Okay!!! Woo!! Woke up to the sunrise and had a nice leisurely morning before we headed out on the empty streets at 8. We got there with plenty of time. The start was on the fringe of Schenectady's Central Park, in the neighborhood, and the organizers had set up anticipated pace signs so you were supposed to start with the people of your pace. They didn't have a section for those slower than a nine minute mile so I stood with Mike near the 9 miler marker so I would have plenty of people to pass me along the way, and we would actually be together for a fleeting moment. It helps me feel not so alone, having people constantly pass me for a few miles. I'm reminded that I'm not last. We were standing there waiting for the start pistol or horn when all of a sudden we just started running. On we went!!
I had a really difficult time finding a pace maker, probably since I started in a group that ran four minutes faster than my average, but that's okay. I finally caught up with someone I realized I could stick with until the last mile. She walked/ran a lot more than my last pace buddy so I caught up with her more frequently and she had more energy at the end to run faster at the push. Man, I was really, really hurting towards the end and she took off. Total morale killer.
Those hills? Mean. I must've merely glanced at the elevation chart or I can't read. I kept an 11 minute mile pace until the first real hill at mile 5.5. I was really pushing myself. Then I got to that hill. It was really hard to recover from that. My running pack all walked up the all the hills, I trotted. I wonder if I walk/run then I will have an overall better time. I insist on running the whole of every race and do worse than people who walk probably a total of a mile. I'll have to reassess that tactic. Nevertheless, I finished around 1:50. Not too far from my goal of 1:45!
I want to say though, this race was worth it just for the people. The people who were out this morning were really amazingly kind people. All the pedestrians cheered us on. Even some of the winos. There was one guy who set up his drum set on the sidewalk and played for us. When I got to him I waved and thanked him and he waved his drum stick at me with a huge smile. All the volunteers and cops were really supportive too. It was just what I needed. That's the very reason I keep doing these crazy races- I'm reminded of the kindness of strangers.