On Saturday, I got up early (because the baby made me get up early) and set out to run the Thomas Wolfe 8k. One thing I was a huge fan of was the time. It didn’t start until 10. That gave me a chance to eat breakfast and go by the post office, before actually heading downtown.
I remember this race from a few years ago being super cold (and early.) Apparently last year, it was in the afternoon. This year, in addition to the time change, they changed the course. I had read that some hills had been removed. I think that a few hills were removed – and replaced with even longer hills.
Here were my goals: We had a busy afternoon, and in my head, I really wanted to finish by 10:50 (about a 50 minute 8k since the start time was 10:00.) If I finished at 10:50, I could still grab a drink, walk back to my car and make it home by 11:15. I told Brooke on Twitter last week, that I was hoping for a 52 or 53-minute finish.
My splits are rough. I remember the first two. I thought about it, and then opted to not really keep track. I did have my Garmin, and I was noting (while running) how fast I was running each mile, but it’s hard to get great fourth and fifth mile times, when they are hillier than the previous miles.
….The race took off on time, and was chip timed (yay!). There was a bit of confusion for dozens of runners who turned down a wrong street. All of the sudden, I just saw ALL OF THESE RUNNERS running back in my direction. And they were fast. A friend of mine posted on Facebook that night that he had run half of a mile out of the way. Wow. The first mile was SO congested. I didn’t know anybody around me, so I was just trying to tune people out, listen to my music and enjoy the run.
I remember that my first mile was around 9:20.
I’d been hoping for a lot of pretty trees (note my first photo in the post – that was taken at the start, before the race). We ran through some pretty areas, and some that were….notsomuch. My second mile felt great. It was about this point I realized I hadn’t had much to drink that morning and I was feeling a tad dehydrated. I took a small drink of water in the third mile.
My second mile was around 9:40.
Third mile was a lot of the same. Lots of hills. And I was feeling a little slower. This mile was around 10:15.
The course winds through Riverside cemetery, where Thomas Wolfe is buried. New to me this year was the costumed people. I tried for cell phone shots. They’re blurry (but I didn’t want to stop!)
Around mile 3.5, my leg started giving me some issues. It’s hills. Those darn hills. And it’s generally uphill. So I chose to walk uphill if it was too bad.
Around mile 4, I was near this father/daughter duo. A volunteer yelled something about this being a family affair, and we realized that she probably thought we were all related. That was a bit awkward.
In the last mile, we were downtown, and ran behind Thomas Wolfe’s home before finishing UPHILL. What is it with Asheville and their uphill finishes??
I’m not sure if I’ll run this race again next year. I liked it enough, and it’s a nice distance, but it was so crowded. The start and finish were in a parking lot, making it hard to get water and stuff as people were still finishing. (They even managed to fit in a band at the finish. That was a little awkward.)
Oh, and I finished in 50:52. Just 52 seconds shy of what I had *really* been hoping for. I quickly grabbed a water, half of a bagel and made my way to my car. I made it home before 11:15, and was still able to nurse and get the baby down for his nap.
Saturday was truly perfect timing all around.
Side note: Have you entered my holiday card giveaway? You have a few days left to enter!