I did not go into this race with a goal. I thought a PR would be nice, but had pretty much told myself that was impossible. In the first half mile I was behind a couple people, including a girl that I decided I was going to try to stay with. I have found I always do better when I find a "pacer." Anyway, this girl looked younger than me, and had really cute running pants on. (Does anyone else, specifically girls notice how cute other girls' backsides are in running pants, or am I just weird??)
Anyway, when I hit the half mile mark, my app told me I was under an 8 min/mile which really is too fast for me, but I didn't slow down much. I wasn't winded, or having problems, so I kept going. I know better, I always start out too fast and end up losing a lot of time at the end. I remember last year, the "home stretch" of the race I felt like I had given it everything I had and had nothing more to speed up with, and I was thinking of that, but I only slowed down a little.
A couple miles (maybe one, maybe 2) in, the girl I was following started having wardrobe problems. She was wearing a beanie cap (who runs in a beanie cap?) and a jacket. She stopped to tie her jacket around her waist as it was sunny and fairly nice out. (I can't imagine how bad that beanie cap smelled.) I ended up passing her, but there was a guy and a girl going the same pace, so I just stayed with them, behind them both.
I don't know if I've ever mentioned it, but the Tulip Run doesn't actually run through any tulips. It is the Tulip festival in Mount Vernon and all the tulips are in bloom, but the actual race starts and ends at the Skagit County airport (tiny) and goes through a wooded area with some well-maintained dirt trails, that are often muddy. The girl in the front of my "pack" slowed way down on the dirt trails to stutter step through the puddles. I've run this race enough that I gave up stutter stepping after the first year. What's the point? I still ended up with mud on my shoes and back of my calves. Anyway, the guy seemed to be of the same mindset as myself, finding the least wet route but not really avoiding the mud and puddles, but he still slowed down with the girl in the front. I finally had enough of going almost a min slower than before so sped past them both.
I started going down the wrong way at one point and the guy passed me again, but that was okay, I like pacers. =) Nothing much more notable from that point to the end. I was definitely tired, but honestly didn't feel like I was dying. Last year, when I got to the home stretch I didn't have anything left to speed up with. This year, I didn't feel that at all. I didn't really speed up, but it wasn't my slowest mile, that was the mile while I was following the girl through the mud.
One thing I did notice was the mileage markers that my app was telling me on my phone. I knew I was going around an 8 and a half min mile, and doing the math in my head while running, I knew that if I could keep up the pace, I would beat my best time of 42.48 from 2 years ago. I wasn't dying, I didn't feel like I needed to slow down, so I kept going.
And I PRed this race, and got 1st in my age group. =) I finished in 42.12 with an average pace of 8.26 min/mile. However, I didn't stick around because I was spending the rest of the day with my sister, Nancy. I didn't realize how well I had done until I got home and looked it up. Age group winners get a medal, so this Saturday I can go to the running store in Mt. Vernon and get my medal. =)
|At the finish line with the only tulip I|
saw for the "Tulip" Run.