5:45 AM, alarm goes off. I whack the snooze button (which was the plan when I set the alarm) to buy myself 10 more minutes. Whoever decided that races need to start at 7:30 must be that really annoying over-achiever who's like "I'm gonna run 20 miles before work, then take the kids swimming afterwards, then work on my racing scrapbook before I go to bed." Then there's me, who hasn't seen pre-dawn hours since Alexis was 3 months old, and gets really annoyed if asked to do anything before getting to watch Dr. Phil and downing a mug of coffee.
My tummy felt a little off. Was I actually nervous? Yup. This wasn't part of the plan, so I tentatively ate half a bowl of cheerios and took a few sips of some coffee/energy beverage Zac left in the fridge. I just didn't have an appetite for a big meal or real coffee. I figured that ribeye sandwiches (with arugula, roasted red pepper, and brie) the night before would have provided me with sufficient calories anyway.
I got to downtown Greer with 30 minutes to get my chip, hit the restrooms, and warm up. This was a pretty small race so I had more than enough time and didn't feel rushed at all, which is good because I was still kind of waking up.
Gun goes off late and without warning, and we were off. I'd put into practice what I've learned in previous races and decided to start out right up near the front. This saved me from having to go out hard to get out of the bottleneck that occurs at the beginning of almost any race. I hit "play" on my iPod but forgot to start my watch until about 30 seconds into the race. Whoops.
Miles 1-6 were really easy. I'd checked the elevation chart for the course and thought we'd be encountering some tough rolling hills, but all the inclines and declines were really gradual. But I couldn't help but think of the irony of holding an "Earth Day" run that goes by an airport. Hello jet fuel.
At some point during the race my earbuds started crapping out on me and I had to fiddle with them in the little armpouch I was wearing. My car key fell out, and a fellow runner was kind enough to scoop it up and slow down to hand it back to me. Thank you, fellow runner!
Back to the race- miles 7-11 were mostly uphill, but again, with very low (maybe 1%) grades. My competitive streak kind of kicked in when I heard other runners huffing and puffing and starting to try to speed up. I was feeling great so I just kicked it up a gear. I'm like that on the highway too, sometimes. I'm just not a fan of being passed.
Before I knew it, we were at mile 12. I was kind of surprised. I still have a lot of songs on my playlist I hadn't gotten to listen to yet! So I skipped forward to Green Day's "21 Guns" which powered me through the last mile. I almost got emotional, thinking about how lucky I am to have such a strong, healthy baby and to be strong and healthy enough myself to go out and do a half-marathon.
I crossed the finish line in about 1:45, and I'll find out my official chip time by the end of today. I was REALLY surprised by this. I think it was the ribeye and brie. Training may have had a hand in today's result too, but I think good food is a MUST. (NY-style pizza tonight, by the way. Oh, and BEER. Lots of beer.)