|My sister Laurie, me, Sari, Shana|
|This dude had to be hot. It was 85 at the finish!|
Shortly after the gun went off, my fear of a solo effort were allayed when another runner engaged me in conversation.
Runner: Are you Joanna?
Runner: What are you planning on running?
Me: Hopefully 1:17.
Runner: I want to run 1:15, but let’s run together.
Me: Sounds great! What’s your name?
Runner: Taos. Like the city.
We reached the first mile in a very rapid 5:30ish and the second mile in about 5:45. Our conversation continued then.
Taos: Wow that was really fast.
Me: Don’t worry. We have to turn around and run back up this thing!
Taos: Oh, I didn’t think about that!
The only place I faltered was from mile 11 to 12. It was uphill, and my legs started to tire. Taos pulled away from me, but I decided I would use the downhill on last mile to try to catch back up, which eventually I did, until he dropped me with a few hundred meters left. Thanks for the pacing, Taos.
Rock ‘n’ Roll does a most impressive job with their races. The aid stations were well stocked, well placed, and well managed. The parking situation in the morning was seamless. I went for a post-race warm down jog on the front part of the course and witnessed the clean-up operation. Trucks were on hand to remove cones, clean up cups and wash the street. It was done methodically and quickly. All remnants of the race were gone in a flash.
The most important race feature though? Porta potties. They were everywhere. Thousands of them lined up like soldiers. No matter which way you turned, there were porta potties waiting for users, and not the usual lines of racers hopping impatiently from foot to foot looking at their watches, wondering why the person in the bathroom is taking so damn long (seriously, though, what does take so long? Reading the paper?).
And, thanks to race management, I procured some VIP bands for myself, my sister and the two other people that were with us. The VIP tent provided porta potties, a bag drop, plenty of drinks, and a fantastic post-race spread. The coffee was even tasty.
I ran a best time of 1:18.20. While this was a little off my goal pace, the course was hillier and hotter than I anticipated. The race did give me confidence for the marathon, though, and overall I am pleased with how the day unfolded.