My first race of the season went awesome!! Although its April it was about 20 degrees at the start and the start was at 11:00am! I carpooled so we met in Randolph which welcomed me with 3 inches of snow! Winter has not given up in the North Country.
Most of my races start before 9am so things were a little off for me. We arrived at 9:30 and picked up our race packets. An hour and half until start. Glad they had a raffle going I needed some distraction for my nerves. I put my tickets in for running shoes, a 60 minute massage and Red Sox tickets- an hour and fifteen minutes until start.
I've been doing a lot of running through the winter but not at this distance. I needed a goal, either a finish time or a pace time. I talked with my coach and he figured 7:30 per mile would be good for me and if I felt good pick up the pace the last two miles, and run fast as I thought I could. The last time I raced more than three miles was in 2010 At the PumpkinMan Half Ironman. (1.4 mile swim, 56 mi bike and 13.1 mi run). I know I have the fitness but running for that distance, at race pace, this early in the season was a little unnerving. The walkers went off at 10:30, Regina and Sue were ready!
I used the bathroom and saw a girl who looked pretty fit, blue shirt black tights, she was competition for me I could tell. I headed out on my warm up; 10 mins easy/10 min telephone pole surges to race pace/10 min easy running. Came back with about 10 minutes until start. I couldn't decide if I wanted to wear my vest knowing that if I took it off I'd have to carry it. I left it along with my windbreaker and put arm warmers on under my long sleeve. Side story: As I was walking out, I noticed a guy with a National Triathlon Championship shirt I asked him if he raced the Sprint or the Olympic distance he raced the sprint, I told him I had raced it as well. He asked my name and we realized we've exchanged a few emails! He works for Northway Bank. We went to Northway for sponsorship and to set up an account to accept donations. The Gorham branch manager emailed all their locations asking them to keep an eye out for Team Skidmore donations. Armand is a personal banker. We walked to the start together and discussed our strategy. He wanted to run a 33 I figured I wouldn't see him until after the race.
The first mile was all uphill not steep but gradual. I put myself in the second row and the countdown began. We started and I had to dart around a father and a five year old I wondered why they put themselves in the front. The front group started so fast but I kept up with them knowing a few would slow down. They did and I passed three people. I ran the first mile in 7:35! I knew there were three girls ahead of me.
Half way through the second mile, that girl I saw in the bathroom was approaching and wanting to pass. I stayed with her and on the uphill I didn't slow down as much as her. The next flat she caught up but then I pulled away on the following hill. Finished that mile in 7:41, it was hilly.
Before she tried to pass me again, another guy succeeded. I kept him in my sight. We finally started descending and I was feeling strong. We stayed together for mile three and thats when I saw Armand. As I passed the mile marker I got a flutter in my stomach, that's been my distance for the past three years! My watch read 22:17! I felt great and had completed the third mile in 7:01.
I picked Gina and Sue out of the group of walkers I was approaching, I knew they'd yell words of encouragement. They sure did! The third place female was about 100 feet out in front of me, Gina knew that and she yelled and pushed me to chase third place even harder.
I rounded the corner with about a mile and a half to finish. I distanced myself from the guy I had been running with and was so tempted to look back for the girl but I resisted. I heard the last mile was uphill so I was prepared. Armand was getting closer and closer. I caught him just after the 4 mile marker and said "Come on let's do this!" He tried to stay with me but I had to catch third place. 4th mile-6:23!
She wasn't getting closer and I was running harder. I pictured myself on the podium with a huge smile. I pushed a little harder and felt like I was going to get sick. I've never pushed hard enough to get sick so I didn't know if I would with out missing a step or I would have to stop. I cry when I throw up and didn't want that. My race was going so well I didn't want to discover what would happen. The finish line was getting closer and I knew I wouldn't catch her, I was sort of ok with that. I crossed the finish line 14 seconds behind her in 35:26. I ran the last mile in 6:53!
I left almost all of it on the pavement and it felt amazing. I went inside the school to get my wind jacket for my warm down. In just those few minutes my legs got very sore and almost cramped. It hurt to run but after a few minutes of jogging my hamstrings loosened up. I went unti I saw Gina and Sue, they were a quarter mile out, I jogged to them and turned around with them to the finish. They were walking fast! As we waited for Tami and Rosemary, I elevated my legs to drain the lactic acid. We saw Tami first, I got my phone out for finishing shots. There was a three second delay so I missed her. Ro came through and same delay, bummer no finish photos. We all congratulated each other and went inside, it was still pretty chilly. There were massage tables set up which I never take advantage of. Today I decided I would. I didn't realize there was a line. Most were in the never ending line for food. I waited and stretched and waited and stretched. It was a dollar a minute with the first five minutes being free. Gina checked on me a few times and brought me a cookie. It was totally worth the wait I need to do this more often!
I think I was the last to get food. Cooked veggies and chop suey, delicious! They started what we thought were awards at 1pm followed by the raffle. After 5 speeches an hour had already gone by. We were ready to leave but had to be present to win for the raffle. I also didn't know how I placed in my age group. They announced first overall male/female runners and walkers, I was surprised they didn't recognize the top three finishers. The age group awards were announced next, "female age 20-29 in first place Meg Skidmore" I was surprised but felt I earned it. They continued up through the age groups and Ro got called for first place too! She was even more surprised than I was and didn't believe it.
Remember that father and daughter I had to go around at the start? Well she got an award too She didn't want to race with the kids so she asked her dad to run the 5 miles! She ran in 1 hour and 14 minutes! Very impressive.
Finally they started the raffle. So glad we waited because I won a one hour massage! We packed up our stuff and headed out. We had to pose for a group picture but Ro had to fix her hair first. I guess the wind had other plans.
11th runner out of 111, 4th female, and 1st in my age group, very happy with my finish and a great way to start my racing season.
The temp read 34 degrees as we drove out of the parking lot.