But in true stubborn me fashion, I signed up and decided I would go for it. I decided it would be my come back race, after injury and a lousy summer. I began training for an ultra marathon and so this fit nicely into my schedule.
I have never run a race geared towards women before, so I was kind of excited to do it. The organization is super nice so that also had me excited. I was happy to be part of something like the ZOOMA series. I was also honored to be featured in their Blog! You can read here :)
I woke up super early Saturday morning and made the 45 minute drive to the Cape. I wanted to stay there the night before but it did not work into my schedule for the week. I was happy there was plenty of parking for the race and was equally excited when my friend Brenna pulled in next to me! We have become good friends and running buddies this year and I was super excited she won an entry into the race!! She is also training for her FIRST marathon and fund raising for an awesome cause!
We got ready and made a quick stop to the potty before we got to the start line. We also ran into Kelly! She is another local runner who is training for a half marathon this fall!
I also got to meet the beautiful Tricia! She was so supportive through my training for this race. Thank you Tricia. You know, I had a chance to really see how motivating she is when I was going home she was waiting at the finish line for the final runners to come through. She had probably been up for many many hours and working hard all weekend. But she waited patiently for every single runner to finish and was waiting to cheer them in. That made me smile :)
After meeting and greeting as many amazing people as I could I headed to the start line! This was a fairly small race so I headed up to the front of the start line with ease. I noticed the 1:40 pacer, a man in blue with a yellow balloon and I thought to myself, hmm maybe I can try and keep up with him and get a PR today.
I started out fast. I mean super fast. Like high 6 min per mile fast. I knew this course would be hilly, so I adopted my strategy I have while ultra running: start out fast and run fast and hard through the flat parts. When the hills hit I take it easy. This for me has been working during this training cycle. It allows me to maintain an even race pace throughout my entire run. The first 3 miles ticked away quickly and then the hills hit.
Hills, hills, but you know what? I am getting used to them. Really do I have any other choice? Nope! I was surprised at my ability to keep my pace around 8s for the tough hills. I fought hard this race. Every time I wanted to quit I just kept thinking about earlier this year and everything that had happened. I kept looking down at my Garmin and kept smiling.
I love how Zooma gears things for us gals. They had all these motivational quotes along the way and some of them stuck in my head. My favorite would have to be: "a woman is like a tea bag you never know how strong she is until you put her in some hot water". I repeated that a few times over the course of the race :)
The last few miles, I got some help. The pacer Jeff I think he said his name was waited for me. I had told him earlier I was going for a PR and my old one was 1:47. He told me where the hills would be and that he would help pace me to the end and help me. I have never run a race with a pacer before so I was unsure how I would be able to keep up. But Jeff did not give up on me! He pushed me and that last mile he basically said shut up and run LOL.
It worked! I followed him and pushed my legs harder than I have in a long time. The end he told me to sprint past him and to push. I was pushing and sprinting and to my surprise I earned myself a new PR of 1:39! I was amazed and awed. My legs took me through a tough course in a great time!
There is nothing like the feeling you get when you earn yourself a new PR. It is like damn my body has progressed. You feel like that mountain you have been training to climb over has finally been conquered. I am always amazed at the body and its ability to keep going. It is days like today that make every single training run complete.
And, I finally got to meet the amazing Michelle! We go to all the local races but never seem to meet hehe it was nice to finally meet her in person and chat about her shiny new PR she earned that day as well!! Congrats Michelle!!!!
I got a new running hat as my award :)
I liked running this race, it gave me a chance to make a come back into fall racing and gave me the confidence I need going into the Bay State Marathon in 3 weeks! I am going for a BQ for 2014 and I feel like my legs are ready. :)
Thanks ZOOMA for putting on a great race! Plus, bonus points for having it in my most favorite place in Massachusetts to run the beautiful beaches of Cape Cod :)