Well, I worked hard to prepare and it paid off. I wish I had stuck to the training more closely, but I came through just fine.
I picked up my packet yesterday and it was SO crowded and traffic... don't even get me started on the traffic! The interstate was at a complete stand-still!!! That's what happens when registration is maxed out at 35,000 people. Yes. 35,000. This being my first expo, I was pretty overwhelmed, but it was very cool. Lots of free treats!
I did NOT sleep well last night because I was so nervous. I was pretty much awake at 4 and took cat naps in awkward sleeping positions until 6. I REALLY didn't want to get out of bed at 6. Like, REALLY didn't want to. Somehow, I made myself remove the warm covers from my body and shuffled out of the still very dark room. I changed into my gear right away and ate my fave pre-run breakfast: whole wheat English muffin, natural peanut butter, and honey. I also drank about 25oz of water. We left around 7.20 and it took us 40 minutes to get near the race and park when it's usually a not quite 20 minute drive. The parking was the hard part, but we found a little back road that had just started filling up and parked it there. I had forgotten to eat my almonds on the way there because I was the opposite of hungry. We hoofed it the half mile or so to the race area and watched the kid's one mile fun run. I met up with Julia, an amazing girl in the youth group who was also running with her family. Her dad took us to the corrals and, thankfully, the Porta-Potties. I was in severe need of my Porta-Potty. Severe. Very Severe. Painfully Severe. You get the point.
ANYWAY, by the time I got out of my lovely (sarcasm) Porta-Potty, I had about 30 minutes until go time. I joined up with my corral and DH stayed with me until about 5 minutes before I started. I munched on almonds while we waited because I was starting to feel pretty hungry. This was one of my mistakes. A really nice girl in my wave was going to throw her jacket away because she didn't want to race with it, but she spotted DH and asked if she could at least give it to him and if she saw us after the race, she'd grab it, and if not, we could keep it or give it to Goodwill. With that taken care of, I bid DH goodbye with a kiss and steped ever closer to the start line. And then... we were off.
Almost immediately I felt a side cramp, which I usually get if I eat too close to running or if I'm not breathing properly. It wasn't too painful, but it was a nuisance for about one third to half of the race. The first mile took FOREVER because there were about 1500 people in each wave and I was in the back of the wave. If I'd have been able to run at my own pace for that mile, I might have beaten all three goals, but I am extremely happy with having met two. There were SO many cheerers out there, which really boosted my confidence. Around the second mile, someone handed me a pretty flower, which I held onto for the entire race. I gave lots of high fives and received so much encouragement. The race was pretty flat, but mostly felt like a constant crawl uphill, which is nothing compared to the hills I run. I kept wanting to drink the water at the stations (which were posted at every mile), but I resisted because I hadn't trained with water or Power-Ade, so I didn't want to mess up anything. During the last mile, I caught up to the girl who'd given us her sweatshirt and we stayed together for most of the last mile, though I'll admit, I really pushed in the last .2 or so and I got ahead.
My first goal going in was to run the whole thing, which I did. My second goal was to beat my wave, which was the group who expected to finish in 70-75 minutes, which I did. My third goal was to beat 67 minutes... I don't really know where that time came from. It's just slightly faster than an 11 minute mile pace, which I thought I could do, and probably could. My only 6.1 mile run was done in 67 some odd minutes, so I knew it'd be more challenging adding the last tenth of a mile on and picking up speed. I probably could meet this goal very soon, but I am very happy with my time (unofficial), which was....
67 minutes and 35 seconds (OFFICIALLY)!!!!! My split was 34 minutes and 50 seconds... which is over two minutes off my first 5k... which means that the second 5k of the race was 32 minutes and 45 seconds, which is awesome for me! I placed 15,265 out of 35,000 people... so yay for being faster than half of the racers!
If you've read all this so far, you should comment on this post, which is probably one of my longest ever!
After the race, we (the girl with the sweatshirt and I) met up with DH, who had missed my big finish! He was disappointed, but I know the professionals got my photo because there were about a billion of them. :-) DH and I then high-tailed it outta there while I called everyone I know who is in the country (my Dad and his wife are on a European cruise right now...) to tell them of my accomplishment! We got home and I quickly showered, did my hair and a little makeup, then went over to our friend Tony's for the consumption of pizza and two-bite brownies with some youth and young adults from church. He is moving to his first home, so we helped pack up the U-Haul after the pizza-eating. I ended up regretting this food choice because my tummy did not appreciate pizza after running 6.2 miles.
While the boys took all the stuff over to Tony's new place, I met up with my college roommate, Amanda! It was SOOOO amazing to see her again. We've not gotten together since we graduated, so a meeting was quite overdue. We hung around two of the swanky shopping centers here and oogled all the ridiculous items and their even more ridiculous prices!
DH is now out taking engagement photos for a coworker, so I am left alone to clean the house for my mother, who is coming tomorrow because we are going to see WICKED!!! Then... on Thursday... we are going to see... NORAH JONES!!! This is seriously the best week ever.