Goals are important. Every time I race, I have a list of 2-3 goals to focus on, which should be feasible with a little effort. When Bill and I registered for Shamrocks and Shenanigans, my goals were:
1. Beat Bill
2. Run a PR (currently 28:23 at the Twinkie Run)
3. Finish top 30 in my age group. I had looked up the 2014 results and thought I could manage it, if the participants were similar to last year.
It was a great day for running - full sun, and just cold enough to make me run fast. I loathe being cold, so I run faster, if only to get it over with! It's no coincidence that the majority of my PRs are in colder weather. We drove downtown and I did a warm-up jog of +/- a mile. I often hit my stride around mile 3 or 4 of my runs, but I wasn't sure logging that many miles right before a race made sense.
I started pretty close to the start because I didn't want to dodge kids or walkers, or swerve around strollers, etc. It was cold, my legs were warmed up, and the first mile was an 8:20. My previous PR was a 9:09 average, so I felt pretty good after the first mile. The second was a lot more uphill, and the 9:02 reflected that. Mile 3 was an 8:36. The last 1/10th was a super steep uphill, then 20 steps to the finish, and I couldn't get my legs to turn over fast enough off the hill to finish fast. The last bit was 9:33 oops. Final average of 8:39.
My watch had me finish in 26:49, and I had studied the course ahead of time so I hit all the turns and tangents exactly right. Final distance according to my watch: 3.09. Oh yeah!!! I grabbed a half bagel and a cup of ice cream :D Then just for kicks looked at the posted results to see how I fared. My official time was likewise 26:49 and my placement wasn't 30th or 29th or 28th, but 11th!!!!! Wow!!!!! I'm not used to seeing placements that high (there were 115 finishers in my age group). Makes me curious what my legs can do on a flat course!
So far 2015 is an epic year - two races, two big PRs. Happy!!!!