Firecracker 6 (6M)
July 4, 2013
Time: 50:50 Pace: 8:28
Age Group: F25-29, 17/77
1st 3M: 25:29 2nd 3M: 25:22
I was really excited about the Firecracker 6. It just seemed like a great way to kick off 4th of July. I was scheduled to run a 6M race pace run that week so it worked out perfectly for my training. My race pace for the Chicago Marathon is 9:20. Easily doable. The night before the run I was calm. I wasn’t nervous. It was simply a training run. Bryan asked me how fast I was planning to run. His response was “Why not go for it?” I guess I could turn it into a tempo run. I ran the 4M Shamrock Run in March at a 8:31 pace and my pace the first half of the Mini Marathon was around 8:45. So why not? Why not go for it Melissa? I knew I had nothing to lose. I decided I would run an 8:30 pace. Besides it was only 2 more miles than the Shamrock Run at the same pace. My training run was now a race.
That morning Bryan was out the door by 6:30 a.m to set up for the Indypendence Day Street Fest downtown. I had 2 slices of wheat toast with yogurt butter and honey. Of course my Garmin was acting up again and it said low battery even though it was charging all night. So instead I took Bryan’s fancy triathlon Garmin. I was meeting Sam & Kizzy at the start at City Market. Sam would be running with me. Once I found them, I pounded a water and stretched. Still very calm. Unlike my usual anxious self. I guess if I figured that if I couldn’t hold 8:30, I could still slow down to race pace and be just fine.
Sam and I got into the corral near the back. Didn’t even think about all the dodging we would have to do. Did I mention how calm and relaxed I was. When the fireworks went off, I realized I had not turned on Bryan’s Garmin. Shoot! It had to load satellite and then I had to figure out how to change the mode from stroke swim to running. Good thing we got in the back of the corral because I had just enough time to put it on run mode.
I started out running with Sam. We went out fast. Our first mile was around 8:12. Whoa Melissa, pace yourself. I let Sam go on ahead of me and maintained an 8:20 pace while he was running around 8:00 pace. I didn’t want to burn out in the first few miles. The weird thing was I was completely comfortable at 8:20. I wasn’t out of breath nor felt like I was working for it. Wow, this feels new. I’m just going to go with it.
At mile 2 the course ran down Pennsylvania Street and I passed Bryan at mile 2.5 on the corner of Penn & Georgia. He, Rodney, and my old Jager boss Cathy were on the corner cheering me on. It gave me another surge of energy to keep moving. Once in Fountain Square, I felt myself starting to slow. I was around 8:50 pace. Come on Melissa, just stay under 8:59, you did it for the Mini so don’t give up now.
To get myself through miles 4 and 5, I picked out a guy in a blue singlet, wait maybe it was red, no I think it was blue. My goal was to catch him. I finally caught up to him and passed him. But then he caught me and passed me. We did a little back and forth a few times and finally I just let him go in front of me, but I kept him only a few seconds in front of me for the rest of the race.
The last mile we ran up Pennsylvania St. again. My cheering squad was in the same corner as before. It really got me moving again and I sped up to around 8:20 pace again. I shouted out to Bryan what I thought my average pace was as I ran past. I knew he would be proud of me for giving it everything.
With about a quarter mile to go in the race, people were handing out American flags to all the runners. It made the race sentimental to run the final stretch of the race and cross the finish line with the American Flag. Of course my paranoid self thought what if I tripped and poked my eye out with the stick. Haha….I worry way too much.
When I crossed the finish line I was still unsure of my finish time and pace. Since I started at the back of the corrals, I didn’t cross the start line until after a few minutes had lapsed. And even though I got Bryan’s Garmin into run mode, I did not put it into the correct run mode because I didn’t have an overall time or distance, just the pace at that moment. So naturally I was very anxious to see what my finish time and average pace were. Our group of friends met back up at the finish line and of course I had to play with Sam & Kizzy’s newborn Miles (cutest ever) and have a flavor ice (yummy). While walking over to Georgia St. to meet up with Bryan, I looked up my time 50:50 with a 8:28 pace! Woohoo!!! I was so pumped that I ran my goal of 8:30 and felt great the entire time. Now only if I can do this again but for a half marathon. Now that would be amazing.
I celebrated with a donut with Bryan and reflected on my race. I need to be running all my tempo and progression runs at this pace and faster to achieve a half marathon at this pace in the future. I can do it, I know I can. I just felt so on point today. I was relaxed, had good form, and didn’t feel like I was out of breath. My mind and my body were in sync. Finally! Now time to get ready for the Indypendence Day Street Fest!