April 20, 2009

SB Chardonnay 10 Mile Race!!

Exciting news! This past Saturday, April 18th, I ran in my first official race, the Santa Barbara Chardonnay 10-Mile Race!! Our coaches had recommended completing a smaller race before our marathons to get a feel for competitive running, so most of the team signed up and we replaced our usual Saturday training with something a little more competitive and a lot more fun! The race started at Leadbetter Beach in downtown SB and continued along the coast toward the volleyball haven of East Beach, past the zoo and cemetery, toward the Biltmore Hotel, and just into the Montecito area until the 5 mile turn-around point, and then headed back the same way.

We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day or more perfect conditions for a race. The 400-and-something runners lined up at the start, and at exactly 8am we begun! I ran with 3 other girls from the team which really helped with pacing. The first part of the race was nice and flat and therefore pretty easy. It was strange at the water stops to just grab a cup, chug it as you keep running, and then throw it down and keep going! As we passed the cemetery the course became rather hilly - but at least the hills were rolling so that after you ran up one you got to recuperate while going down another. Going from mile 4 to 5 seemed to take forever! We kept making turns and thinking the turn-around point would be just past the curve, only to find another stretch ahead of us! We reached the 5 mile point at 51 minutes, which was much sooner than I was expected. Going at my usual 12 minute per mile pace, the race should take 2 hours, so that was my goal going into it, but I was clearly quite ahead of that!I was cruising along comfortably until about mile 8. The last 2 miles were pretty tough to finish, but we managed to pull through. I can't tell you how much it helped to have someone running with you at times like that, both motivating each other to keep going. Crossing the finish line, I immediately located the clock - 1:44:18!!! That means I averaged about a 10:26 minute mile - not bad!
Afterward I collapsed in the shade and stretched out. Surprisingly it wasn't my muscles that hurt the most, but my toes! A while back one of them became bruised from running, and since I'm constantly training it never has a chance to heal - and after this race, not only did it turn blacker, but now I'm most likely going to lose the nail : ( I guess ugly feet are the sacrifices of being a runner?
Hanging out at the TNT tent post-race!

Once we had rested up Sarah and I headed out and stopped at the National Marrow Donor Program Resgistration Drive where we swabbed our cheeks and were entered into a database of potential life-savers for those in need of a transplant. What a great feeling, to know that with minimal effort I could save a life! Totally worth it : ) All in all it was a pretty fantastic day! Today I'm a bit sore, but this weekend made me so much more excited for my marathon in June!!

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