Sunday, May 8, 2011

Race Day Wrap Up

Well, another Mini is in the books! This was the second for me, my mom and my dad and the third Mini (fourth half) for Tom. A success was had by all! (And, yes, I know I missed blogging yesterday. It took all of my energy just to get by and feed myself and the kids, let alone try anything more productive.)

Jordan, our high school babysitter, arrived at our house bright and early at 5AM on Saturday. Of course, the kids were still asleep. We took off around 5:30 and got downtown around 6. We fiddled around the car for a while trying to determine what layers to take, which to gear check and which to leave in the car. I thought it felt pretty good and just went with what I planned to run in - long exercise pants and a short sleeve shirt. I did pack a pair of flip flops for after the race though. That's always the first thing I want to do - yank my shoes off and strip off my socks!

We were early to the start gates, which I actually like because it gives you a little time to enjoy the surroundings and get a feel for how big this event actually is. (35,000 people in the Mini + 5000 in the 5K + 4000 volunteers!) We took a few photos. And, yes, Tom mohawed his hair for the occasion.

We all made a trip to the Steak and Shake bathroom and then headed over to Gear Check. On our way back from Gear Check, I had to go to the bathroom again. So, back we went. By now, it was really getting crowded. It was hard to walk in a straight line. And, let me tell you about lines! The ones for the port-o-johns were LONG! Worth it though to not lose time in the race. We went our separate ways from here and went to our starting corrals. (Me - M, Tom - I, Mom & Dad - U). 

I messed around with my phone for a while trying to get it set up right. They were batting beach balls around too. Which, was probably fun if you were paying attention. Otherwise, you may have gotten a beach ball to the back of the head. 

I actually crossed the start line at around 15 minutes after the gun which was much better than last time. I was surprised that people actually started running before the start line. I was still messing with my iPod, etc. Anyway, it was really crowded to start and I made a beeline over to the left side of the crowd. I only had to do a little weaving in and out the whole race and it didn't really bother me. Mom, dad and Tom on the other hand, said their experience was much different and worse. I was really surprised that Tom was in such a high corral and still had a bunch of walkers. I probably only passed five true "walkers." I passed a lot more people who were walking, but somehow I could tell they were actually runners. 

So, I was blown away to see the mile one marker so soon. It was only 9 minutes. So far, so awesome. I've been training between a 10 and 9 1/2 minute mile. I thought for a brief second to slow down, but didn't because I figured, get it in while I'm feeling good. Hit mile 2 at 18 and mile 3 at 27. Great start! And, I was really feeling good (and thinking I may actually finish under two hours). At mile 4, I thought to myself, well, mile four is where my knee started hurting last time. Then, BAM! Pain shooting through my knee. I ignored it the best I could and it went away (until the day after. ) 

I kept up with my 9 minute pace through about mile 6, when I lost 10 seconds. By mile 7, I'd lost a minute and wasn't feeling top notch. I did find someone to pace off of though which got me through about mile 9. She was wearing a blue shirt with LOPO on the back. (One of the activities I did while passing the time was anagrams - Polo, Loop, Pool). I'm sure she finished with about a 9:15 pace because she was right on it and was seemingly effortless. I lost her around mile 9 because I started feeling like sh*t. 

At mile 10, I thought to myself, come on Sara, only 3.1 left. You did your first 3.1 in 27:45. You can do it. But, my body thought differently. It still seemed very far away. So, I started walking a little more. Earlier, I was only walking through the pits and very briefly at that. From mile 10 on, I walked the entire pit station and a bit more. 

Around mile 11, I started getting blind spots and zigzagging lines in my eyes. (I've had this before, so I wasn't totally concerned.) I glanced at my heart rate monitor - 197! So, I slowed down and walked a bit more. According to my log, I actually hit 205 at some point in the race. Mile 12 came and I really felt like I wouldn't make it although my brain knew it was only one mile - 10 minutes. I did a fair amount of walking that mile. Although, I knew that I really wanted to finish in the 2:02's, so I couldn't totally slack it. I started counting my steps at 0.75 miles left and really forget what happened from there. I do remember giving it my last kick in the last 0.1 mile, even though it wasn't much of a kick. Once I could see the finish line though, I knew I could actually do it in the 2:02's. My final time was 2:02:43, better than two minutes off my time from 2 years ago. (And, Jack is only 10 months old - just sayin'). 

After a brief moment, grabbing a water bottle, I looked at my heart rate monitor and I was already down to 150. Good sign of being in shape - quick recovery. I had the absolute best sugar cookie and chocolate chip cookie ever known to man and then caught a glimpse of Tom. 

We then waited for mom and dad and got a text that they finished. We caught them in the "refueling" station and they posed for a pic. 

Mom and dad's final time was 2:30:30 (30 minutes faster than 2 years ago - most improved!). Tom's was 1:49:01 (5 minutes better than one year ago) and mine was 2:02:43 (two minutes faster than two years ago, which I will again mention that I just had a baby 10 months ago).

We all felt pretty good afterward - no real problems! As a reward, and a two year tradition, we hit up PF Changs for a drink and good food. A little hot tub, wine and pizza was in order for the rest of the night. We made it up until 9PM!

It was a fantastic day and I'm so proud of my parents (in their 50's and 60's), and their drive to not only finish, but finish better than the year before, by A LOT!!!! And, I still have a goal to achieve - under 2 hours. I'll make it happen - next year...

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