:-( Monday already! Fun weekends always go by WAAAY 2 fast and this one was quite fun!
Friday, hit the Akron Marathon expo and the Spaghetti Warehouse for dinner with some family and friends. We hit the hay and woke up BEFORE the crack of dawn to make our way down to Akron Marathon. I live nearly an hour away so we left home at 4:50 because I wanted to be parked no later than 6 and road closures and one way streets always make parking where I want interesting!
Before we knew it,we were all meeting up and I was super stoked about the day. My best friend from high school was running on my sister's relay team so the two of us walked over to the third relay exchange point together. Good thing I found someone with a map as of course I thought I knew where I was going and realized I was wrong. It is amazing just how quickly time flew by that morning because by the time I got to the place I needed to be, I was rushing to get in my warm-up as I wanted to be sure I was ready when super star ESpeed came through as she was running our team's First and Second legs.
She came through mile 9.3 around 1:01 even after a stop at a POP! Super awesome effort given a sour stomach and coming back from injury! I grabbed our snap bracelet and took off. I could see one local running star ahead of me and a pink relay team. I was not really closing the gap much but not losing any ground either.
It has been a long time since I asked my legs to go fast for 6+ miles and was not sure how they would respond after all this long course training. Yet, as our team tried to figure out best and worst case times, I figured a pretty realistic guess was I would run 6:40's.
My leg had a fair amount of downhill to get going and I was feeling pretty good. I had opted for headphones and was just zoned into the music and totally zoned out to everything around me. I would say that within 2 miles I was just hoping I could maintain without blow up.
There was one lady that had passed me within the first half mile. I kept within a couple steps of her throughout the downhill grade sections. She was also on a relay team and I was hoping I would not lose us another spot. As we transitioned onto the towpath which we would run for about 4 miles, I stayed right in behind her. However, it was not long before I decided I wanted to run my own race and surged ahead of her pretty hard, wondering if I would pay for that later and if she would pass me later. There were not really many spectators in the towpath area and I was in the abyss of mission keep-it-together. I was half way done and hurting. I refused to look at my garmin pretty much the entire race. I knew with the downhill start, I was likely to go out fast and did not want that pace to scare me and also I did not want to see the slow down once I got on level ground.
Akron really does a nice job with even the little things. As I ran along the towpath, there were lots of official motivational signs along the way. I read them all and looked forward to seeing what the next one would say. I kept looking around the corners still keeping pink relay girl and local fast chick in sight. Dang, here I am hurting and local fast chick is running the whole thing at this pace...OUCH! Finally I saw mile 15 and knew that meant a half a mile left.
At this point, the chick I had passed at the beginning of the towpath surged. I was sucking air in a major way (and really should have hit my inhaler before the race) and had nothing left to answer back with. We made a left onto the road and started into an uphill grade. I was DYING and HURTING very bad and my pace now felt soooo slow! And out of the abyss, I saw the only spectator of the day in my fog. I see my friend Amie with her shirt up over her pregnant belly jumping up and down and screaming. I found a smile and the energy to wave and dragged my weary butt up where I finally saw the relay exchange zone and BH ready to put an end to my misery. I passed off my bracelet and walked trying to catch my breath!
Ouch, that hurt but tried to push for my teammates. I ended up running 41:52 for the 6.3 miles which worked out to a 6:38 average. BH took off for her 2.8 mile leg which is the most uphill leg of the relay. I lucked out that BH's mom was there and I took her up on a ride back in lieu of running the ~5 miles back. My toes hurt pretty bad. It was no surprise to take my left sock off and see that it was all red. The downhill grade likely contributed to that.
As I got back, I grabbed a change of clothes and headed into the stadium to watch the finishers and grab my food and free beer! SCORE! Then I headed down to my normal spectating spot to where all the finishers had to walk by. It was not long before I saw my teammate Salty, fresh in from her butt kicking relay leg.
Team Four Freaky Fast Females came in 3rd overall women's team (behind 1st 2:51:35 and second 2:53:34) with a time of 2:53:27 averaging 6:38 min miles! It is super fabulous when 4 of us can all work together to contribute to a very respectable finish! We even came in ahead of where I thought we would!!!
Then it was time for some fun! We sat down at the stadium for awhile congratulating friends as we watched them come in before heading over to continue having more fun at a local establishment for some real food.
I was also super excited for my sister and her team. She shaved 5 minutes off her 7.9 mile relay leg time from last year and their team with my cousin, high school friends, sis and her husband came in with a 3:51:25! HUGE!
So it was another super fun day hanging with some of my favorite people!