Friday, 5 July 2013

Independence Day and a race!

This was my second 4th of July in the US. The last time was 3 years ago when I was here for work, over a summer in Buffulo, NY. My then roommate was kind enough to take me for a wonderful day with her family! This year has been equally relaxing, so much so that I think everyday should be 4th of July.

This year the day started out early. For once I was up before the puppy, getting ready to run in the 'Born in the USA' four mile race here in Columbia. Ironic, considering I wasn't born in the USA, shhh don't tell anyone. I had a quick sip of coffee and a slice of toast as soon as I got up hoping it wouldn't upset my tummy. I changed into the nice blue race t-shirt (cotton) and a pair of red shorts (colors of the day).
Boomer the American Cocker Spaniel sporting the stars!

Everyone into the car and off we went. There were no parking instructions but we found a spot quickly enough; the start was at the back of a small shopping centre. I'd estimate that there were about 500 runners. A good turn out so early on a holiday. The line for the port-a-potties (why are they called that?) was long, there were only four. I made it just in time for the start at 7:43am.

Once we ran through a few puddles at the start, the course turned onto a large road, with one side 'coned' off for runners, with a police escort. Things weren't looking up as we pretty much started on a slight but looong hill. Once we turned off this road it was pretty much downhill. The few short hills I hit after that I ran up on my toes with my head up and powered over them. Bam. The views for most of the race were really nice as the course wound through a golf course/park with a lot of water surrounding the road. Water stations at 2 miles and a (unofficial?) one around 3. 

I took a slight risk for the race, I wore no watch and I didn't bring my phone. No music and no pacing oh oh! I didn't want to kill myself running (I'm very competitive even with myself) but I didn't want to be a slow poke either so I ran at what I consider a comfortably hard pace, oh yeah, learning to listen to my body. The lovely organizers had electronic screens at each mile so you'd know your splits. After two miles I was at 18 mins and when I seen that I thought damn your going too fast what if your legs die towards the end. I slowed down and the next mile seem to take an age. At the next marker I didn't even try work out mins/mile (and who says I'm good at math). 

The last mile just went in the blink of an eye and next thing I know I'm rounding a corner to the finish with loads left in the tank. I realized in that moment I could have pushed a lot harder throughout the race but hindsight is 20/20. I really let rip then and sprinted for the next 400m and flew across the line at a time of 35:18 (chip time 34:53). Average pace 8:50 min/mile. A good time for me and I didn't realize until afterwards I ran negative splits something I've never done yay.
There were some nice screens across the line with times for each runner scrolling along it in case you missed it crossing the line. Ample water, fruit and doughnuts were also on offer. In a rush I grabbed some water and headed home for a good wash and some food. 
 Hmmm coffee!

Race roundup: price good ($35); t-shirt great design, nicer if technical; organization good no getting lost;  water & food excellent; info parking info could have been better, splits during, results after and email with full results 3 hours afterwards excellent.

Independence Day celebrations commenced after a shower and food. We drove to Lake Murray were we'd hired a boat for the day with friends. Beers while floating in the sunshine, epic!
Yes I do make the weirdest faces in pictures!

Lots of good food was also had. I now have spectacular sunburn (despite sunscreen) on the front of my legs. But it was an amazing day!

I jiggled my miles around this week for the race. I didn't run Wednesday so I'd have fresh legs. An extra mile was run during the race on Thursday (4 instead of the scheduled 3). To make up for that I ran a wet and sore (sunburn) 4 miles tonight to even things out but it was worth it. I hope you had a great 4th of July and work didn't suck to bad today!!

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