I didn't get a chance to write up my goals for this race so you'll just have to take my word for it when I tell you I did what I wanted to do.
We did NOT get there as early as I wanted to--again--so we scrambled for the kids race--again--with Chewie and LightRunner lining up just in time. It was LightRunner's first race and he loved it! He ran the 200 meters with Daddy while Chewie ran ahead. He even fell at the finish line, got up, and kept on running. It was awesome.
SkyWalker, the Princess and I ran the 1 mile kids race next. The Princess started out WAY too fast and had to walk a few times. But she was motivated by her friends so she didn't give up. She only held my hand a few times. We finished in 10:37 and it took 12 minutes last year. SkyWalker ran ahead of us and even though he walked a few times he finished in 9:30 which was a PR for him too!
The 1 mile wound up being the perfect warmup for my 5K race. My A-goal race is in a couple of weeks so I was looking at this race as a tune-up where am I now type of race. Which was what I did last year too. But this year I took a step back and tried to think more logically. I've done this race a few times now and I always compare it to the other races I do when I think of my goals--but this isn't like the other races I do. This is a trail race not a road race. There's a narrower path to navigate, sticks, roots, trees, sand, mud, etc. I can't be disappointed if I don't break my overall PR because I'm running under vastly different conditions. I haven't even run the trail since the last race I did there in November. I looked back at all the times I've run this particular race and my fastest time was 28:26 a couple of years ago. So I set out to beat 28:26. I also wanted to run negative splits. Those were my only two goals (besides running happy and enjoying it).
I was warmed up but I lined up at the back end of the race to try to avoid going out too fast. It worked great. Almost too great--I started to fear that I'd never get around everyone else. But instead of starting out with a 7-8 minute pace and getting slower and slower, I started out with a 10 minute pace and got faster and faster. I passed people, weaving around them, and felt in control. According to my watch I hit the first mile at 9:08 which was exactly what I wanted, but as it happens EVERY SINGLE YEAR, the clock said something different: 9:18. It always happens at that first mile. I sped up a bit but tried to control it so I could run faster in the third mile. My watch and the clock were pretty close for the second mile (9:00 and 8:59). I really really wanted that last mile to be my fastest but the last mile is when the sand and the mud hit and it just didn't happen. Glancing at most of the other runner's splits though shows the same thing. A few runners managed negative splits but most did not. I did the last mile in 9:15. But I did it with a smile on my face and crossed the finish line at 28:19. I beat my Course PR of 28:26, last year's time of 28:32, and last November's Celebrate Women race time of 29:37.
I'm pretty happy with the results but now I'm going to focus on my next challenge: my A-goal 5K race in 18 days. And the half marathon in 33 days!