Okay, next time I start pouting about being a slow runner, someone just take me by the shoulders, shake me, and tell me to get over it. I had fun today! I finished the 1-mile race in 11:09, and was pleasantly surprised! The race report follows.....
The Magnificent Mile started in downtown Raleigh, near Second Empire Restaurant and the Clarion Hotel, at 2:00 this afternoon. I got there early to pick up my timing chip in the first floor of the Clarion Hotel, and decided to hang out in the lobby for a while, because it was so hot outside (low 90s, about 10 degrees above normal). I enjoyed people watching, as I often do. At road races, I find myself scoping out the competition, and at events that have both competitive and non-competitive categories, I tend to scan people's feet too, to see whether or not they're in the "competitive" (=timing chip attached to shoe laces) division. It amuses me that I do this, as I usually don't consider myself a competitive person when it comes to other people; I love beating my own times at various distances. Since this was going to be my first 1-mile road race, it meant a guaranteed PR! ;-)
This competitive 1-miler had two heats, one for the men first, followed by the women. While the elite men runners were being introduced just before the men's heat, I struck up a conversation with a lady standing near me on the sidewalk. She had a neon green t-shirt on that indicated she was part of a WISH Training Team, with the group's motto on the back. A couple of us in the crowd were intrigued and asked about it. Turns out she's a big Disney fan, and has run the Disney World half/full marathon courses a few times. Apparently, this is a virtual training team she's on, along with others from the Disney message boards on DISBoards.com. She was smiling as she described how much fun this whole thing was, as people from all over the world were part of these boards and the virtual training team as well. It reminded me of a lady I'd exchanged a couple of messages with some 2-3 years ago when I left a comment on her running/weight loss blog. (That lady was a big fan of the Disney races too.) I was trying to figure out if the person on that blog was this same person from her picture on her blog (which went inactive a while back), but I couldn't tell for sure and didn't want to come across like a stalker or something. Anyway, we did talk about our race hopes for the afternoon, and I was relieved to hear she was hoping to finish around the same time I was!
It was fun watching the guys run their mile. Since I always finish near the back of the races I run, I don't ever see any elite runners finish, but I got to today! The winner of the men's heat finished in a probable course record of around 4:12. Boy, was he flying toward the finish line when I saw him cruise past where I was standing! All the guys finished in under 10 minutes, except for one little kid, who finished in about 12:30. He was sooo cute, and his mom was trotting next to him with a stroller with another child in it. As they neared the finish line, she took the stroller to the left of the finish line, and the little boy wanted to follow her instead of crossing the finish line with his timing chip on! The race officials redirected him across the timing strip at the finish. Very sweet!
Then it was our turn to line up at the start line. Instinctively, I walked to the back of the pack, and there was the Disney lady! We had a few pre-race chuckles, and then the horn sounded. We started running down Hillsborogh St. toward the State Capitol area. The course would take us up to Salisbury St., Morgan St., Wilmington St., Edenton St., back onto Salisbury, then back on Hillsborough St. down to the finish.
At one point pretty early on, I realized I was the last one in the race! (The big clue was the police car right behind me.) The lady in neon green was maybe 50-75 yards ahead of me, and there were a couple of people in between us. I didn't know how that happened--it was like I must've zoned out for a minute or two. I shook it off, and set my sights on the next person in front of me. I caught up with her in a bit, and we exchanged some encouraging words. (She was wearing a gold colored family reunion t-shirt, along with a couple other ladies I'd seen near the start. I thought that was a neat thing to do.) I finally caught up with the Disney lady, and we traded places a couple of times along the way. It was fun to chat with her at different times over the next several minutes. At one point I passed one more lady, who's number (95) was one number lower than mine. I told her we were number neighbors, and to keep on keepin' on. She thought I was strange, I think. (Or maybe she was tired like I was, or maybe she just didn't care!)
When I got back on Hillsborough and could finally see the clock, I hoped I could make it in under 11 minutes, but I didn't quite make it. Disney gal and I ended up crossing the finish line together in 11:09, and it was fun to have someone to celebrate with at the end of the race!
I was pretty tired at the end of the race, though, and am still a bit sore. My cold is still lingering, but I'm still excited about the race, inspite of being a little under the weather.
It was about 20 more seconds before I realized I'd forgotten to turn off my Garmin-oops! I stayed afterward to enjoy the post-race food, watch the non-competitive race (a number of those runners would've beat me this afternoon), and see the official results for myself (out of impatient curiosity--they'll post them online eventually, but I was curious, since my Garmin had kept going). I found out my time of 11:09, and saw the name of the person who finished with me. Turns out it WAS the same lady I'd swapped messages with a few years ago! Now, I can start looking for her brightly colored shirt at future races and say hello. :)