After picking up my bib and finding out we would be able to send some of our personal belongings down from the start in the race director's truck, my fellow runners and I were bused 10 miles up the canyon. After a quick potty stop, I deposited my sweatshirt in the truck and joined the crowd at the starting line. That is when it started to sprinkle and I began shivering. I didn't stop shivering until I was easing into mile two, and my hands didn't warm up until about mile four. Yet I was happy for the cool air and the periodic rain, which was never more than a drizzle. The temperatures were perfect for the run, the setting couldn't have been prettier, and I felt great. I kept an eye on my pace, and resisted the urge to go too fast on the downhills. And with a total elevation drop of almost 2,000 feet, there were quite a few downhills.
My goals going into the race were 1) to pace myself so the last mile wasn't the hardest and 2) to finish close to 1:45. My 10-mile run the week before took 1:46, so I figured that was a safe number. Well my last mile in the race was in fact my strongest and fastest, and I finished in 1:36.13. Ten minutes faster than my run last week! 9:30 minute miles (for those of you like me who typically need a calculator to do the math). The official results have not been posted, so I don't know how I did overall or in my age group, but at least I know what the clock said as I crossed the finish!
It was great to accomplish my goals, but the real highlight was seeing my girls and hubby at the finish line. (Because of the early time of most of the races and the uncertainty of when I will finish, I have always told them to stay home.) As I downed some water, surrounded by my three favorite people, my 3-year-old told me, "You and Daddy and sister will come watch me run when I get bigger."
(Check out the sidebar for "Lessons Learned" from this race!)