This past weekend was the 4 Four the Park run at Memorial. 4 miles on a relatively flat course that I practically run on all the time. Parking was supposed to be difficult, so my 2 friends and I arrived almost 2 hours before the race began. We had plenty time for potty breaks, stretching, and even warming up. I've never been one for warming up before a race, but I wanted to PR. My body felt great - especially after the wonderful sports massage I had on Wednesday to relieve the tension in my calves. My stomach was nervous, but I had set my goal high - I wanted an average 8:55 pace. C-Wow promised to push me at the begining instead of letting me hold back as usual if I pushed her at the end when I still had the energy left. She was aiming for a 9:00 min/mile pace, so we were well paired.
The gun went off exactly at 8:30am and we were off. After dodging the slow people that decided to stand in front of us, we settled into a 9 min pace weaving our way through the River Oaks neighborhood. Mile 1 was a success: 9:06. After that, my shoe came untied. I really need to start remembering to double knot my shoes before a race. Anyway, I tied them as quickly as possible and jumped back in with the herd. I sprinted to catch up with C-Wow, then had to recover my breath before the solo uphill trek. We didn't slow down for the hill and I think it took it's toll on my running partner, but she stayed with me until almost mile 3 before she fell back. I had absolute faith in her and waved her goodbye as I kept my "under 9" pace. The last stretch was pretty miserable without her. My stomach was hungry and there weren't very many people around. I kept my eyes on a couple in front of me and let them pace me to the finish. I wanted to collapse. But as I rounded the corner and the finish line came into sight, I saw my nice friend from Finish Strong cheering everyone on. He said "you can do it. Keep your back straight and pick up your knees." It was exactly what I needed - whether he recognized me or not. I didn't think I had a sprint left in me, but I gave it my all. I crossed the finish line knowing that I had crushed my 8:55 goal and it was exhilarating!
I grabbed a water bottle and turned around just to see C-Wow coming across the finish. She had stayed strong in the end and met her goal as well. All 3 of us PR'ed this race and we were all so excited. We hung around for over an hour at the afterparty listening to the band, eating all the great food, enjoying margaritas and of course partaking in the 5-min massages. It was a good day.
1st Half: 17:43!
2nd Half: 17:20
Overall Time: 35:04
Average Pace: 8:46!!!