After 5 years of doing this race, I’ve got the pre-race routine down. I got up and had breakfast before heading to campus. I know that traffic can get a bit backed up and I wanted park in one of the lots by the stadium. I don’t mind being early and sitting in my car for a little bit if it means parking close.
I hit the restroom line and then just walked around for about 10 minutes to warm up until it was time to head to the corral. I sandwiched myself between the 9:30 and 9:00 pacers since I was aiming for something around a 9:20-9:25 pace.
I started my watch as I crossed the start line and we were off! The adrenaline and crowd often make me start a little too fast, so I tried to keep my pace under control while I warmed up. We headed up University Ave. and then turned into campus. Before I knew it I saw the marker for mile 1. Then my watch beeped a decent distance after I passed it, so I was a little worried the course would be off. I kept up a slightly faster than expected pace in mile 2. A big downhill helped with that. It was immediately followed by a big uphill that took some energy, but I settled into a comfortable pace when I got to the top.
It wasn’t that warm, but it felt humid to me. I felt like I was seating a lot even just a couple of miles in. I wasn’t thinking I’d want water at the first water stop, but I decided to take some cause I was feeling thirsty. I continued down the river road holding a good pace. The mile markers started lining up better with when my watch beeped, so I was feeling a little better about the course.
Around mile 5, I took a GU for a mid-race pick me up. I think mile 6 ended up being my slowest mile, but by mile 7 I picked up the pace again (maybe the GU was working). The last couple of miles have a couple of killer uphills that can make the thighs burn. I managed to keep the legs pumping as I made my way back to University Ave. for the home stretch. I picked up the pace a little and then a lot as we hit the outside of the stadium. Before I knew it, we were turning into the tunnel and hit the field. I crossed the finish line (at the 50 yard line) and stopped my watch.
I grabbed my medal and asked a kind stranger to take my picture. 🙂
My official time was 1:32:04, a new PR! That amounted to about a 9:13 pace, faster than I had hoped. I felt good through the race. I love doing this race every year because I continue to see progress. I feel faster and stronger each time I do it. It’s a nice benchmark early in the year.
Hope it’s a good prelude for my half marathon in a couple of weeks!