Things got off to a grumpy start when we arrived for the race. Everyone had to pick up their timing chip that morning, at the race, and it was a complete mess. Crazy lines, nobody knew what was happening, we had to split up to get in the right lines, and then suddenly it was 5 minutes before the start and I still didn't have my chip. Grrrrrr! Finally got it but then couldn't find any of my gals. GRRRRRRRRR! So frustrating! About 30 seconds before the horn sounded I did find them... so happy!
It was a pretty warm day, but we still had a bit of fog at the start and I was hoping it would stick around. I ran the first 7 miles or so with Nicole and our buddy Rebekah, but they made a pit stop and I just wanted to keep going. For the first time, I had a really specific time goal in mind - 2 hrs 15 minutes. My previous best was 2:19 in Austin, but I had never really focused on my times that much. So I figured that if I actually applied myself, and managed to avoid the porta-potty line, I could probably do it. Especially since the route is my home turf - I run it all the time - and it's flat as a pancake. So anyway, I broke off around mile 7 and ran the rest alone.
I felt pretty great for most of this race; I was still floating from all the birthday love, and during the time I ran alone I just kept thinking about Mielle, and all the amazing kids I've come to know through our experiences with JM... Dominic, Grace, Morgan, Connor, Gary, Mason, Megan, Parker, Kya, Sienna, Gracie, Brielle, Kristen, Amanda, Kendyl, Selma, Emma... the list goes on and on. I felt pretty strong but whenever it waned a little, I'd just think about those kids and it literally fueled me.
Once I was to mile 10 or so, I was sure that I would beat my goal time so I spontaneously revised it to 2 hrs 10 mins. That would be close. I chugged along as hard as I could those last three miles and felt pretty good because I was passing a lot of people; I was getting tired but at that point, it's so close... so I just kept pushing and pushing, past all the familiar landmarks of my regular runs -- up Shoreline, past Park Street, Willow, Grand, the Crown Beach parking lot with our favorite water fountain... and finally around the curvy path to the finish at Crab Cove. I still had some kick left in the end and crossed the line in 2 hrs, 10 mins, 40 seconds. I just missed 2:10 - but still - Woooo hooo! (Next time I'll try for 2:05.)
So I gotta say that the champagne sponsors totally redeemed this race, after the organizational fiasco of the "race day chip pickup"earlier. The slogan of this particular event is "I run for chocolate and champagne", but last year - by the time I finished - they were running low on the bubbly and I got about 1/3 glass. This year, things were different, and it was so nice! The champagne was flowing freely - we all had glass after glass, even the non-runners. It was so very festive! So we kicked back, waited for the rest of our peeps to come in, and then just basked in our glory for a bit. Nothing like a nice little champagne buzz on a sunny day after 13.1 miles! Sweeeeet.
Doesn't Mielle look great?