Saturday, I spent of most of my day at the expo again, but the real highlight was attending the pre race VIP dinner. Many of the elite athletes were in attendance. Dinner was preceded by an open bar reception. I have no qualms about consuming adult beverages the night before a race and helped myself to a couple delicious beers.
During dinner, a short video played that showed clips from previous Cherry Blossom runs. Following the video, Phil Stewart (the race director) delivered a short speech. Also, a check was presented to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals in the amount of $487,000! Over the course of the Children's Miracle Network Hospital's involvement with CUCB, 6 million dollars has been raised. Amazing! The evening wrapped up around 8:30 as the many athletes and race committee members in attendance needed to grab some much needed shuteye before the big day. I guess I needed to go to bed, too.
|Pre Race Dinner
|Social Media Team with US Elite Runner Tyler McCandless
|Hanging with friends before the start
I tried not to stress too much about my pace and clicked off my first mile in 7:42. Once we reached the Memorial Bridge, I took advantage of the clear sidewalks to avoid the larger crowd of runners on the road. I was able to extend my stride and settle into a nice rhythm. I ended up running mile 2 in 7:16. Thinking that was a little too ambitious of a pace that early on, I tried to slow it back down, but my legs weren't having any of it.
By mile 4, the congestion on the course had improved greatly and my pace snuck down to around 7:10. In the back on my head I was wondering when I was gonna bonk. I knew I was going faster than I needed to, but this was the pace my legs wanted, so I didn't fight it.
Miles 6 through 9 is a part of the course many runners don't like, but I don't mind it. I think the loop around Hains Point is gorgeous and it's something I run (and bike) quite frequently while training. After rounding the tip of Hains Point, I decided to empty out whatever I had left in me and really push it to the finish. I ran mile 9 in 7:02. One mile to go!
Mile 10 was a blast as the crowd lining the streets started to pick up. For sure, their cheers helped turn my legs faster. Once the finish line came into view, I was in an all out sprint! Crossing the line I looked down at my watch and to my surprise I had beat my previous PR by almost 5 minutes! 1:12:35. I had also run my last mile in 6:48! I was beyond thrilled.