Today was my last Mini Marathon of the season. I usually run the Monumental in November, but I just haven't enjoyed it the past few years so I decided not too. I'm hoping to find a local 10 mile race before the end of the year, because it seems really early to stop training in September. I ran it with my friend Amanda. She was going for a PR today too. This is us before the start of the race where they literally say, "GO!" to start it!
The Morse Mini...I really wish I would have/could have taken pictures along the way. For me this race really sums up what I thought about Indy before we moved here. Rows and rows of corn fields! This makes the course nice and flat, but provides little shade along the way! Today was a hot and humid race. I think we were already at 75 degrees with a dew point of 68. Not the most ideal running weather. Ten hours later and my body is still trying to recover.
To come in under 2 I needed to run a 9:08 mile....for 13.1 miles! I was a little concerned because with all the hot and humid weather we've been having I was having trouble getting my pace under a 9 minute-mile. I was very fortunate to have my Garmin watch and a pace wristband I printed from internet. Not only could I see what pace I was running, but at every mile marker I could see how far ahead (or behind) I was to making my ultimate goal and adjusted as needed.
Lucky for me the Morse is not a very large race. My guess is that there were only about 200 people. This made the first few miles so much more manageable than the larger races. There wasn't a bottleneck at the start and I didn't have to spend my time weaving around slower runners. I think I had my best first 3 miles ever, usually they are my worst. I ended up being a full 3 minutes ahead of my goal time. I know that 3 minutes doesn't sound like much but really every minute and second count. Try running a mile as fast as you can and then try running that same mile 1 minute faster and you quickly understand how precious seconds and minutes are.
I was right about it being a mental race. There were times when I'd look at my watch and see I was running 9:12 and think to myself that I couldn't possibly go any faster. Miles 6 and 7 were on a straight road and seemed never ending. Water stations were every 2 miles and there were times that I didn't think I'd make it to the next one. There was a lot of back-and-forth conversations in my head today. Ultimately my brain won over my body and we were successful! NEVER underestimate the power of positive thinking!
I'm often asked what I think about running with an iPod. I've done both and I prefer with and without for different reasons. Almost always on my long training runs I run with music. Two hours by yourself is a long time with your own thoughts. During the races I typically run without music. I feel like while it may "put me in the zone" or run at a faster pace when the music is fast, ultimately I find it harder to keep a steady pace and my breathing usually goes all over the place. The benefits to the music is that you get to block out all the extra noises that can be distracting; another runners bizarre breathing, the chatty Cathy that happens to be running right next to you, and all the body noises that go along with running extended lengths. Today time was important so I ran without music.
My official time was 1:58:05. Almost 2 minutes ahead of schedule-woo hoo!!! The official stats are not in yet so I'm not sure how I placed in the pack, but I am super excited about my performance.
Nothing better than doing your best AND winning!