First off, happy Marathon Monday! I hope everyone running the Boston Marathon today has an amazing time, despite the forecasted rainy weather. It is still the best marathon I have ever had the opportunity to run and would definitely like to run again someday.
Local races can be some of the most fun, as well as some of the most surprising. I signed up for a 4 mile race, Ryan’s Run, which supports a scholarship fund for a former University of Tampa cross country and track runner who was killed 6 years ago. The university really rallies around the cause, which is an amazing thing to see.
The race started and finished in Ybor City, which is only 10 minutes or so from where we live. Over 400 people signed up for the race, including many people running the 4×1 mile relay and the 2×2 mile relay. We all started the race together, so pacing was somewhat tough. With runners only running 1 to 2 miles, they really went out fast I had no goal going into the race, other than knowing I wanted to push myself a bit. I haven’t ever run a 4 mile race. The only thing I could really relate this to was a 5k race, so I pretty much treated it as such.
Grant, Marcus, my dad, as well as two of our best friends, Chris and Allison came to the race too. Instead of running, they all opted for the 2 mile walk. They all completed their two miles while I was running my 4 miles.
The first mile went by crazy fast, and I crossed through around the 6:30 mark. I haven’t seen a mile in the 6’s for years and years, so I did get a little bit nervous. I didn’t think I’d be able to hold on to that pace for a heck of a lot longer. I was definitely right! Mile 2 creeped up fast as well, and when I looked down at my watch, I saw 6:57, which was much more in my comfort zone. Right after the 2 mile mark, I really started to feel the heat. The humidity is back in full force now in Florida, and the feels like temperature was well into the 80’s by then. It was a mental struggle for sure!
Mile 2-3 absolutely dragged on, and I really wanted to be done. Treating the race as a 5k came back to bite me here – because well, it wasn’t a 5k. That extra mile really made a difference! There were a couple of little out and backs on the course, so I was able to see the other runners coming up behind me. I knew I had to keep up my current pace if I wasn’t going to get passed on the last half a mile or so.
I was able to get through the last part of the race without being passed, and good thing! One of the race volunteers came up to me as soon as I finished to get my name, age and time. I won the race!
I’m sure you are thinking I should have known that I was the first one to cross the line well before I actually did. With the relay race, there were a couple of other women who crossed first, and I really wasn’t sure which runner was running which race. I honestly thought I had come in 2nd, which was amazing too. But hey – 1st place is even better!
There was a great after party at a bar right down the street from the start and finish line. There was a decent breakfast, live band, and beer – lots of beer! I’ve never been one for post race beers, but there were plenty of people who were!
Not too long after we finished eating, the awards ceremony started. I was called as the overall female winner and went to grab my award. Grant was nice enough to assist me with getting my award, and he did an amazing job! Batons were given out as the top prizes. The person who the run is in memory of, Ryan, was on the relay team when he ran for the University of Tampa. This is definitely one of the coolest awards I’ve ever received from a race!
The race was a great way to start the weekend and I really enjoyed running a distance I am not usually accustomed to racing. Thanks for a great race – I’ll be sure to be back next year!