If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know that Ryan and I had a great race on Sunday morning in the Running of the Elk Half Marathon Relay. In fact, we won the coed division!
Since everyone likes to hear all the details, let’s start at the beginning. Race start was 8am, but we had about a 20 minute drive and still needed to get our packets, so we got up around 5am. Our friends Matt & Raechel were also running the relay, so we all drove to the race start together. We swung by the race start for the guys to pick up our race packets and once they brought back our bibs Raechel and I headed to the exchange point.
Ryan was running the first leg (7.5 miles) and I ran the second leg (5.6 miles) for our team. I don’t know much about the race start since I headed over to the exchange right away. But the exchange point was set up well with a few portopotties and a radio station and drumline for entertainment.
The actual exchange seemed a little confusing for the first few teams. I think the race organizers originally wanted relay runners to leave the main road to exchange and the second runner to return to the road. But it didn’t really happen that way. Instead, after the first runner crossed the timing mat, they just high fived the second runner and #2 continued running. I think it worked out ok since the race wasn’t very big, once a couple teams had gone through. With more runners, this may have gotten in the way of the half marathoners.
Anyway — Ryan was hoping to maintain at least a 7 min/mi pace for his leg, putting him arriving at the exchange around 53 minutes. He was actually able to cross a minute or so early, and his average pace was about 6:53. (Of course, I didn’t know exactly what his pace was until we finished). But what I did know was that he was only the third relay person across the timing mat, and the first in the coed relay! It was then my turn to keep us moving ahead!
Relay exchange is so exciting and it really pumps you up to get tagged in to run! I started the first 0.25 miles of my leg going way too fast! I guess I was just excited!!! I realized pretty quickly though and started to slow down.
Since the race was on the smaller side (around 800 half marathoners), and Ryan kept a good pace, runners in our area were very spread out. It was so strange to be running nearly alone in a race. The runners near me were also keeping a faster pace, so I was passed by a couple right away. But then it was mostly just me trying to keep up my pace and chase down the faster guys. I was only passed by one woman (first woman in the half marathon)! I also only recognized one guy who passed me as being part of the relay. So, generally I knew we were doing pretty well.
My goal was finish with an average pace of less than 8 min/mi. My estimated 10k time from McMillanRunning based on my most recent half marathon pace was a 7:52/mi, but I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to maintain that. I ended up being able to run my leg of the relay in 7:44/mi! Much better than I thought I could do! Ryan said he thought he ran about 0.05 miles too short, and I ran my leg a little long. Our overall distance according to our watches was 13.15 miles.
My splits were:
Mile 1 – 7:40 (oops, too fast!)
Mile 2 – 7:53 (that’s better — feeling more maintainable)
Mile 3 – 7:45 (finally in a rhythm — no longer thinking about pace too much)
Mile 4 – 7:47
Mile 5 – 7:52
Mile 0.7 – 7:25 min/mi
I crossed the finish line for our relay team in 1:35:20!! I was so freaking excited! I just knew we had won it! I saw Ryan right after I crossed the finish line and gave him the BIGGEST hug!
After I finished, we wandered around the finish line area for a while, and cheered on Raechel to the finish. Then we scrounged up some pancakes (best post race food!) and picked up our award once our time was official! I also found my friend Ana who raced the half. She’s currently training for her first full marathon!
Our award was this awesome Running of the Elk tile — actually we each got one, so we have two. Now we are trying to decide where to put them! Maybe on the mantle?! Gotta celebrate our victories and improved performance, right?
Now we are both on a runner’s high, and thinking of the next running race! (You can probably already tell based on all exclamation points.) We might do a 10k or 10 miler in a few weeks, and our next half marathon is in Cleveland in the middle of May. Already looking forward to it.