Another successful race is in the books! I didn't get the distance PR I was wishing for, but I did get a course PR, and I do believe I ran a great race, so I am happy!
Thanks to the generosity of a friend, I didn't have to drive myself to the airport and then try to find a way back to get my car after the race. Plus, the ride to the airport was entertaining, as her toddler son kept asking about the giant airplane I was going to get on. And then he told me that he was very fast and would win the race. It is understandably hard for a toddler to grasp why we would be going to the airport if not to get on a plane! I saw him later in the day and he asked me if I won the race. I was happy to report that I did.
The weather for this race was about as good as anyone could hope for in early April. I would have been very happy with 10 or 20 extra degrees, but I can't have everything...it was high 40s/low50s and gorgeous! Also windy. But the sky was a brilliant shade of blue and the hills are turning green, so the scenery was pretty. The Chocolate Chase is a 9 AM race, so the temperature did rise a few degrees during the run. I felt the wind in my face as I ran the beginning of the race as a warm-up, and it worried me a little bit, but it didn't end up bothering me that much during the race. (although it is quite tempting to blame the wind for the fact that I didn't break 40 minutes!)
I started the race off strong and fast, but not too fast. I kept my long sleeves over my watch for the entire race so that I couldn't be tempted to glance down and mess up my race by worrying about what the watch said. I settled into 5th place pretty early on and kept what felt like a strong steady pace. I took fourth place at some point. Second and third were always a good sprint ahead, but not worth wasting the energy on a sprint. As the miles went by, I crept slowly closer. As we neared the end of the fifth mile I realized I was closer than ever, and that second place was definitely slowing down. With one mile to go, I suddenly discovered a reserve of energy and I picked up the pace. I sailed right by second and third. (First place was blisteringly fast and out of sight for most of the race.) Once I was in second, I kept pushing myself. I was feeling strong, and knew it was all downhill to the finish. I had no idea whether or not the two guys I had passed were keeping up with me or not, but there was no way I was going to turn around and find out. I couldn't hear anything but my own footsteps and heavy breathing. As the finish line came into view, I kept pushing harder and sprinted til I had crossed the line. I still didn't look back, just reset my watch and went straight into a cooldown jog.
Later, while hanging around in the crowd, waiting for the awards ceremony, I saw results posted so I went to look. The guy that was in third place for most of the race finished only a second behind me! I have no idea how he was that close to me without me hearing him, nor do I have any idea whether he was that close to me the whole time or if he just had a late kick that helped him almost catch me in the end. The first place runner finished in 35:52, and I finished in 40:14 (according to the timing group). Their timing is only semi-accurate, as the only clock/timing mat they had was at the finish line, 6+ miles from the starting line. My watch had me at 40:17, which I'm imagining is the more accurate time. The last time I ran this race, two years ago, I ran a 40:25.
They stepped it up on the prize this year!
Those five chocolate-tasting tickets brought my total to 15 free tickets for this year's Chocolate Festival. I won five for the half marathon in October, and a friend one five for the 5k in October, but couldn't be here, so I got his tickets. I ate a lot of free and delicious chocolate yesterday...