurate I was, there weren't many visible mile markers, and although I knew a rough outline of the course, I had NO idea how much was left - especially when I was on that long road! Although that main road was generally flat (there were slight inclines, but let me tell you, you still feel those!), it was still difficult to finish. It was a lot of run for a minute or so, and then walk for a minute, then run again, then walk some more. But then I saw the 4 mile marker sign and a little later my phone told me "8 miles" were completed at 42 minutes. I knew then that I had a chance of finishing this in under 50 minutes - but only if I ran most of the way! With about half a mile left, a girl came up to me when I was walking and was like "let's run this thing to the end". So we did. I'm SO thankful for her. Without her, I would have walked a little bit of it. And then I saw the shopping center and the finish and kept pushing. It was difficult, really difficult, but I did it! The gun time had me finishing at 50:25, but the chip time was 49:33. I'm totally going with the chip time - essentially, it took me a minute to get from where I had started in the line up to the actual start of the course (remember, 3000 people!!). My average time was a 9:58 min/mile! In my division (females 20-24), I ended up finishing 56 out of 96 (one of the smaller divisions, surprisingly! The female 25-29 age group had over 200 participants!), which makes me average! WOO!
But it was A LOT of fun to run with so many people and it was intimidating. Very few people had to walk and it was motivation for me to keep running. I'm definitely going to do it again next year! I was VERY sore yesterday - my thighs hurt (even though I did the yoga for runners right afterwards), my calf hurt, my ankle hurt, and I had the post-running outside 24 hour cold, so I did no cardio yesterday :( BUT, I'd definitely do it again! The 8K was a great challenge for me and I can't wait to do another one! For now, I'm going to master the 5K (I'm considering doing the Jingle Bell Run 5K next Saturday, but I'm not sure yet - I might wait to do one on Dec 8) and do a St Patty's day 8K. Then do a 10K sometime next spring. Then maybe by next fall, I'll be able to do a half marathon. I can do it!
So here is a post-race pic!