When I originally "came out of the shoe closet" and told my little world that I was going to try "for Boston," I knew there would be hurdles and tests along the way. The first "quiz" was the Red Cross Hurricane 5K in September (Labor Day). I managed to pass that one okay. But, I knew it was a very small step on the journey to 26.2 miles. The first "real" test (not exam) was going to be the Boston (Georgia) Mini Marathon. This small Georgia town hosts a half marathon race on the last Saturday of October every year. Just for me to run near my birthday .... Ha! Anyway, as in the last few years, I had planned to run this race. It is scenic; well attended; fairly well supported; and not so far away from home that I can't get there, run, and get back all before lunch.
So, at 6:00 a.m. off I went to the little burg of Boston. I arrived at "the" Presbyterian church where the out-of-towners park a bit before 7:00 a.m.; met up with my friend and training partner Cathy; and walked to the Community Center to retrieve my race number and shirt. We walked back to the car(s), gathered our gear, and headed back to the center of town to be closer to the starting area. The temperature was a bit warmer than I would have liked, but one of the few items I cannot control during a 13.1 mile race, therefore I vowed to just deal with it. I pulled up my big girl panties and got ready to run. After the invocation and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner the pack started out... In the last couple of years the field has been between 200 and 250 runners. I will be interested to see how many turned out this year for the race. I know I finished 62nd over all because that is why my chute card said on it. I don't know which place female I was or how I may (or may not) have placed in my age group, but I know I was less than the 15th female as Cathy said that was her.
My official finish time was 1:51:24 for what Boston measures at 13.1 miles (Garmin Forerunner 305 says 13.18 miles, but who is counting?). That puts me at roughly 8:27 minutes/mile. That makes my pace a full 20 seconds per mile FASTER than I need for a Boston Qualifying time in the 26.2 distance. Not to mention, that is a personal best (a.k.a. PR) by more than 6 minutes (last year's time 1:57:10). Hooray!
I did learn an important and very valuable lesson on Saturday: I do not find it hard or difficult to run 13 miles. I did find it challenging to run 13 miles in what is a FAST time FOR me. Yikes! I definitely needed the off day Sunday to rest and walk. No strenuous anything was going on with these legs. Today, however, is a different story. I will be on the bike soon for about 35-45 miles depending on time. Gotta love it!