A lovely woman dressed in a military uniform sang the National Anthem with veterans at her side holding flags. Always a moving moment. Alicia and I said goodbye until the finish line. The one wheelchair participant started first, and then everyone else 30 seconds behind. I hit mile 1 at 7:37 even though I was trying to start out at an 8 minute pace. I didn't freak and just went with it. Mile 2 was 16:22. I tried to hang behind a chatty group of about 8 or 9 older men. I didn't have my music so I figured I could be mildly entertained, if not distracted by their conversation. I started to get pretty warm in my sports bra, Uniqlo tank top, turtle neck, and Lucky T-shirt. I slipped my turtle neck off while keeping the t-shirt over it still on, not an easy feat while running. After this little stunt, I lost contact with the group of chatty men. We were running the first of many long stretches east on Broadway, one block north of the ocean. I could see the topless pylons which used to support the boardwalk. A sad sight.
I hit Mile 3 at 23:46 (I kind of wanted to stop running at this point and sit on the side of the road for a little while. This feeling stayed with me throughout the rest of the race). We turned around and ran another long stretch on West Olive heading back west. Every time we headed west, the wind was against us. I got to the 4 mile marker at 31:xx. I think the 5 mile marker was MIA. I got to 6 miles at 47:xx. This was a nice surprise, faster than my fastest 10k. I waited to hit 7 miles between 54 and 55 minutes. I didn't see it until almost 57 minutes. Odd. We headed north and then east again on the same street where I parked my car. At this point we could see the front runners running in the opposite direction on the other side of the road. I hit Mile 9 at 1:12. I knew if I wanted to beat my time of 1:20:02 I needed to hustle. No fade (which is exactly what happened last year at this point). The last quarter mile I was neck and neck with an older gentleman. A man on the sidewalk shouted to me, "You can beat him!!!" This was the little push that I needed. I saw the clock in the distance read 1:19:xx. I wanted to come in under 1:20 more than beat the guy next me. I broke away and hit the mat at 1:19:57...or so I thought.
I grabbed the juiciest red delicious apple and orange Gatorade and headed back to my car to grab my phone. I saw Tova had texted me what she was wearing. I found her and Leah, whom she met racing to the finish. Leah is also a marathoner. She's hoping to run the Marine Corps Marathon this year. I think Tova has an eye for really nice, cool, fellow runners. Not surprising since she seems to be one of the friendliest, most outgoing people I have met (another one would be my neighbor, the one who introduced us).
Tova and Leah had some interesting news. Apparently, the race was misdirected and wound up being longer than 10 miles. It was 10.118 miles to be exact. I think Tova told me to go grab my ticket over by the FLRRT van with the results. I have never seen an individual ticket given out at a race, so I'm not quite sure what she was talking about. I went to the van and saw they posted the results on the side. They had me down as finishing at 1:20:00 exactly. Um, I really thought I finished at 1:19:57. I mean, a 5 second PR sounds so much faster than a 2 second PR, at least in my head. They adjusted the pace to the true distance. My pace was 7:55. If the race had actually been 10 miles, my finish time would have been 1:19:10. A 52 second PR is even better! I finished 4th out of 32 in my age group, 16th out of 159 women, and 86th out of 384 total.
The Nun crossed the finish line a lot faster than I expected. She looked great. I was so proud of her since this was the farthest she had ever run. We are ready for Stratton-Faxon, baby!
Tova, Me, Leah
The Nun and I
*Active.com changed the name of the race to reflect the new distance.