Janna's parents kindly dropped us back off at the race area and we hung around the expo before we had our seminar on the race course. We saw a line to meet someone and we found out it was for Summer Sanders! I grew up watching her game show on Nickelodeon "Figure It Out" and she's just an awesome female athlete role model. Janna and I waited in line to meet her (and ended up bringing Amy along with us after we bumped into her. So happy to have met her and her husband, Emir, again!). Meeting Summer was incredible. Before we could say anything, she introduced herself and placed one of her Olympic Gold Medals on us. I honestly teared up. I've been obsessed with the Olympics my entire life, so to be meeting an Olympian and to be wearing one of her medals was just so surreal.
|She could not have been nicer or cooler.|
Shortly after making my playlist and falling asleep, it felt like I had to be up again for the race. I had a wonky feeling stomach and was worried how the day would go. Janna and I parked at the race, found the restroom in the casino, and got ready to race. We both were going to run our own races and in the back of my head, I thought a PR might be feasible. The course wasn't nearly as hilly as I thought it would be, so I thought if I ran a smart race, I could maybe PR!
|Before the race!|
Soon enough, we were off! My game plan was to stick with the 1:45 pace group and if I felt good, I'd ditch them and go ahead. Within 2 miles, the group was far behind me and I felt good. Part of me worried that I was going too fast to start, but I knew the first half would be slower with the bigger hills then, so I just pushed at the pace that felt good. I made sure to run the tangents and race smart.
The two biggest miles were at miles 4 and 5.5 and man, they were big. The course had rolling hills for a lot of it, but those two were hard to get up. When I was finally done with the winding and long hill at mile 5.5, I started to see signs for RunningSkirts. In the course seminar, they warned us that they would be handing out free RunningSkirts around mile 6. You read that right: giving away FREE skirts. You just had to run to them, step into the skirt, then you were off! When I saw them, I thought, "Who am I to pass up a free skirt? This is going to make the rest of the race so fun!" So I ran over, stepped into the cutest skirt that I saw, and boom, I was off! It took all of 10 seconds and was so worth it!
|After the finish!|
I hit a sort of a mental low at about mile 7. I was more than halfway done, but I was worried that I had pushed too hard. I then heard the one song that I needed to hear, "Go The Distance" from the Disney Hercules movie. It's so empowering and right at that moment, the sun was shining beautiful and I honestly got choked up. I remembered how damn lucky that I am to be a runner, to get to run for fun, and for the amazing people and experiences that I've had because of running. From then on, I had a smile on my face for the rest of the race.
|All three of our races medals plus a sweet shot of my new running skirt!|
With just a few miles to go, I looked like I could continue to speed up and push for a PR. I started picking off people in front of me and kept pushing as hard as I could. Soon enough, I was pushing to the finish and was able to secure a PR with a time of 1:41:07, almost a 2.5 minute PR! I honestly didn't think it was possible, but smart racing, beautiful weather, and a great course let it happen!
I went back to Janna's car to layer back up and get into compression gear and by the time I was back, Janna had finished and had also PRed. We were two happy racing ladies! I had an absolute blast at this race weekend with Janna and I'm already so excited to participate in the races again next year!