This past Saturday was the annual Charlottesville Women’s 4-Miler, a race that I’ve done twice previously. Two years ago was my first time running it and I could barely do the distance. Last year I ran it just a few weeks before I had knee surgery, so I was running on a knee brace and pure determination.
This year, Ellie joined in on the fun and I’m going to skip ahead to the end and just say that I really really wish that I had a photo of her smile when she crossed the finish line because that smile is still making me smile three days later.
Also, please indulge a mother for a moment while I give the newly-minted 12 year old a shout out for her birthday, which is today: Happy birthday Ellie!
Okay, getting back on track, this year marked the first time we had rain during the race. Just a light rain, nothing too major, more like a heavy drizzle. The temperature was in the mid-to-upper 70s at race time, so overall, the weather was decent, all things considered. While some people don’t like running in the rain, I personally like it. A lot. Considering how much I don’t like water in general, I find it hilarious that I like running in rain.
This race always benefits the UVA Cancer Center Breast Care Program, so as you can imagine, there is a lot of PINK associated with race day.
I’m not wild about the color pink. I don’t know why — perhaps there’s some deep-seated trauma that I’m unaware of — but I do not wear any shade of pink, even though it’s actually a good color for me. And, because so many women were wearing their BRIGHT PINK race shirts on Sunday, I took the opposite approach and went with an all-black/dark gray look, partly so that Pete could find me more easily among the throngs and partly because it made me feel FIERCE.
At the start, I lined up with a faster pace group this year. I had hoped to do an 11:00/mile pace (44:00 total) and knew that adrenaline would cause me to bolt out of the start like Usain Bolt (albeit older and pudgier), so I put myself in the 10:00 pace group and ended up doing around 9:30 for the first mile, which is a good time for me.
Pete told me later he was surprised to see me at the 2 mile mark at that time because he knows my running times — the poor guy gets an earful after every run, as I analyze things to death — and I showed up earlier than he was expecting.
For the first time ever, I really enjoyed this race. Usually, the crowds stress me out, because the road is crowded. This year, however, I was more relaxed than usual and the throngs didn’t bother me.
There aren’t any big hills in this race, but the approach to Mile 3 is a long steady uphill that most people find challenging, myself included. This is where I had to walk a bit the last two years but this year I didn’t allow myself any walking breaks.
And then I was done.
Chip time: 42:39.
That’s an average pace of 10:53 per mile.
I knocked eight minutes off last year’s time and 14 minutes off of two years ago. I’m excited to think about what I could do next year.
As Pete astutely pointed out, I not only have trained hard in the past year, I’ve also lost weight and my knee is healthier than ever, so all of those factors helped this past weekend. I’m still slower than a lot of people, but I’m making progress.
I am delighted that I had such a good race, because I really needed the mental boost. The half marathon is this coming Sunday and I have been feeling anxious about it. But, I’m not going to dwell on that right now. Mostly, I just want to bask in the glow of a race well run.
How was your weekend?