Spring has officially sprung!
The beauty of that statement doesn’t stop at the prancing gators and blooming trees. With the arrival of spring also comes the arrival of racing season!
First up: The 43rd Annual Sam Costa Half Marathon.
One of the best parts about running with the Perfect Strangers are the themes. We decided that the chosen color for today’s race would be black with the pop of color coming from our (now) infamous knee socks. They always seem to be a crowd pleaser, so what better time to bust them out again?!
I was on the road to Carmel just after 7a. First stop was Jaime’s. Christi, her and I decided to get a few extra miles under our belts and run to and from the start (1.5 miles). After giggling a bit about how we all looked like pseudo schoolgirls, we loaded up J’s backpack and set off to meet up with the rest of our posse.
As soon as we rolled up to the church, the stares began. No words were needed. We all knew what we were thinking. Check out these chicks, who do they think they are? I bet they’ll be at the back of the pack. Au contraire, all yee boring running comrades. We are actually cute AND fast.
We met up with Meggie, Karen, Amy, and Adriana inside the church. And much to our surprise, Kelly (who wasn’t running the race) even popped in for a quick hello! We immediately got to picture taking.
We came to a nice little huddle before heading outside where Kelly led us in a touching slash hilarious pre-race prayer followed by Karen’s closing statement about “closing deals and banging b__s.” I could be mistaken but I think a tear or two was shed. 😉
The outfit stares only continued as we walked to the starting line. As did the laughs amongst ourselves. We were nearly on the ground when Jaime took to a parking block to stretch, only to pose a little something like this:
Before we knew it, a sound resembling a fire truck siren rang through the air, and the race had begun. Karen, Lori, and Adriana were aiming for a PR, so they took off ahead. Jaime, Meggie, Amy, Christi and I had the goal of breaking 2 hours. A 2-hour finish equates out to about a 9 min/mile pace. A pace that we all decided was doable, but would definitely be a bit trying. If only I knew,,
The course itself runs through Carmel. Considering this is Indiana, the area is pretty darn hilly. None of us are used to much hill running, nor doing anything other than straightaways on the Monon. Despite the change in terrain, we started off fairly strong. (sadly my splits are all screwy bc of the 1.4 pre-race miles I didn’t erase from my Garmin). The five of us girls stuck together. We ogled the beautiful homes. We yelled at the cars that drove by us WAY too fast. We got a little whiny about where we would find our next water stop. & we discussed how long it takes to go 80 miles if you’re driving 80 mph – if you’re in shape and have good tires 😉
Around mile 8, things started to take a slight turn. And this time, it wasn’t my legs that were giving me the problem ~ they felt GREAT the entire run. My belly, on the other hand, was all out of sorts. Every water, Gu or Gatorade that I took in just seemed to sit there like a pit in my stomach. There was no digesting going on and I felt like a bloated mess. And because things weren’t digesting/ absorbing properly, my fuel tank took a major hit. The further I went, the less energy I had, and subsequently, the more whiny I became :-/ After a water/gel break, Christi sped ahead while the rest of us kept on keeping on, still in search of a 2-hour finish.
The last couple miles were the hardest of any race I can remember. Jaime and Meggie were feeling pretty good, so they pulled ahead just slightly, leaving Amy and I pulling up the Perfect Stranger caboose. With the hills and the winding roads, things were turning into a major blur. Amy kept saying she was done. She wanted to stop. To which I firmly told her no. There was no stopping now despite how shitty we felt, how big our bellies were, or how many goosebumps we had 😉 We took a little walk just before the final hill that would lead us to the finish line. As soon as we made the last turn, I surged ahead. I can’t run hills any other way but fast. My theory has always been the quicker I get up, the quicker they’re done. I honestly about passed out on the last straight away but couldn’t have been happier to finally cross that darn finish line.
My time? 2:02:44. Not my best, but honestly not bad for my first half of the year.
The rest of the girls did phenomenal. Lori in the 1:40’s. Karen, Adriana, Christi in the 1:50’s. And Jaime, Meggie, Amy and I in the 2:00’s. An overall successful day by the ladies in black.
I immediately decided that there would be no more running for me. We decided to take our post-race celebration to Mudsocks Grill. Since the sun was still shining at the time, we opted for an outside table. Much to our dismay, the clouds decided to roll in the second we sat down, making for a rather chilly dining experience. We rallied, cheersed to a great race in English and Romanian (“Noroc!!”) and kept our hearts and bodies warm with more laughter.
Overall, the Sam Costa was a great, well organized race. The main thing I was bummed about was the lack of finisher’s medals ~ c’mon man! I was definitely thrilled with the weather turnout and the fact that I got to run with more of my ladies than I had anticipated. Always a bonus.
With less than 4 weeks until the Carmel Marathon, I’m a little disappointed that this race did not give me the confidence I was hoping for going into my final month of training. Especially given all my recent down time. But I have to remember that it was only my first real race of the year. And starting in a sub-optimal way means that things can only get better from here. I’m ready for the return of the Boppy Fairy. She was nowhere to be found today. Luckily I was surrounded by lots of imposters 🙂