Sweetheart Race Recap
So I finally got to run my four miler, two weeks late. I’ve been watching the weather nervously ever since a blizzard dumped 30 inches on me, my race route and all of Connecticut. I’ve actually never heard of a race being postponed; when you sign up for them, it’s always the caveat. No refunds. If something happens, whatever.
Anyway, more weather was expected yesterday, but when I got out of bed, I saw that the temperature was above 32. Thank goodness. That meant that I wouldn’t freeze out there, and it also meant that it wouldn’t be snowy or slippery on the route.
I got to the race site early because we were warned that parking was going to be a problem due to the enormous piles of snow everywhere. I was a full hour early. When I got to the registration table, they asked me if I wanted a race partner. I had read this online, that this “Sweetheart Run” is supposed to pair people up in teams, and then not only do they award prizes by individual times, but by teams. You can sign up with someone, or if you’re solo, they will try and find a partner for you.
I declined. The woman seemed shocked and told me I was the first person so far to say no. I told her I knew I was a slow runner and didn’t want to drag anyone else down with my time. She told me that we didn’t have to stay together. I told her that whoever it was that got partnered with me would be pretty upset when 52 minutes got added to their stellar time, and she stopped asking.
I figured a 13 minute pace for this course. Yeah, that’s slower than I usually do for four miles, but this race was billed as challenging with some rolling hills and one really big one. I figured if I beat my four mile trail run time I’d be fine, which was 53 something. There were lots of hills on that route too.
We finally got out to the start line and got started. The weather was chilly and damp but fortunately not raining or snowing (yet). We started out, just about 200 of us, a small group. At first I was happy, thinking maybe the worries of the “challenging” route might have been overstated. I slipped to the back of the herd and kept a happy, steady pace. Until the first hill appeared, around mile 1. It was significant, but manageable. I dropped to a walk for about twenty seconds of it and kept going.
The second mile wasn’t bad. Definitely a series of rolling hills, but I run in a neighborhood with rolling hills. The walkers had peeled off and while I was in the back, with only a few people behind me, I felt good and comfortable with my pace. I walked through the water station at mile 2, my race rule, and kept going.
They had warned us that after you made the turn onto Chapel St., you would see the monster of a hill. Just after mile 3. And they weren’t joking. It was such a steep hill, I can’t even believe they put it on a race course. Seriously. I was shocked that my RunKeeper didn’t tell me it was the most elevation climb I’ve done because it definitely felt like it was. I had to walk for nearly a full minute to get to the top and then catch my breath afterward.
There was only about half a mile left after the hill. Once I caught my breath, I really tired to push myself to the end. I actually passed a few people, which was a good feeling. It was also starting to rain, a cold damp drizzle, and I wanted to get inside and out of that as fast as possible. I was shocked as I turned the corner to the finish line and saw 49:50 on the timer. Holy crap! I wasn’t going to make it in under 50, but I was going to be just over. I ran as fast as I could and got in at 50:05. I figured 52 was a safe goal, but somewhere in the dark recesses of my brain I dared to think of a sub 50 as possible, and I was close. Very, very close. I was thrilled.
Well, until I got home and checked the race results. I knew my time perfectly because I’d seen it, and also set up my RunKeeper app at the start of the race. When I looked at the results I saw 50:46 next to my name. It is definitely wrong. I know what was on the timer as I ran through, and my RunKeeper, which I switched off well after clearing the finish, says 50:34. I came in right after someone and there was no one right behind me. I think that they must have made a mistake with the tear offs from the race bibs, and switched me with the next person in. I’m tempted to email the company about it, but I won’t, because it’s only me that cares. I know my time. It was just seconds over the 50 minute mark.
Onto the Shamrock and Roll race next weekend. I ran this one last year, and it is a nice, flat course. Really hoping to see some progress on my time there.