Our first race of 2011 was AWESOME! A bunch of Tom's family, including parents, 3 siblings, and 6 nieces and nephews made the long trek to sunny southern Utah for the race. And everyone participated, as official racers or race bandits.
The course was new this year. It had to be changed because of trail construction and then again because of trail destruction, but the finish product was a nice fast course on mostly paved bike trails along the Virgin River.
Besides running with many of Tom's family, we also got to run with our best friends. I love that we have so many running buddies. It made for a fun race as we both tried to and succeeded in beating some of our best competition. And of course the fun of cheering in and celebrating with all our peeps.
Tom set a new half-marathon pr on the fast course with a smoking time of 1:24:28. He led the pack of family and friends.
I was ecstatic with my perforamnce as well. I ran close to a pr with 1:41:54 and to top it off, I beat one of my best friends, Renee.
Less than a year ago, I could beat Renee while I was 7 months pregnant. Since then she has become amazing! She has gone through some tough times, but has come out a stronger woman in all ways. I look up to her and admire her for her dedication to life and just her amazing personality. Besides, raising 4 kids on her own, she is training for Ironman St George, she qualified for the Boston marathon, and she is just super fast. And that is why I was so excited to beat her. And I do have to qualify this victory with the fact that she had a tough week and had to work all night the night before the race. But I'll take it any way I can get it, and with her speed and determination this is probably the only time I'll get it.
I started the race with Renee and another fast friend Aimee. I knew they both were probably going to run faster then I wanted to, but I thought I'd stick with them as long as I could, which turned out to be only 3 miles. My goal going into the race was to run between 1:40 and 1:45. We were right on pace for the first 3 and then these girls started to pick up the pace. I figured it was time to give up to them and to just run my own race.
My pace was pretty consistent the whole race and it just felt good. I didn't see hide nor hair of my peeps until mile 11 when I spied Renee a few hundred yards ahead of me on a switchback. I was ecstatic. I could tell she was starting to slow and I found my second wind. I even tried to warn her of my coming on the switchback, but luckily for me she didn't hear me with her ipod on.
I really turned on the heat for the last 2 miles and finally, with less than a quarter mile, I caught her. I smacked her bum and urged her to try to outkick me. I didn't look back but seriously sprinted like it was for my life. Tom's yells and Aimee's (who had long finished) encouragement gave me the little umph I needed. Renee probably would have caught me if she hadn't slowed to counter Aimee's yells with a little friendly banter.
As soon as I crossed I turned to embrace Renee as she sprinted in. We continued to cheer all of our peeps in and congratulate those who kicked our trash.
Another awesome running peep is Marilyn. Marilyn is 72 and still running strong. She is amazing and I only dare to hope I am as fit as she is when I am her age. She is truly an inspiration to all of us.
It was a great day for a great race. I love our running friends and the comaraderie we all share with our passion for running.Can't wait for the next race.