This year I went into this race with one goal in mind. A goal that is very opposite of how I approach any other race ... go slow. I normally start out way too fast and lose speed, quickly. Today I wanted to actually PACE myself.
With five minutes left to spare, Vans dropped me off at the starting line. Literally. Everyone watched me get out of the car. The race directors said a few nice words honoring the memory of 9/11 and then we had 30 seconds of silence.
While milling about the starting area I said hello to a few Buffalo Chips that I used to run with and who have since surpassed me speed wise. I also set my sights on a girl I used to know years ago. Someone I used to play soccer with too. I silently designated her as my "race rabbit." Everyone has one of these. Generally they are someone you recognize or know ... someone that you set your sights on and designate (usually mentally) that you will beat that person or at the very least, stay within sight of them. This girl has been my race rabbit for years. Usually I end up beating her but barely. Today, I just wanted to stay behind her but close.
The race started and she was in front of me. She seemed to be going at a decent pace, nothing too strenuous and I thought "Hey this is going to be a piece of cake." As I was running along I was thinking about mile 4. Mile 4 is where I always see Vans and the Peanut as it is near where we used to live and where my in-laws currently live. Before the race I handed the Peanut a Gu and I told her to hold onto it tight. I told her it was my race fuel and that she could give it to me when she sees me running later. Her eyes lit up. She couldn't wait to give her momma her "race fuel."
I also told myself that at Mile 4 I am going to stop and say "hi" to Vans and the Peanut and if I lose my race rabbit I won't let her get too far ahead. Mile 4 came and it was great...
Armed with her Gu
and her cow bell ...
she sees her momma!
Momma gets a hug mid-race.
Back on the road again.
However, I saw my race rabbit slowly getting farther and farther away. At mile 5 I took the Gu the Peanut gave me hoping maybe it would give me some juice. It helped. I wasn't suffering at all and I was enjoying the race yet I knew that if I tried to catch my race rabbit that I probably would not be able to maintain my energy level after sprinting to catch her. I slowly just let her go. At mile 7 I could still see her in my sights but I was no where near in a position to catch her and it seemed as if she too was gaining some speed to the finish.
Instead I jockeyed position with a husband and wife team. The husband was quite entertaining as he was the only person who accepted the Krispy Kremes they were handing out at mile 6 ... twice. His wife didn't seem happy and he kept yelling at her to "come on honey! you can do it honey" ... she didn't look too thrilled. I eventually passed them both at mile 8 as I felt the need to accelerate. Oddly at mile 9 he came sprinting by me tell me to "gooooo" yet 20 feet in front of me he just stops. Completely stops. I am guessing he went back to find his wife and finish with her but perhaps mentally he was using ME as HIS race rabbit.
Waiting patiently for momma at the finish. With cow bell. Again.
Even Squeaker was waiting um, semi-patiently.
The home stretch.
As I crossed the finish line I saw Boss and Jessica's Mom from my old ultra-running group. It was nice to see them and Jessica's Mom got to meet Squeaker! I also introduced Squeaker to some Buffalo Chip friends and I chatted it up with my race rabbit after I crossed the finish line. In my age group, she only finished one person in front of me!
Here are my mile splits:
Mile 1: 8:49
Mile 2: 8:40
Mile 3: 8:31
Mile 4: 8:33
Mile 5: 8:37
Mile 6: 8:44
Mile 7: 8:49
Mile 8: 8:45
Mile 9: 8:43
Mile 10: 8:28
My garmin says an 8:39 average but the official race results say 8:44 with a 1:27 finish. Definitely my slowest Buffalo Stampede ever but hey, that was my goal right? I definitely paced myself.
The Peanut also attempted another half mile kids' race but unfortunately because of her slow mother (and forgetful father) we missed the actual race. However, the race director was so awesome he let her run one lap around the track and gave her a medal anyway ....
Run Momma Run!
Peanut gets a medal!
I absolutely love races that have FREE Kid races as well. I think they show case such a great example of fitness and family fun. The Peanut is pretty easy going at most races and really enjoys watching people race. Next year, when the Squeaker is bigger, I will have someone to hold my Gu AND water! :-)