Spring is in the air! And I can feel summer creeping around the corner! The weather is gorgeous, and I couldn’t be happier. It is nearly impossible to be feeling down when the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the weather is warm, and its the perfect time for RUNNING. Lets talk running.
Last weekend I finally visited Becca in Nashville, TN! She is my friend from home, and she goes to Vanderbilt University (well, went, she just graduated, the lucky duck). Unfortunately for me I left the nice weather home in CT and brought the rain and clouds, but it was still a good weekend non the less. What made it even better though, was that we were running the Rock n’ Roll Country Music Half Marathon together!! I love love love the Rock n’ Roll race series races. So many people, so well organized, good music, pumped up atmosphere, its a PR breeding ground.
When I got off the plane, Becca picked me up and we went for a 3 mile shake out run and headed into downtown Nashville to the race expo to pick up our gear. And get the obligatory expo picture —->
2:03 was not our finishing time 🙂 Race morning, we woke up bright and early, ate our respective breakfasts (pb, banana, and toast for me). Of course, it was pouring rain, so donning trash bags was completely necessary.
It was a good look. So. THE RACE! I was not too sure of how it was going to go for me. I had not been training too hard, just doing normal runs, one speedwork session a week, and getting in a long run on the weekends. I have been focusing on biking and swimming also since my triathlon is fast approaching (GAH). Becca warned me that the course is super hilly, and given the fact that it was pouring, I was just looking to go in and run a good, pain free race and enjoy running through the city of Nashville with Becca. Well. You know how that goes. Your in the race, heat of the moment, adrenaline pumping, crazy runners sweating and spitting all around you, all plans for the race fly out the window. Oh, it was on.
Becca took off speedy at the start, and I was worried I wasnt going to be able to keep up with her for long. Our second mile was 7:37!! She glanced at her watch and goes “oh wow, that was really fast” and me huffing and puffing “Yeah… we really should slow down”. Mile 3 comes along, and I spot the 1:45 pacer! We had plans to find him at the beginning and run with him, but those plans kind of died and washed away in the downpour. By now the rain had lightened up, and I honestly dont even remember realizing it was still raining. My eyes were glued to that pacer sign and I was off. I lost Becca somewhere between miles 3 and 4, and stuck with the pacer group for a good distance. Around mile 6 or 7, I started fading, and thought I would have to drop back from the pacer group. But I did not let myself. And thank god I didnt. Racing really is a true test of what your body is capable of. Mind over matter. The Gu that I took at mile 6 finally kicked in, and at mile 9 it was like someone lit a fire under my butt. I was off! Seeee ya pacer group!
I flew through the last 3 miles, and when I glanced at my watch and noticed that I might actually have a chance of coming in under 1:40, that spark was struck even more. I channeled my inner voice and my idol bloggers and their speedy times, and basically sprinted the last mile, in order to come in under 1:40. My final finishing time: 1:39:00. ON THE DOT.
I am still in shock. 7:34 min pace!! Who am I?? Where did this come from? 19th in my division and 95th female finisher. Wooooo. I attribute this speedster in me to once a week speedwork, more cross training (swimming and biking), and more frequent leg weight lifting. I try to do legs about once or twice a week, and I really felt a difference skiing this winter and I think it is making my legs a lot stronger, so I was able to fly over those hills. And hopefully all of this strength training is preventing injury!
Becca did great and finished around 1:46. It was pouring at the end of the race and we were freezing, but so happy for our PR’s. This view is supposed to be the best view of the city of Nashville, when it is sunny I suppose. Oh well. Next time Nashville!
And the adventures did not stop with my flight home! Cleo was awaiting for me and we had a fun date night in Boston 🙂 Walked around the seaport and enjoyed the beautiful evening, and strolled on down to the North End to pick which restaurant would supply our hearty Italian feast. It was a difficult choice. So many options! If I lived in the North End, I would make it my life goal to eat at each and every one of those cute little Italian restaurants. I would be a big girl.
We finally settled on one called Florentine Cafe. I highly recommend it! The gorgeous flower boxes and the windows open like doors to the streets caught our attention, with cute little tables all mushed together all European like. We ordered martinis, and were served with delicious warm bread and oil for dipping. Oh how I love Italian dinners. My gorgeous date and her meal:
Cleo ordered some amazing, creamy tortellini dish and I had some spicy noodle dish with shrimps, mussels, and lobster tail. Yummm. And of course, no trip to the North End is complete without the purchase of a mouth watering cannoli from Mike’s Patries. I was too full to eat this baby, but have been nibbling on it for dessert over the course of the week.
In other news, I have had some great runs this week! I took Monday off to rest the legs after the half marathon, but Tuesday I did 2 miles after swimming (Triathlon training!) and then 5 with Sarah, and Wednesday Jen and I had a great and steamy (it was almost 80 degrees!) 8 mile run, complete with many hills including Horsebarn. My legs are sore and exhausted, but I managed to get in 4 miles this morning, since its my last run before my wisdom teeth surgery tomorrow 😦 I am kind of looking forward to a weekend of relaxation and being a bum. And attempting to study… since… oh, ya, next week is finals week and all.
Another honorary mention… today marks my LAST DAY EVER OF COLLEGE CLASSES. EVER. Wow. 4 years gone by just like that! I will probably do a long post after graduation with a ton of reminiscing. But it has been some of the best, most rewarding, life enhancing, empowering, and inspiring four years of my life. I have done so many amazing things and met so many people who I love and treasure so much today. I am so thankful for everything that has happened to me! Off to give one final presentation…. LAST CLASS EVER. WOOHOOO. I am a tad excited. See ya when I have no wisdom teeth!