So I went into this race with mixed emotions. I was glad to be running a shorter distance race again, and have it actually feel like a race instead of me just running really far for someone else to measure and give me proof that I did it.
At the same time, I was also feeling discouraged because I was disappointed that after a summer full of running, I could barely get under a 9-minute pace in my practice runs. I just feel like a more experienced runner than that so I was a little frustrated to think I might be in the back of the pack.
Well the horn went off and I took off at an aggressive pace (as my speedy friend Sheena taught me; it's a race tactic I never expected I would love). The temperature was surprisingly low- in the low 40's at the start. It's supposed to be 75 degrees today so I showed up in my little shorts and (thankfully) a winter running top. So needless to say I was freezing. My body felt like a running robot, very tight. But I was surprised to see that there weren't a whole lot of people ahead of me. Maybe 25 at that point.
Through the first couple of miles, not many people passed me and I was getting excited. Maybe 10 guys passed me throughout the whole race (which not to be sexist, but it bothers me less if a guy passes me) and 6 girls that I counted (hehe).
The miles really seemed to fly by. Every time I passed a mile marker, I thought, "Already??" I wondered if the markers were wrong (a girl who ran with a Garmin later informed me that they were right on). During mile 3, a very fit middle-aged lady with a Top of Utah Marathon tshirt passed me. I thought, "Oh well, she looks like a really good runner." But after half a mile passed and I was still pretty close, I decided this lady was going to be my ticket. I was going to ride her coattails to the finish. And that's just what I did for about a mile. We chatted off and on about races, she was super nice.
Then, out of nowhere, when we hit mile marker 5, I just felt like I wasn't pushing as hard as I knew I could at that point. I pulled ahead and my new friend pulled with me for a while, but before I knew it she was dropping back. I felt a little rude, but this was a race right? I saw the "one mile to go" sign and I gave it all I had. I ended up passing 5 of the 6 girls who had passed me during the race in that last mile. I'll be honest, it felt great.
I finished in almost exactly 52 minutes, for an 8:22 pace. Totally happy. I had been wishing I could get to a 8:30, but expecting more like an 8:45, so yeah, 8:22 made my day.
I'm not sure of all the stats, but I know I finished 4th in my 25-29 female age group (rats, one place away from a medal), and 35th overall in the race. I don't know how many people were in the race... maybe 150-200? So yeah, it was a good race and I'm glad I squeezed one more in before the end of the season!