Thankfully my 1980s stop watch was in my jewelry box, my friend Kelly let me borrow her iPhone (music AND pace calculator), and I have plenty of old shoes as a back up.
Add my forgetfulness to Thursday morning insomnia, and I anticipated a crappy race. My super secret goal was 44 minutes, but I knew without a doubt I was capable of a PR. Until that morning. When I struggled to breath the cold air. (That's right, no inhaler either.) Then I hit the hills. Runkeeper was telling me my average splits, so I just kept trying to push faster to not lose my PR hopes too.
In the first mile, Kelly and I stuck together. The course was crowded and we didn't want to go out too fast. Having volunteered to work the event as well, we'd spent our morning directing racers to the appropriate parking spots. I didn't really get a good warm up or a chance to size up where to line up in the race.
Despite the first big climb, I felt strong. My split (as spoken in my ear by runkeeper) agreed.
Mile 1 - 9:51
As the climb continued, Kelly went ahead. She's super strong on hills. I was able to pick up my pace a bit, and was pleased with the result.
Mile 2 - 9:39
Finally, we got a break from the hills and I took off. Or at least it felt like I took off. My goal was to make up for time during this section.
Mile 3 - 9:16
The Knoxville twist to the old saying is more accurately "What goes down must come up." The brutal hill stretched for about a quarter mile and ended up being a walker for me. For reference as to the steepness, here's a picture of my friend Kelly in the same spot at a different angle.
Mile 4 - 10:32
With most of the hills behind me, I was able to turn it up a notch and bring it in for a strong finish. Even at this part, the course was crowded and I didn't really get the straight-shot sprint in I wanted. Also the start line was different from the finish, so until the last few hundred feet, I wasn't sure how much I had left to go. Even still, this was my fastest mile.
Mile 5 - 8:89
Official finishing time - 47:00
28/80 - Age Group
While I didn't reach my super-secret goal, I PRed by 1:16! Not bad at all, considering my old PR was from 4 months ago on a super flat course. This was definitely a race I can be proud of!