I signed Shane and I up for the Spring Thaw 20 mile race. This race has 10, 15, or 20 mile options and attracts around 1,000 people. It's pretty large for a local race! It consists of 5 mile loops around North Park lake. This would be Shane's one and only 20 mile run and my final run of 20+ miles.
I haven't felt well the last couple days. A sore throat and some heavy fatigue left my workouts lacking. I somewhat gave in to the feelings of impending illness and cut back my scheduled mileage a bit. I figured it was better to have a good last long run than run every mile to plan and end up actually sick right in my taper.
I picked out an outfit to fit with the 40 degree temps and a breeze. My INKnBURN denim print pants and Sakura pullover with my Altra Superiors. For the exterior I had a light jacket, a hat, and gloves. I also put my Altra logo tattoos on the back of my neck since that was the only skin I planned to have exposed. And I was ready to go!
We picked up our friend, Chris, at 7:30 and headed to North Park for packet pick up. There was no parking at the boathouse where the race started and ended so we parked about a half mile away at the spillway and walked in. We got our bags, bibs, and shirts and I felt a little luckier when I got bib 111.
A few minutes later we took off. I started out conservatively and watched as people flew by on all sides. I had to keep reminding myself that I had to run my own race. Around 3 miles in I began to pick up the pace. Mike and his friend, John, also happened to catch me at this point. They were running around 9:20-9:30 per mile so I decided to stay with them for awhile. John was wearing a kilt and pretty soon the Scottish jokes and drinking songs were pouring out. It made the first loop very enjoyable. I crossed the 5 mile mark at 48:45.
I continued to run with Mike and John for the second loop. I don't remember much except that the pace kept falling and I was surprised I was keeping up. We crossed the 10 mile mark at 1:34:28 and Mike was done. John and I continued on our own to the third loop.
The third loop things were starting to get harder. I knew that I was very close to a 2 hour half marathon and I asked John to not slow the pace until we passed the 13.1 mark. We pushed through and my watch beeped the half marathon at 2:01:2x. That's over an 8 minute PR! That accomplishment brought back some energy and I managed to keep the pace steady for the rest of the loop. We hit the mats for 15 miles at 2:21:41.
The last loop was the hardest 5 miles of my life. My brain said it was okay to slow down, my legs told me to take a walk break, but my pride said it wasn't worth it if I threw away my great first 15 for a crappy finish. I kept pushing and I could hear John struggling beside me. The cheery banter of the early miles was long gone by this point. It was all we could do to move forward.
At mile 19 we came upon Louis walking slowly. I had expected him to finish long before me. I told him to help John and I get to the finish and that seemed to perk him up. He began to jog and then to run. Soon he was well ahead of me and I was pulling away from John. All I wanted was to finish so I could stop running. Louis finished 48 seconds ahead of me and John 23 seconds behind me.
My official time was 3:10:50 although that is apparently gun time and not chip time. I am absolutely thrilled with that anyway! I was 110/152 overall and 6/8 in my age group though so I guess I still have a lot of improvement to make ahead!