Tuesday, December 11, 2012

RunGirl 13.1 Relay Report

Since my first year in triathlon, I've had a place in my heart for the TriGirl sprint triathlons and the women who created these races.  A couple of years ago, they added the RunGirl 13.1 and relay to their list of races.  Even more recently, they added MuddyGirl.  Since RunGirl's inception, I have wanted to do this race, but it never seemed to work out with my schedule.

This year, I had already signed up for the Bridge Series, which meant I had a 1/2 marathon the weekend before this race.  Not sure what my hip could handle, I decided that doing a 1/2 marathon two weekends in a row might not be the smartest thing to do.  But, a 1/2 marathon relay?  Yep, that I could handle!  My friend, Megan, agreed to be a part of our 2-person relay team and we registered as "Run Like a Mother". 

Last year, it was incredibly cold on race day. We were hoping that would be the case on Sunday. Unfortunately, the weather was almost identical to last weekend - about 68 at the start with the temps quickly increasing into the 80s with lots of sunshine. Yuck.

We arrived at the race about 45 minutes early. I found the bathrooms and then we headed to the start. I ran into a lot of my running peeps and some folks from the Fantasy Fit Camp Challenge. As the name suggests, this race is all women...about 1,000 of them. Around 10 minutes before the race, we all lined up, sang the national anthem, bowed our heads for the invocation and were off!

"Run Like a Mother" ready to go! No, we did not plan to be matchy matchy, but we look cute, no?
I agreed to run the first leg.  It was a bit slow going at first due to the crowds, but the masses spread out pretty quickly. I looked down at my watch and saw that I was running a 9:40 pace.

What the what???

If you know me and my paces since my hip injury, I have not been running faster than about a 10:20 pace. I have not been running a 9:40 pace. Not for 6-miles. Not even for a 5k. I really have been sticking to my "don't push the hip, you might hurt it" philosophy. In fact, I was expecting to run about a 10:15 pace, but was kinda hoping for something closer to 10 minute miles. But with the heat, all bets were off...I am a wuss in the heat.

Funny thing is, that 9:40 pace didn't feel too bad. I thought to myself, "It's only 6-miles, why not see how long you can keep this up?". So I kept chugging along, fully expecting to have to slow down at some point. I'd look at my watch one minute and it would show me at a 9:30 pace, a few minutes later I'd look again and be at a 10:15 pace. I was all over the place.

The course was nice. There were lots of trees, so it was actually pretty peaceful. I've been on these same roads multiple times, but it was during a triathlon and I was on my bike. It's a little more difficult to enjoy the views when you're zipping by on your bike. On a run, you have more time to take it all in. There was one especially nice downhill with a canopy of trees overhead. Pretty awesome. Unfortunately, there were a few uphills, too. Nothing significant, but enough to make your heart rate increase a bit!  I stopped at the first aid station to grab a bit of Gatorade while I walked, then I suddenly thought, "Doh, why are you stopping?  You're only running 6.55 miles...keep going!!!"  I didn't grab anything again until about mile 4 where I attempted to drink and run, only taking a few sips and pouring the rest on me.

Another great part of the course was when we ran near the relay hand off point. There were a lot of people cheering there and then again near the finish line. However, there were a couple of women wearing shirts that said "CHEER SQUAD" on the front who were just standing there frowning. Kinda ironic, lol.

I talked to a few runners along the way and tried to play the ol' roadkill game. I am usually not the type of person who tries to see how many people they can pass, but for some reason it seemed like a good idea on this race.  The game started when I got a bit too close to someone who was wearing jingle bells.  Not that there's anything wrong with wearing jingle bells, especially this close to Christmas and all.  But, it was annoying me and I decided to increase the distance between us.  The second victim had ice in her fuel belt bottles.  Again, nothing wrong with that, but the noise it was making was bothering me, so again - roadkill.  I saw a few girls in green shirts - took'em down.  A few reindeer - splat.  I did this again and again the entire time.  Surprisingly, I was still maintaining my 9:40-something overall pace. By the time I reached 5.5 miles, the pace was starting to feel a little harder. It didn't help that the sun was now shining directly on us and it was getting hot.

Finally, I was done!
My final pace - 9:46, yay me!  The course seemed a bit long the entire way - my final mileage was 6.65.

I wish I could say I sprinted to the finish, but I think that would be an exaggeration. I was already running faster than normal for me, so I just kept it going. For some reason, I didn't think I was supposed to run down the entire shoot and I stopped a little short. This caused me to miss the medals and water. Doh! Fortunately, someone pointed me back to get it. I wouldn't have wanted to miss out on the awesome bling!

Nice bling, huh?  You can remove the charm in the middle for a necklace...

After I finished, I hung out with some peeps and cheered for the other relayers as they came in.  I saw my Woodlands Fit friend, Jennifer, finish and we hung out and walked over to the official finish to wait for the 2nd leg of our relay teams to finish.  We cheered while we waited.  Since it was a smaller race, there weren't a lot of people there cheering as runners came down the chute and not a lot of hoopla.

Once Megan finished, we headed over to the post race celebration.  They had plenty of goodies - My Fit Foods, breakfast tacos, cookies, cupcakes, fruit, Muscle Milk, water and sodas.  There was even a photo booth where you could take a post-race pic and get it right there!  Cool beans!
Our post-race pic from the photo booth

All in all, this was a fun race.  With the temps getting as warm as they did, I was happy to only be running the relay.  And, I was happy that I surprised myself with my pace and it made me realize that maybe my hip is capable of more than I thought!  And, I wondered what kind of pace I might have had if the temps had been 20 degrees cooler...faster?  The same?  I would definitely do this race again and might even run the entire 13.1...if only we could know the temperature before we registered....

Have you raced in conditions that you didn't necessarily like?  How did you do?  What's your favorite temp for racing?


Lisa said...

Congrats! Yes, you just have to wonder how much faster you might have been with cooler temps. Heat slows me down.

Teamarcia said...

Congrats! How great you far exceeded your pace expectations! Love the bling. I need to look into this relay option. Sounds like fun!

saroy said...

I love RunGirl! I set my half marathon PR there 2 years ago although I'm laughably far from that pace these days.