My race today was perfect! I loved the course: it was very challenging, but I paced myself well and had a strong finish. My good friend, The Red Wasp, and I ran the last four miles together. Our splits were something like 8:15, 7:50, 7:34, and 7:37. So cool! It helped that most of the last three miles were downhill. :) I was glad that I finished strongly. The course was very hilly, sometimes rolling, sometimes just steep up and down. My thighs are feeling the effects presently, but some great massaging by hubby and rolling pin should help ease the recovery. The last big hill was a real bear, but I ran it all. I loved running on the trails, being in nature, digging in, and coasting down.
I also met some great people. There was wonderful camaraderie amongst all the runners, lots of encouraging words and such. The man I sat next to on the bus ride to the start is an attorney, so of course we talked bar exam. During the first half of the run, I chatted with a woman who is going through a very hard rough patch in her life right now: she lost her father two months ago, and her sister is dying of cancer. The sister is going on hospice now, which means the end is near. The runner is flying out to New York with her mother to be with her sister until the end. Oh, such a burden! She told me that running is her therapy. I can't imagine the ache in her heart and the hardship of helping her mom keep it together too. Later in the race I talked with a very skinny 40-something year old who has run Hood to Coast probably a dozen times. J and I are going to run a relay race soon, so we talked relays for a bit. There was one girl who kept playing leap frog with me, meaning sometimes I'd be ahead and at other times she would pull ahead. She complimented me on my calves. I love my calves and am slightly vain about them. It's really none of my doing though. I inherited great calves from my mom. Thanks mom!
Sadly, J and the girls weren't at the finish line when I arrived. They were en route though, and surprised me. Kj ran up to me while I was stretching. I was so happy they were there, but very sad they couldn't cheer me into the finish line. Maybe the next race.
This was such a great race experience. Not too long, not too cold, not too hot, not too hard. Everything was just right. In a word, perfect.