The last race of the year.
Here we are. Lisa and me. True Sole Sisters through and through.
Lisa and I have been running buddies since way back in 2010. We’ve ran in a lot of races together and even one marathon. She says I help her as much as I say she does me but I don’t know. She is the most motivating person in the world to me. An awesome, awesome friend.
Lisa is a good bit faster than me. She has really been rocking the Cross Fit and swears by it. She’s got me doing it too but I’m not nearly as disciplined as she is. We rode together to the race on Sunday and as we were getting out of the van she was talking to me like she was going to run with me or something. I told her no way. I would just slow her down. I assured her that I would be fine.
About that time her husband looked at me and let me know to give it up. Lisa was running with me. She had made up her mind and that was that.
Lisa asked me if I wanted to try and run the entire race. I have never done that before in a distance race. I always walk through every water stop and also here and there along the course. Since the race was only 10 miles, I decided to give it a try.
The Reindeer Dash for Cash is a wonderful race held in Greenville, NC. It honors the life of Captain Christopher S. Cash who was killed in the line of duty in Iraq. Chris loved to run and was passionate about education. Proceeds from the race will help award annual scholarships in his memory.
The packet pick-up was superbly organized and very efficient. I especially liked that they had all the swag bag items all out on a table. First you got your shirt and timing bib and then you grabbed a bag. Next you could just pick and choose the items that you wanted. I picked up a cup, some Biofreeze, and some coupons but I passed on the lanyard. (I have so many of these.) I’m sure it saved many volunteer hours by not having to stuff the bags. And….you didn’t end up with stuff you really didn’t need or want.
The race began in a park near the Tar River in downtown Greenville. They had lots of stuff for the kids to do and many vendor tables. I spied a Jersey Mike’s truck and knew the after race food would be awesome.
Soon enough it was time for the race to begin. A uniformed soldier sang the national anthem while another soldier presented the flag.
We started out near the back of the group and settled in to a pretty good pace right off the bat. I always tend to start off too fast and Lisa was so good at keeping the pace down. If I was going to make it the whole way without even one walk break, I had to resist the adrenaline surge and keep it slow and steady.
The race went through downtown Greenville and then on a really pretty greenway. We also ran about 3-4 miles on the campus of East Carolina University. There were lots of twists and turns and at every single one of them there was a uniformed soldier cheering us on and keeping us on course. It was a relatively flat course with only one slight hill around the 8 mile mark.
I sipped the water from my water bottles and really did ok. You’d think after 3 years of running I would have tried sipping while running but I really haven’t. All summer long with the Galloway group, I would drink when we were in a walk in our 3 and 1 intervals. At the 6 mile water stop, I decided to get a cup of Gatorade. I told Lisa that I was just going to slow down for a second and try to gulp the fuel. When the volunteer handed me the cup I bent it in a V shape and tried to take a sip. I got a lot of it but a lot also got all over me. It was hilarious. The cup was very full so I took one more gulp and did better on my second try. Mission Gatorade accomplished.
Before I knew it we were rounding the corner and heading to the finish line. The street was lined with soldiers and they were all clapping and cheering us on.
When we crossed the bridge to the finish line the clock read 1:44. I could not believe it! I had expected to finish maybe in something like 2:10 or so. But 1:44! I was on top of the world.
Here’s a breakdown of our splits:
Mile 1 10:20
Mile 2 10:05
Mile 3 10:05
Mile 4 10:03
Mile 5 10:10
Mile 6 10:19
Mile 7 10:31
Mile 8 10:59 (hill)
Mile 9 10:43
Mile 10 10:30
Average pace 10:22! This was my fastest race pace ever in a distance run and the first distance race that I ran the entire way.
Lisa and I grabbed an ice cold bottle of water and then walked on over to meet up with her family. Then we headed to the food tent. I got a turkey croissant, a tiny slice of pizza, and a Krispy Kreme doughnut! (couldn’t pass the doughnut up…..it ’s tradition )
I immediately posted a Facebook status touting this race as the best race all year. And it was.
Run the Valley back in September was a very close second.
I’ve looked over all my other races from this year and tried to determine what made this one so great.
I discovered that even though I went to many of the races with friends, I actually only ran 2 races the whole year “with” a friend. Dottie and I ran the whole way together back in September and Lisa stayed with me every step of the way last Sunday. That’s what I like. The togetherness. When you get to share your experience with someone it just makes it that much more special.
Now what’s next?
My friend Rebecca is going to run 1 half marathon every month for all of 2013. Cool huh?
I’m going to focus on speed in 2013 and I’ve promised myself that I will not run anything over 13.1 miles. I’m already registered for the Myrtle Beach half in February with our church group. I also am dying to do Flying Pirate again in April. Lisa might be doing Quintiles in Wilmington in March and that is one that I love too. I could feasibly follow in Rebecca’s footsteps and do a half every month. It would be a blast!
I do know that I am going to try to find the time to run 12 miles on 12-12-12. Anyone want to join me? I might be running in the dark due to work but I simply cannot pass up this corny opportunity. I know. I know. I’m crazy. But I’m happy!