I drove up in my poor excuse for a car with Monica and Sarah. Monica took pictures of me driving and Sarah played her 10th grade dance tunes.
We got to beautiful Pomona with an hour to spare and Danica showed us where bathrooms were without lines! Well...ok...she showed Sarah and Monica where they were because I was frantically trying to find my race number. My middle name is "prepared." I also met Julie which was pretty sweet.
When it was about time to run, I literally jumped the fence to get in my "corral" and we got goin'.
My fairly arbitrary goal was to keep up 7:20 miles for the race. But...short of Fontana Days (most downhill course ever), I've never done this. My expectations for keeping up a 7:20 on hillmageddon were slim to none.
I tried to hold back in the first few miles. I told myself that if miles 1-5 aren't easy, you're not running the race right.
Miles 1-5 weren't too bad. I felt like I was trying, but not dying. Miles 6-10 were...the time that I needed to concentrate and focus. They were hilly, but I actually think this worked to my advantage. I am at my worst as a runner when I'm bored, and this up and down, twisty, beautiful course definitely didn't allow for settling into a pace, cruising, and getting comfortable.
I ate a couple honey stingers at mile 6 and a Gu at mile 9. Around this time, the SRLA kids (who had started about 15 minutes behind me) started passing me.
Holy cow, some of them are FAST!
For the last bit of the race, I told myself to step lightly and quickly. This was for two purposes:
1) To not waste energy and keep a quick stride
2) To try to avoid getting a stomach cramp
(It sorta worked - I only cramped up at the very end.)
At mile 12, I was still feeling good, and something amazing happened. People started yelling at me stuff like "you're in 6th, go get the girl in front of you!".
Granted, they were counting incorrectly because I was in 10th, but, this was so cool.
I've always wanted to be far up enough in a race so that people cheer you on as a competitor. A contender. I know it's silly, but in that moment, I felt like a freaking rock star.
You know what else made me feel like a rock star?
Running a time that I never truly thought I'd be capable of running. Here are my Garmin splits:
My chip time was 1:35:50. 7:19 pace, 10th woman overall.
I finished, accidentally high-fived some guy who was really trying to high-five the person behind me, and cheered on Monica and Sarah. We hung out, complained about the hills, and I stole sips off Sarah's delicious beer, because I forgot my dang ID. (I'm almost 30!).
Final Thoughts On The Race
Hold up y'all, I'm abouts to over-dramatize my hobby.
This race was one of those magical races when I'm so happy to be a runner. I ran this race at a pace that I never thought would be possible for me. But...that's not all....I got to be passed by a bunch of talented high schoolers that hopefully are the future of the sport. I got to hang out with two awesome girls who I'd never have known if I'd never read running blogs. And I got to run in freaking Southern California in perfect weather to the backdrop of gorgeous mountains. I am....ridiculously lucky.