This race was also neat for me because it was the first time I had ever run two races on the same course, and I was really curious to see how much I had improved over the last year.
Anyway. I set myself up with the 1:50 pace group close to the start line. Introductions, national anthem, blah blah blah, start the race. Nice jaunt out of the city, a pleasant little downhill to start things off, and then WHAM bigfuckinghill. Slight downhill recovery and then WHAM evenbiggerfuckinghill. And so it went, on and on like that for the first 4.5 miles, after which we turned around and ran back toward the city. Of course, along the way back we detoured up most of Torrence Parkway. Pace coaches kept shouting "Lean from the ankles! Hips forward! Shoulders back!" (or was it hips back, shoulders forward?) I just focused on trying not to die, or, worse, puke. And wondering WTF I was thinking when I signed up to run a mountain marathon. (I just keep reminding myself that I'm going to be taking it much slower up the mountain. There's obviously no speed goal.)
That's when the sun started to come out and the humidity set in. I was suddenly slimy and sweaty and sticky and all kinds of gross. Big change from last year, when it was a good 30 degrees cooler with a pleasant light rain.
Then there was the 15K split, where most of the runners began a nice leisurely downhill stretch back to the finish line. For the briefest of moments, I considered following them. (ok, fine - for a good 90 seconds I contemplated it) But I soldiered on. Over the bridge, around Kentucky, over another bridge - this is where I let the pace group go. I just couldn't sustain that pace on those hills. I was surprisingly ok with it, only beating myself up for a few
I got my finish line adrenaline going and sprinted the last half mile, coming to a stop in 1:51:01, a full 11 minutes better than last year. Of course, last year the weather was cold and rainy, not sunny, warm, and humid, so I'm pretty sure there's a 1:4X:XX half marathon in my somewhere.
Running Buddy got a new PR, too!
We rock our medals.