Had set a goal this year not to PR, but rather to finish stronger than I started. Strava had a "Last Mile" Challenge, which incentivized the goal by offering a donation to charities that support Youth Running. I thought it would be a good motivator, and keep me moving through the run streak I've been working towards.
As we had a friends' wedding on Friday, Saturday became dedicated to travelling home and recovering. Lots of naps with the kids, and then handled bedtime without much incident. I got in a brief three mile run late, and threw in a lot of speed towards the end. Ate a calorie dense meal before going to bed.
Woke up early Saturday. Angry Unicorn starts at 7:45, but the packet pick up starts at 5:45. It's about 45 minutes from where I live, and I don't like to take the travel time too much for granted. In getting ready, I was less prepared than I usually am for races. Normally I'm sort of type-A about setting all my stuff out the night before. Because I was so worn out from travelling, I decided not to worry as much about it and get as much sleep as possible before heading out. The long gap between packet pickup and race start also made it evident that I would need to do quite a bit of race prep at the start.
So, anyway, all that is to say that I decided to go pretty light. Wore a singlet and shorts, with a super light weight rain coat (as it was supposed to rain) that I could shuck and carry if needed. Had a hydration belt that I bought for the NYC marathon as a backup to my usual gear. Couldn't find my running band, which was a real bummer because the jacket didn't have pockets, and that belt can't accommodate my phone. Meant I had to carry my phone the whole way.
On the way down to the race start I picked up a coffee and bagel, and after parking put together my hydration and other pre-race stuff. Got all my gear in place. Talked to the race director a bit in the parking lot -- I've run a bunch of his races before, and the events are good, the RD has a positive attitude, and puts a lot of thought into the safety of the runners. Around 7:45 we got going, in a consistent but not heavy rain. Did my best to dial in 8:30 miles for the first four or so -- ended up with a 9 minute split because I stopped at an aid station.
Around mile 4 I fell in with a group of runners, who were moving pretty strong. On my watch they were anywhere from 8:10/mile to 7:50/mile. I still wanted to hang back at around 8-8:15 just so I didn't add on too much too fast. I decided to keep them in sight at least until the turn around.
At the mile 10 aid station that group started to break apart as some of the guys had trouble holding pace. My plan at that point had been to get to mile 11.75, shuck my coat, and open up my pace aiming for an even 7 minute split. I passed a couple of folks, and then put the plan into motion. Managed to get down an energy gel just before mile 12, too, which I think helped a bit. The first half into mile 12 was at a 6:24 pace (according to my watch) but the last half had quite a bit of hill, so I ended up with an even 7min split just as planned. Elated, I kept the pace up to the finish. At 1:46, it's not my fastest half or anything, but I learned a lot about the mental focus it takes to pace.
Onto my Run Streak Day #168. Had a nightmare of a time finding my motivation today, and I'm hoping it is back tomorrow.
I broke a tooth the other day, so I had a dentist appointment to have the addressed. I hate going to the dentist, but, I need to set a good example for my kids, so I know part of that is modeling positive interactions with medical professionals. I'll need to start going more regularly. Dentist appointment went well -- and I'm hoping to make some more positive changes to my health there. A bit of work to be done as I'm due to get a crown on the broken tooth, so hopefully that will be motivation to being the last huge amount of dental work I will have.
Went to a local playground and then out to dinner last night. Late Spring evenings are excellent, when the weather is nice. I'm hoping that we have more days like that in the next couple of weeks because the time with the kids is so restorative to my soul. I want to get the toddler out and running in the woods for a bit this weekend, too.