Normally, I wouldn't all this excited over a PR *but* getting a qualifying time for the Peachtree is a pretty big deal because you are closer to the front of the 45,000 people running the race. This is the first time I actually qualified so that adds to the excitement. I have always been right on the edge missing it by a minute or two. My last personal best for a 10k before today was 55:53 at the Peachtree last July so I shaved close to 4 minutes off that and my time at this same race last year was 57:28. YAY!
The race today was a point to point race so you park at the finish and take a shuttle to the start. It was 29 degrees when I left my house so was prepared for a chilly run. The nice thing about this race is you can kill time in the church gym while waiting for the start instead of freezing your arse off outside. A little before the start, I spotted 3 of my friends from tennis and stuck with them for the start. Three of the four were shooting for a sub-55 finish so we were trying to pace each other more or less.
The race started at 7:45 and I started the typical weave through the crowd trying to find my pace and some open space to run. I have spent so much time over the last two weeks monitoring my heart rate and trying to stay in specific zones, it was nice just to go and not focus on anything but running. I wasn't sure how my legs would do, they were feeling pretty tired from the effort in boot camp and all the other zone work this week but was hoping for the best. Once I got into the race, I didn't notice them at all.
I passed mile marker one at 8:23. Let's just pause and reflect on that - wow... I am a 9 - 9:30 girl. Another cool thing about this race is the majority of people there are trying to get a qualifying time so under the clock, there are signs that tell you what time the clock needs to say if you are trying to qualify for X time group. Surprisingly, I managed to maintain around the 8:30 pace for the entire race. I felt great for the first 5 miles and then around mile 5.5 I was starting get tired from maintaining a faster pace than normal. I did feel ready to stop at the end but was proud to be able to keep that pace for the 10k distance. I passed the 6 mile clock at exactly 50 minutes which is significant because that is the cutoff for time group 1A. (55 is the cutoff for time group 1B). Darn! A new goal... sub 50 :)
All in all, sooooo proud of my time (Can you tell?) I wonder how much of the improvement is the zone training and how much was just determination to reach that goal time of under 55 minutes? I had a great time seeing my friends get their goals as well! We were all within a couple minutes of each other on the finish. I might get friend of the day today since they parked their car at the start instead of the finish thinking there was a shuttle back to the start. ooops... the shuttles were only pre-race. Post-race, you are on your own. I became their shuttle driver which worked out perfectly and saved them from having to walk 6 miles back to their car! :)
Next stop ... Disney Princess Half!