I knew it was going to be a nice muggy morning, something I was not looking forward to. And, I will admit that I had looked up previous years finishing times to get a general feel of how fast times had been. Of course, you never know what speedy person will show up, but I got the general feel that I actually had a shot at winning this race. I'm not going to lie, that would be cool & I even envisioned how that might look. Keeping with reality though you never know what will happen on race day or, as previously mentioned, who might show up. At the last minute I heard of someone who might be good competition and also saw that a local cross country standout was running her first half marathon. I wasn't counting my chickens just yet.
For the first time ever I had signed up to run for a team & help raise money for them. Team Asha for Life Community is a organization started by some local community leaders & business man. It was an honor to participate on behalf of this team.
One of the nice things about a local race is being able to roll out of bed an hour before the event and make it there in just a few minutes. I had been up late the night before packing & getting ready for the race so getting as much sleep as possible was nice. But, then again, when you know you have a race (and big vacation plans right after) who can sleep really well anyway?!?! (Racers know exactly what I'm talking about!). After the team picture, one last stop at the porta potty (for a smaller race they had plenty of them) and it was time for the gun to go off.
Ready to Start
They start the 5k and the half marathon at the same time so there is a lot of people at the start, but after 1.5 miles it thins out really quick. There were 394 finishers in the 5k and 177 in the half marathon. The first few blocks of the race have a few turns to get us out of the downtown area then there are long stretches at a time. I started out toward the front of the pack. I don't like to be caught up behind lots of people. But I had to be careful to not take pace with the front 5kers who tend to be more speedy. That's always the trick with me, one I haven't mastered; having a good solid pace, but not going out too fast. I usually err on the side of caution and take it slightly easy.
After the 5k turn off and things thinned down I was the lead female until about mile 5. I was feeling pretty good. Not awesome, it's my best race ever, but not bad in any way either. Again, I was really holding back to make sure I didn't completely fade out. It was also pretty warm and really muggy! I felt like I had to play it smart. Of course, I always think like that then later wish I had pushed harder. At about mile 5 another female runner passed me and took the lead by about 30 seconds. For most of the race I was not far behind her. I had never met this person before, she had come from Boulder, CO and has a coaching business She Does Tri. When I picked up my race packet the day before I noticed she was a sponsor listed on the shirt so I asked my friend Tracy about her. (I also looked up her finishing time from last year & knew this was my competition). From my point of view it appeared she had a man pacing her. When they passed I could hear him "coaching" her and he constantly turned around to look at, what I presumed to be, me.....her competition. I kept them close and secretly hoped that maybe she'd hit the wall or something and I'd be able to come back & get her. That sounds so awful to say, but I really mean it in a nice, simply strategic, kind of way. Hello, I didn't come out to take 2nd on purpose. Of course, neither did she.
From mile 5 to 10 (or so) there is very little to no shade and lots of looooong country roads. Or at least it seems like it. I felt myself slow a little at mile 5 when I was passed, but nothing too drastic (15 seconds) and held on to that pace until mile 8. That's when I really felt the heat & humidity hit me & I slowed down to an 8 minute mile. (don't laugh....for me, that's a pretty slow race pace!!). By then 1st place runner was well ahead of me and I just went into finish mode. Those last miles seemed long and slow. Even when I hit the last mile I didn't have much in me to finish hard and strong. At least not yet, I felt so overcooked that I was still concerned that too much too soon would do me in. Not until I made my final turn did I kick it into gear. I was welcomed with a sea of friends, fans and supporters. Thinking about it just now actually brings me to tears. I live in a really great community with a lot of wonderful people. They all treat me like I'm a rock star Olympic athlete (which we all know if far from the truth) and love me for all my quirkiness! I was met with waves of clapping and screaming as Galesburg's own 6packmomma finished as 2nd overall.
Photo credit: Register Mail, Steve Davis
Despite being really hot & tired and feeling disappointed when I saw the clock, I still had my usual spunk in me to raise my hands and give a holler of joy. A huge thank you to Steve Davis who took this picture. I didn't even see him when I finished, but I'm not surprised he was there to capture such an epic moment in my day!!
I finished with a time of 1:40:55. Such a disappointing time, but it is what it is. I say that in only a way I can. I know that every single person whom I personally know & supports me raves about it being the best finish ever. I know I have a lot to be proud of, but for me this is not my best. So it comes with a grain of salt. Anyway, I was met at the finish line by Krista, who placed 1st. So sweet of her to hug & congratulate me. Of course, that is one of the great things about runners. Sure, we want to beat each other, yet at the same time we love & support each other....even if we've never met before.
Here are my final stats:
2/39 age group 30-39, turns out Krista was also in my age group. Due to overall awards I was completely bumped out of my age group which allowed my friend Elizabeth to place 1st.
With Elizabeth & our awards
I don't know how many actual Galesburg finishers there were, but I was the 1st Galesburg female & my buddy Jason was 1st male. We were awarded prizes for this category. They also award 3 deep overall so I was also given awards for that. Not only did I get 2 nice trophies, but I got double the winner swag with 2 very nice leather Saucony leather bags and hats that were imprinted with the race logo on it.
Overall, it WAS a really good day!!