I surprisingly connected with a co-worker at the start line. And had that awkward and unspoken "now am I committed to run with you?" moment. After having a conversation, I couldn't just walk away and lose him in the crowd. Not that I couldn't run with the guy... I'm just a loner. That's why I so enjoy the long run. I crave the time when it's just me, the pavement, my Ipod, and my Jesus. No offense, fellow runners.
Anyway, the start went fine (and I "lost" my co-worker pretty quickly). I had set my sights on a sub 2 hour race. Preferably a new PR (since that is always desirable), but given my training, I would be happy with sub 2. In order to hit that, I had to run just over a 9 min/mile pace. Very tough, especially considering that regarding the number of miles I had logged I was undertrained. I ran my first mile at 9:08. Ehhh... I thought, "This will either end really well, or really badly." I slowed a little, but still felt so good that I thought I might as well hold on and enjoy the ride. And enjoy, I did. Even when I turned the corner at mile 5ish, and was hit with a rather strong wind coming off the ocean. Yikes, but the view along the beach was spectacular! I hit some valleys-- I still am working on learning exactly when to fuel to avoid a mini-bonk. The final 3 miles were brutal. My quads were screaming; begging me to take a walk break. Fortunately, my brain didn't fail me. I figured it was quite ridiculous to put in 10 miles at just around a 9 min/mile pace and then take a walk break and let all those people pass me! I kept telling myself that if I was interested in comfort, I would've stayed at home on the couch and ate donuts. I plunged ahead, not remembering a 13.1 hurting so badly and fearing the thought of the full 26.2 in January. I ran right to a finish of 1:57:50... not a PR, but a PR for me on that day, with that training.
And that's the key: enjoy the run. Don't set the bar too high. Don't settle for easy. Give everything you have; leave nothing behind. Breathe. Oh, and make sure to park near a Starbucks, so after the race you can reward yourself for a job well done!