Happy Wednesday everyone!
Today, I wanted to share my recap of last weekend’s relay race, Stu’s 30k. My mom ran this race with our club the last two years, but this was my first time getting to run it since usually I’m away at school. After experiencing it, I have to say this is a pretty intense race! Most of the runners actually run the full 18 mile course as a tune-up for the Boston Marathon in April, so there were A LOT of very serious runners (I overheard one runner say this would be his 11th time running the Boston Marathon!) and many New England running clubs present. Our running club posed for a quick picture in the warm gymnasium.
Earlier in the week, my mom and I had gone out and gotten in a good, 8-mile run (I had been thinking of doing 6 miles, but she tricked me and kept me running until it wound up being just under 8.) My knee had held up pretty well through that, so the plan was for us to split the 18 mile race as a 2-person relay – I would do 9 miles and she’d do 9 miles.
After some debate about how exactly to split up the 4 legs of the race, we decided that I would run the first two legs consecutively, rather than running 4.5 miles, and then stiffening up before running another 4.5.
I lined up at the start, alongside all the other crazies who were running on this cold, gray day. Despite the frigid temps and snow flurries, I was excited to be racing again. The gun went off – and we were on our way.
I quickly got caught up in the racing spirit – and went out fast (for me) – my first mile was my speediest at 8:33. Not the best strategy for a distance race. Oops.
Of course, that was when the hills started kicking in. Long, gradual ascents, just steep enough to make the effort of running uncomfortable. I wanted to walk early on, but NONE of the experienced marathoners around me were walking. So, I used the feelings of peer pressure to my advantage and forced myself to keep running.
At mile 4.5, there was the first relay exchange. At this point, I knew I was halfway done and was settling into a rhythm. It was a great boost to see my mom and some of the club members at the exchange, cheering me on and snapping pictures.
Despite a few twinges, my knee felt amazingly good. I was worried because the course was very hilly, but my knee held up. Around mile 7 (I think), there was a long descending section and the road became very canted towards the bottom – I was nervous that the uneven surface was going to throw my knee out of whack, but the road became flat again relatively quickly, and I was all good.
Miles 6 and 7 felt tough. The wind was brutal and the snowflakes kept coming down, and all I could think about was how happy I was NOT to be running the full 18 miles (I guess it’s a good thing I’m not registered for a marathon right now!). Surprisingly, the last mile flew by, and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw I was coming up on the mile 9 relay exchange where my mom was waiting to take over. I gave her a hug and wished her good luck, and she was off!
My average pace for the 9 miles was well off my half marathon PR, but I was still very happy with it. Considering the hills and my less-than-stellar training lately, it was a solid pace. And I had barely walked (I probably walked 30 seconds or less on only a couple occasions). After catching my breath, I hopped in the car with some of our running club members, and we went to find a good midway point to scope out and cheer for our team.
After that, it was back to the finish line which was at a middle school. This was awesome because I was able to change into warm, dry clothes in a real bathroom (not a porta-potty)!
I had some of the wonderful post-race foods while I waited for my mom to finish, which included donuts, bagels, and hot clam chowder! Then, I went out hoping to catch my mom crossing the finish line – but ended up missing her by just a few seconds. So, no dramatic finish line photo unfortunately. 😉
I’m thrilled it went so well, and my knee wasn’t even too sore the day after! Our next race is the Run for the Troops 5k in April, and now I’m even more excited for it. 🙂
Have a great day!