As soon as we crossed the start line, I settled into a 7:35ish pace, watching the 1:40 pacers moving away. "Dont worry about them. Run your race" I listened to my breath, counting my steps. My run buddy John gave me a tip a few weeks ago. Find your pace and then count your steps and add a mantra. Whatever comes to your head. He jokes that many times it's something silly like "1,2,3,4, taco bell" the thought of that made me smile and centered me. I used to panic at the start of races, feeling the pace is too hard and I won't be able to sustain it. This time i knew I was holding back a hair so I could turn it up at the end.
About 1.5 miles in I said hi to @cfloryfit knowing she would be way ahead of me as the race went on. Shortly after that I hit a pothole and almost fell. Everyone around me gasped "whoa you ok?!" And I somehow saved myself from an epic wipeout. "Yeah," i replied, grateful I was only shaken. I kept seeing my buddy Troy ahead of me. At mile 3, heading into a gusty wind and up a bridge, I checked on him. "Doing good?" He replied, "I'm a little tired" Come to think of it, I was a little tired already too. And we had 10 to go. No.
Dont go there. "Relax into it" I offered, really to myself too. Heart up, relax. You got this. This is your day.
4 miles there was a hairpin turn and we could see the people ahead of us. The 1:40 pacers were still ahead. I looked for friends but didn't see them. I was feeling a tiny bit discouraged by being behind the 1:40 pacers. "They're going fast, aren't they?" I asked a bearded fellow who was running beside me. "Yeah," he replied.
Mile 5 we entered a beautiful park. I started to get a side stitch. "No. Not today" I felt a little streak of panic. I took a Gu, praying it wouldn't make it worse. The trees overhead were beautiful. I noticed a leaf falling to the ground, catching the light. I reminded myself to be grateful for the beauty surrounding me. When the sun glared in my eyes and I cursed myself for forgetting sunglasses, I was grateful it wasn't raining. To be continued... (just one more I promise) 🤣