On the training plan for this past weekend was a 20 mile run. There just happened to be a 20 miler somewhat nearby, that I’ve heard mentioned as a good race when training for the Marine Corps Marathon or the Richmond Marathon. So, (partly because I don’t like planning long routes, and partly because I really like race t shirts), I signed up!
Packet pickup started at 5:30 on Saturday morning, and the race was just under a 2 hour drive from my house, so I knew it was going to be an early morning. Of course when I didn’t even get home until almost 11 Friday night, it was probably a good thing I don’t usually count on a full night’s sleep before race day. 😉
I got my things together, set my alarm for an ungodly hour, and went to bed!
We were up and out of the house before 4 in the morning! And heading to Spotsylvania, a small town near Fredericksburg, VA. The drive was great, not a whole lot of traffic at that time of day… At one point, I thought I saw the sun start to rise, but nope.
That was just the light coming from a factory on the way. It was lovely.
We arrived in plenty of time. Grabbed our packets, parked near the finish line, and ate the standard breakfast of banana with peanut butter. Then walked about a quarter mile to the starting line. It was a small race, only about 150 runners. I didn’t really have a time goal. My training plan had me running at a easy, comfortable pace, and I was planning to try to stick to that and not race too hard. So, in my mind I was just hoping to keep it close to a 10 minute mile, and not be last.
We started towards the back of the group when the gun went off. I figured that would keep us from starting out too fast, and it worked. We kept a slow comfortable pace for the first 5 or so miles. At about the third mile, I realized that I probably drank too much coffee and water during the 2 hour drive… and by five miles, I think I was picking up the pace because I remembered the first port-a-potties were 8 miles in, and I was kind of in a hurry to get there.
After the 8 mile mark, I was feeling great! The views were beautiful! And the course was hilly, but I love the hills, it keeps things interesting! We were getting into the historic battlefields, and this was my favorite part of the race. It might have been gravel, but it was shaded, and passed quickly. Unfortunately, the race began and ended on a two lane road that was open to traffic the entire time. It was kind of a bummer to have to spend a majority of the run single file, and dodging cars.
The volunteers were dressed for the occasion, and I didn’t realize that Zach and I were dressed alike until seeing these pictures afterwards…
The second half of the race went really well. The miles kept ticking by, and I was still feeling strong. I was worried since skipping my 18 mile run previously, the last two miles would be tough, but nope. I kept speeding up, and we still had enough in us to sprint the last mile. We finished with a time of 3:24, and a pace of 10:03. Not breaking any records, but I’m happy with that for a training run!
With a month still to go before my marathon, I’m pretty confident now that I can finish under a 10 min/mile pace.
Overall, it was a good! I wish all my long training runs could be races! It was so much more fun than running around town for 20 miles or more. It was not, however, a very big event. Other than the water stations, there was virtually nobody on the course. And I know it’s not a big deal, but I do kind of wish there was a finisher’s medal. It was 20 miles after all… 😉
Regardless, it was a great confidence booster! I am now even more excited for Richmond, and I wish this next month would hurry up! 😉
Did you run a race this weekend? How’d you do?