It has been awhile since I last posted!
After the Rock n Roll half in 2016, I cut back on running. Then in 2017, I got married, got pregnant, and stopped running completely. I gave birth to a beautiful baby in 2018 and tried to start back, but it was hard to find time. So I didn’t manage to get back into it until summer 2021. After I had stuck with it for six months and was starting to get more stamina, I decided I needed to sign up for a race to keep my motivation up, so I chose the Dairy Dash because it was familiar, flat and about four months away, which was the time period I was looking for.
My training was going pretty well until the beginning of March, when an SUV slammed into the side of my car. I was okay, just really bruised, but a took a couple weeks off from running because I was so sore, and I lost fitness really fast. So I did not have high hopes for this race and felt a little disheartened and not excited about it at all.
My original goal (before the accident) was to run it in under 35 minutes. My training had put me on pace for around 11 minute miles, maybe a little faster; not nearly the pace I was running 6-7 years ago, but decent enough for the progress I had been making. However, after the accident, I was struggling to run 12 minute miles and couldn’t even make 2 miles without walking, so my goal for the race changed to try to run for at least two miles before walking and I threw out any time goals.
I had set my alarm for 6am, but my cats woke me at 4am and my kid woke me at 5am, so I was already awake when the alarm went off. It was chilly that morning, so I had decided to wear a long sleeved shirt with leggings. I actually wore the race shirt I had picked up the day before at packet pickup, which I never do, but it was a little looser than my other long sleeve tops and I wanted the airflow. I ate half a bagel with cream cheese and headed out.
I remembered the race being pretty well marked with signs, so I didn’t pay too much attention to the email on where to park. However, when I arrived in Metrocenter, I didn’t see any signs. I turned down a road and then another and suddenly saw a crowd of people running toward my car. I had accidentally turned onto the race route and the one mile run had started! I quickly did a U-turn, doubled back, then pulled into a parking lot to actually read the email. I finally found parking, then headed into the crowd to find my sister-in-law, Stefanie, and her friend Jenn, who were also running.
I had grabbed their packets the day before as well, so I delivered their shirts and bibs. Once we were all ready, we joined the crowd at the start line, choosing a spot in the middle. Soon we were off.
Mile 1: 11:09
My goal in the beginning was to just try to find a good pace that didn’t feel strenuous. I got into a pretty good groove pretty quickly, once I got around the walkers that had started too close to the front. I checked my watch around half a mile in and I was pacing around 11:10/mi. I thought maybe that was a bit too fast just based on how the last couple weeks had gone, but I was feeling good, so I didn’t slow down.
Mile 2: 10:57
Soon after the start of the second mile, there is a turnaround point. I kept an eye out and waved to Stefanie and Jenn when I ran by them. They were running together and a couple minutes behind me at that point. I continued on. I knew there was a water stop around the end of the second mile, so my plan was to try to make it to the water stop before walking, although I still was feeling pretty good. I was starting to get a little hot in my long sleeves, so I pushed them up my arms. I marveled at the folks running in full winter gear; I get extremely hot when I run. It was in the mid-40s, which is my deciding line between long sleeves and short sleeves depending on how sunny it is.
Soon I could see the water stop in the distance. I ran to it without issue, grabbed a cup, took a few walking steps while I sipped, then immediately started running again. I was feeling good.
Mile 3: 10:56
After the water stop, there was another turnaround point. When I got to the water stop again, I considered getting more water, but decided I didn’t need it and continued on without stopping. Again, I kept an eye out for Stephanie and Jenn. They had slowed a bit, but I found them around seven minutes behind me and waved. As I neared the turn that would head to the finish line, I checked my watch again and was pleasantly surprised to see I was running under 11 min/mi. I passed the mile 9 marker for the 15k, so I knew I had 0.3 mi to go. I kept watching for the mile 6 marker for the 10k, but never saw one.
Final 0.1 (0.17 to my Garmin): 1:44 (10:06 pace)
The finish line was right in front of me at this point. I had paced pretty well, so I didn’t have a ton of kick, but I pushed with what I had and crossed the finish line.
Official Time: 34:36
I stopped my watch, accepted the finishers medal, and grabbed a water. Then I checked my time. I was amazed! I had done it in less than 35 minutes after all and without any walk breaks! I could not have been more elated.
I waited for Stephanie and Jenn to finish as well, cheering them on as they neared the end.
This race is always well organized. The tech shirt was nice, and I always appreciate a medal! The best part is the food afterwards. They provided mac and cheese, doughnuts, bananas, a variety of ice cream, water, chocolate milk, and more. It was too cold for me for ice cream this year, so I just opted for a doughnut and chocolate milk. Yum!
My only complaint this year was the parking signage, as it was non-existent, and I’m a little concerned that they let me drive down the route after a race had started, haha.
Overall, a good race for my first one in nearly six years!