Sunday morning came way too early for me. I did not sleep well Saturday at the hotel but I did feel rested when I finally got out of bed at 4 am. I figured there was no sense in tossing in bed any longer. My hotel room had a kitchenette in it so I got my G2 out as the coffee was brewing and had my first of two hard boiled eggs. I normally eat oatmeal with ground flaxseed prior to a race but the thought of having to clean up a mess before I left for the race didn’t appeal to me that morning so I went with the eggs. I also had ice water and the raspberry lemonade G2 and coffee. Hydration has been an issue for me since the temps have cooled off so I didn’t want it to be an issue in the race.
I had basically packed everything but my food and pajamas up prior to bed on Saturday so I found local weather on the television and watched a bit of that while I was waiting for time to leave the hotel. I took two trips down to the car prior to check out so I made sure I got everything in the car. A few walks around the massive hotel rooms that I had hardly spent any time in and I was in the car putting a location into the GPS. I was aiming to get to the parking lot near the start village.
Several other cars were already in the parking lot when I arrived. I did almost miss the lot because signs were not totally up yet. Being early or even on time does have its drawbacks. I took some more of my G2, gathered my gear bag to check (this is something I seldom do), and stretched a bit before deciding to walk up to the start village and check my gear bag. Two other women got out of their cars and we walked up – about two blocks – to the port-a-potties and gear check. The volunteers – a lot of whom I had met the day before – were moving a bit slow and gear check was not ready yet. I went to the bathroom and then hung out with Judell and Amanda. As soon as I could, I checked my gear bag and the three of us decided we would walk towards the start line – about three-tenths of a mile up the road.
The start line was right near the Sands Casino so we went into the lobby. I never run with ID on me. My ID info is on my RoadID on my shoe. We were all unsure we were going to all be able to get to the bathrooms as I didn’t have ID but the security workers were very pleasant and let us through. Amanda and Judell did have ID so I just look old enough. We walked around the casino floor as well as going to a breakfast place where the others got a bagel each. It was finally, when we got back to the lobby, starting to get light out.
More and more runners started coming into the lobby. We all were wondering if the casino was going to kick us out but nothing happened. A few people without ID were not let onto the casino floor but most could use the bathrooms with no problems. Finally, with about 45 minutes to start time, I decided I wanted to get back outside. The morning was a crisp fall morning and I wanted my body to get use to the cool air again. I also wanted to search out the 2:30 pacer as I had made a conscious decision to run this race in 2:30.
Once outside, as the three of us were all planning slightly different paces (Judell had run the 5K and 10K the day before), we hung around the 11:30 min/mile area and got a passerby – read that as another runner walking around trying to stay warm – to take a photo of us. We were unsure we would find each other after the race. Amanda was heading up to the 10 min/mile pace area and Judell and I were starting off right where we were.
I talked with Laurie, the 2:30 pacer, for a bit prior to the start. I told her up front I have never been good about running with a pacer. I also let her know I generally do a 5 minute run – 1 minute walk so would not stay with her the whole time. I wish I had and I never lost sight of her until about mile 7 I think.
I was a bit concerned about the hills on the race course. I had driven over most of the course at one point or another since arriving on Friday and didn’t think any were bad. My problem was listening to others, particularly the 5K and 10K runners on Saturday morning. Each race got a bit more hilly.
After “The Star Spangled Banner” was sung, the runners were off. The first passed fairly quickly on a street that I had driven on when first arriving in Bethlehem. I didn’t keep up with my 5 minute run – 1 minute walk ratio. I totally missed the first walk and didn’t use a full minute until mile 7. The initial uphills saw a lot of people walking but I ran up all of them unless it was a walk time. Before I knew it , I was going past the 5 mile marker and it was under an hour. Miles 5-10 seemed a bit more challenging. It took me just about one hour to run these five miles but I was at 10 miles in under two hours. The final three miles were downhill and my left hamstring was not liking it at all.
I tweeted a great shot of those in front of me at about mile 5.5. This was right before the Skirtacular Water Stop. These people had some serious encouragement going on at their stop. All the women were in running skirts.
During the awards, I spotted – and went over and thanked with a big hug – the woman who had finished but was back just past mile 11 and was very encouraging. While her words made me almost cry – never a good thing when asthma may be an issue, I do think I finished as strong as I did because of her there cheering on each runner individually.
Now that I have bored you with my memories of the weekend, let me say run this race if you get a chance. I can only imagine the festival, expo and race experience will get better as time goes on.