I had the pleasure of joining Dawn, Tim, and others on Saturday for my first outdoor ride of the season. (One of these days I’m going to stop riding the day before a race, but hey, isn’t that the idea of Triathlons?) The ride loosened up my bruised hammy a little, but I was sure a PR would be out of the question. Read on. Turns out I was wrong.
First, this is a great race. For a first time ½ or full marathon, the support was great; just enough crowd support; and many peaceful moments on a basically flat trail. It was a thrill to finally be looking at sunshine and not rain drops (or snow). The full and half marathoners all started together and ran the 1st 12 miles along side each other. After a short jog through the neighborhood, we jumped on the trail. After doing the 10 mile challenge, this run felt flat as a pancake. There was a hill between miles 6 and 7. And yes, a bit of a head wind on the “false flat” coming back. Still, a great course.
I struggled in the beginning. As my leg started to burn I thought I was making a big mistake. Then two fellow striders came along (Marsha and Greg). Greg and I chatted until the turn around. The conversation helped me keep my mind off the pain and eventually the muscle loosened up. On the way back I pushed it to see what I could do. I caught my old coach at mile twelve. It’s really energizing to see people you know. It really makes this sport fun. The sprint to end was the hardest mile. (Guess I pushed too hard the first 12). But when I crossed the finish line I realized I did something that I though was out of the question. Injury and all, I still had a PR. I took 3+ minutes off my last ½. I’m ecstatic. What a perfect day.
I would definitely recommend this for next year. It’s going to be their 20th year and I was told by the race director she is planning a very special premium.