For several years, it’s been a given that I’ll run the Asheville Citizen-Times half marathon or 5k. For a few years, I ran the 5k and then from 2007-2010, I ran the half marathon. Both courses are tough – we are in the mountains, after all. Last year, I was going to walk the 5k, but a c-section three weeks prior to the race kept me from walking down my street, much less walking 3 miles. And while I had high hopes of running the half this year, I knew a month ago that I was so very unprepared and I signed up for the 5k.
The plan was for me and Kenny to run the 5k together, and this week we decided it would be fun to bring the baby along. Kenny ended up carrying Lucas in the Ergo carrier (on his back) – and walking with my boss and her family.
The weather forecast was perfect for the start of the race. We’re talking in the 50s and low 60s, foggy and very fall-like. I started pulling my stuff together the night before and realized I couldn’t find socks that I like to race in or my iPod shuffle (it clips on and I don’t have an arm band for my Nano.) I also couldn’t find my hat that I race in. I have a feeling that the hat and iPod are together, since I last used them in July. That said, I did the best I could with whatever I could find. Oh, and different this go-round compared to July’s 5k, I decided to run with my Garmin.
We got kind of a late start to get to the race. I wanted to leave no later than 6:45, just to be sure we found a parking spot. It was closer to 7 when we were out the door. For breakfast, I ended up eating a bagel because I was out of oatmeal (see how I just didn’t have it together??) Once we got there, it was literally just a few minutes and the half marathoners took off. We found my boss, and ran into another person I knew, and everyone took their places (I ended up closer to the front of the pack, while Kenny and Stacey headed to the back with the walkers.)
Mile 1 – It was a slow start because of the number of people. About 1/4 mile into it, I was able to start picking off people and passing them. At the half mile point, I looked at the Garmin, and realized I was on pace for just over an 8 minute mile. Ohmygosh that is fast for me. The first mile had a slow incline up Patton, but overall, it’s a quick, easy mile.(I know this mile was 8:40, which is very fast for me. After that, my Garmin chose not to keep up with my splits.)
Mile 2 – Mile two started to give us a few more hills. This was the point where I realized a man next to me sounded like he was running on a wooden block. He was so flat-footed. I tried to pull ahead of him, but he kept catching up, so I slowed down just a tad so I wouldn’t have to hear him running. (I heard him over my music. And then I couldn’t block him out.)
Mile 3 – After mile 2, I kept looking at my Garmin. I’m not sure it is a great thing for short races. I don’t know why I cared how much further I had to go. I knew the hills we were facing, and I knew we weren’t far from the finish, but I caught myself looking a couple of times and realized that I was going to beat 30 minutes. If this hill hadn’t been a part of the course, I think I could have beat 28 minutes.
The last tenth of a mile, I tried to kick it up and leave everything on the course, but it got congested again as we turned the corner to the finish. So, I didn’t finish as strong as I knew I could. That said, my chip time was 29 minutes, 1 second. Not too bad for a girl whose goal was to get under 32 minutes.
Following my race, I backtracked on the course to find Kenny and Lucas. I got them shortly after the 2 mile mark, and walked most of the way back with them. I cut away before the final tenth of a mile. (Also, I caused a lot of confusion, because a group of walkers thought they should follow me, which would have cut out a chunk of the course.)
I did catch the boys finishing. They finished in 53:21, which I think is great, considering Kenny was carrying an extra 20 pounds on his back! (Also, he did tell me that he does NOT want to ever gain 20 pounds.)
Lucas had a great time talking to people, and he even started to nod off in the third mile. He came home and got a great post-race nap – just as every runner should have.