I finished my 3rd James Joyce Ramble yesterday! I have a soft spot in my heart for this particular race. It’s one of the only races Dr. G. and I can run together, due to kiddo logistics. It’s also the very first race we ever ran together, back in 2002, when I finished with a 1:06 time. Ironically, it also fell on my birthday that year, just as it did this year (and why, yes, it is fabulous to be 29!).
Here a confession: I was really, really nervous going into this race. We just got back from Disney on Tuesday, and not only did I kind of half-ass my two runs down there, but as I mentioned before , I did not eat particularly well, so I came home feeling bloated and sluggish. I tried going for a run our first full day back, but it went horribly, and I labored throughout the entire 5 miles. As a result, I felt a bit of doubt creep in, my running confidence taking a hit. Also, I’ve been in half marathon training mode, so my focus the last month or two has been on endurance and stamina, not speed.
Oh, and this course is CRAZY hard. The graph below does not fully illustrate how brutal that hill at the 3.8 mark is.
I realized before we even started that my chances of my setting a new 10K PR was pretty unlikely – and that’s okay. Instead, I adjusted my expectations and set my sights on finishing faster than last year. But most importantly, I wanted to run a smart and calculated race. That meant running the first 5K pretty conservatively at my half marathon pace, knowing that miles 3-4 are pretty much hills (including that one whopper of an incline) and running miles 4-6.2 at a faster pace. I also wanted to make sure I felt comfortable, because it dawned on me that my half marathon basically involves running this course twice, plus a little extra.
And I am super proud to say I accomplished all my goals.
My final time? 58:43, barely ahead of last year’s time of 59:09 (and 4 minutes behind my 10K PR time), but still a teeny bit faster. I’m trying not to dwell on the fact that this is the first time (probably since the last Ramble) that I finished above a 9-minute/mile pace, and instead focus on the knowledge that I felt waaaay more comfortable this time around. Plus, a new course PR? I’ll take it.
And I had negative splits, too. In fact, my last mile was my fastest – just as I was hoping for. And unlike previous years, this race kind of flew by (thanks to my 13.1 training and the gorgeous weather: high 60s/low 70s, slight breeze, plenty of sun.) The birthday gods were looking out for me today.
A few other thoughts – both positive and negative – from the race:
It was so amazing to see all the runners decked out in their #bostonstrong gear. It truly felt like a community coming together, and I feel blessed to have been part of it.
I experienced some weird foot issues. The ball of my left foot ached the entire race, like I could feel the pavement with every stride. It sucked. I can’t think it’s my sneakers, since they’re brand new, so maybe it’s my socks? Anyone else experience this? Any tips?
Because of what happened at the marathon, the race filled up, and it was incredibly crowded. I didn’t get into a groove until well after the first mile because of all the traffic. I think the time has come for the race organizers to consider staggered start times, or at least seeding us by pace. It really does make a difference.
I woke up and realized I somehow managed to leave my favorite Lululemon Pacesetter skirt behind in Florida. Total bummer.
Best. Post-Race. Snacks. Ever. Thanks, Harpoon and Whole Foods!
Since I officially put my post-Disney detox on the back burner for the day, I allowed myself to get pampered by my lovely family, including my favorite Thai peanut noodle salad for dinner and an amazing chocolate and white mousse birthday cake for dessert.
Ahh, and speaking of Disney! My first Disney recap is going live on the blog tomorrow morning. Part One includes our thoughts and experiences with the theme parks. Don’t miss it!