I had been really nervous about this race about a week earlier, then the weather hit these beautiful, low 80s temps accompanied by low humidity, and my thoughts that this could actually be a great race increased. As the week progressed a couple of friends mentioned some storms were supposed to hit on Sunday morning. This surprisingly didn't phase me at all. I've run enough races in rain at this point, that I knew I'd get through just fine regardless. And then, when my alarm went off at 5:30 on race morning, I heard it, the low rumble of thunder. Well, this is certainly going to be interesting.
And, indeed it was. Kim, Jon, Jen, and I carpooled over to the stadium together, getting there about 6:30 to avoid the bulk of traffic and get Jon checked in for his volunteer duties. We kept shelter in the car while it stormed around us, complete with thunder and bright lightening. Hmmm, are they still going to be able start this race?
About 7am there was a break in the storms so we decided to take advantage of it and got our pre-race bathroom trips in. We still had 45 minutes to the race. Announcements indicated the race was still on, but we again sought refuge in the car as another wave passed through. Finally it was a few minutes from the start and it was time to get lined up. As we stood there waiting for the start, there were a couple of loud claps of thunder. Well, at least the street lights on the bridge can act as lightening rods???
Fortunately, there wasn't too much more time for the nerves to kick in, cause next thing I knew we were off. And then it downpoured on us. All you could do was cheer and laugh. Fortunately it didn't last too long, but the damage was done - we, and everything around us was soaked. I normally loved to sprint down Main Street, but this year, was sure to have solid footing on the wet bricks. Thanks to Jen's company, the first 3 miles went by very fast. Thanks to the staff at the Naval Academy's baseball stadium, we were sure to serenade those around us with a few bars of "Sweet Caroline".
Due to some issues with local authorities, the course had to be altered this year. So, this ended up not being the course I've trained on off and on for the last 3 years. This made me nervous as I felt that it was hillier.
I hit a wall about 4.5 in, and then again about 7.5 in. The hills definitely got the better of me, and once the storms passed through, the sun came out and things got fairly hot and humid.
In the days leading up to the race, a couple of people found my blog by searching for information about people not finishing the race due to the 12 minute per mile pace requirement. (I hope you've found your way back here, and if so, had a great race!) The Striders did reassure people that if you were still on the course at 9:30, you would be allowed to finish, but would have to move to the sidewalk or shoulder. I am happy to report that I was coming into the finish around 10am, and the streets were still closed, I received a finish time, and a finisher's shirt. My chip time was 2:12:20 (clock time 2:23:12), just over a 13 minute per mile pace.
So, if you are anxious about meeting the pace requirement, don't be! While challenging, this is a great race, mostly because of the runners who run it. As we were around mile 3.5, the lead pack was already past mile 9, and many were shouting words of encouragement to those of us in the back. This continued for most of the rest of the out and back. It was great to see so many friendly faces, both old and new. The Annapolis running community really is one of the best ones out there.