We ran through the whole first mile, but it was tough to keep that pace whenever we turned back up Poydras because we were heading towards the sun. I forgot to grab my sunglasses, so that wasn't fun. I was surprised when my Garmin told me we finished that first mile in 10:04 minutes. What?! That is the fastest we have gone in forever!
Unfortunately most of the race after that point continued to be a struggle for me. I think that all of the cups of water I had before the start wasn't enough to make up for my lack of water during the earlier parts of the day.
Lack of water + not running consistently = bad race day performance.
Not long after the start of our second loop, we were passed by an older woman. I can't really remember what lead to it, but she made a comment about not looking like a runner. Matt responded to her that she looked like a runner to him, and a running friendship started. From that moment, every time we passed each other, words of encouragement were exchanged between us.
Matt told our new running friend that she was a big help in keeping us motivated, but he expected her to finish before us. Not long after that she started to run again, and that was the last we saw of her during the race.
I started to feel a little dizzy towards the end of the race. We had less than one mile to go at this point, but I needed to walk for a bit longer than I planned.
Eventually we turned back onto South Rampart for the last time, and I was starting to feel better. Some other runners passed us and gave us encouragement that we were almost finished. This made me want to start running right away, but I was nervous and wanted to hold back a little longer in order to run across the finish line.
When the line was in sight, Matt and I decided on a good point to start running. As soon as I picked up speed, I realized that something was different about that time. Something in my body just seemed to click. From that moment until we crossed the finish line, I felt amazing. I felt sleek, light, and fast. I felt like a runner. My stride was strong and smooth. In that moment I remembered why I fell in love with running. It was like my head cleared and the running angels sang. I finished the race determined to find that place again soon.
As we were crossing the finish line I noticed a woman in a pink shirt standing there cheering us on. It was our newest friend. She was there holding her hands out to us for high-fives, so of course, we headed over to her right away. After some exchanged congratulations, she offered to "buy" us a beer. After all of that we finally got around to introducing ourselves, and then we went our separate ways.
Seeing that this is a small race, we were bound to run into our friend, Jackie, again. When we did, we made sure to grab a quick picture. She also let us know that it was Matt's encouraging words that lead her to such a quick finish. She was such a nice woman, and I'm glad that we met. Hopefully we will run into each other again in the future.
We didn't stick around much longer because we had a date with some delicious pizza.
This race was not my best, but it definitely wasn't my worst. I went into the race a nervous mess but finished feeling better than before I started. Matt and I made a friend along the way along with memories that will live with me forever. Thank you, rain, for staying away that afternoon.
P.S. Running, I miss you, and we will meet again real soon.