So, the night before the race, Chris, my parents, and I all headed to Olive Garden for some pre-race pasta. I went to bed around 8, since I had to be to the bus by 4:00 a.m. I woke up every hour, thinking I had missed it. But somehow, when the alarm went off at 3:00, I felt pretty rested. Ate my oatmeal and drank some water, took some ibuprofen, and my dad dropped me off. Rode a bus for about 30 minutes up the canyon, and when we reached the top, it was completely dark and freezing. I could tell who had run it before, because they were dressed in sweats and sweatshirts, with blankets and beanies. Note to self. We sat up there for about an hour or so, and then started down the path! The first mile was super steep downhill, so I was running very fast.
I tried to pace myself a bit for the next few miles, and when I arrived at mile 5, it was still freezing so I still had on my long sleeve shirt over my tank top. One photographer told me to do something funny, and the other one was yelling that he couldn't see my bib....so this happened:
The coolest thing about this race was that it was a benefit for patients in the area who have cancer, and 100% of the entry fees went to help cover treatment for those who can't afford it. Every 200 yards or so, there were signs along the course that had a quote from someone who had cancer, or whose family member had cancer. It was such an inspiring and motivational way to keep myself going. I loved it! The first 9 miles were completely downhill, so the flat roads on miles 9-13 felt a little challenging.
Also, since it was down a canyon, the roads we ran on were curved and slanted, so the outsides of my hips got sore. It was a miracle, but the right hip I'd been having all that trouble with didn't actually hurt at all. It was a fantastic race, and I was able to run the whole thing, walking only through the water stops. When I got to the end, Chris and my parents were there to cheer me on and give me high fives, and it was just a great experience overall!
I am planning to do some speed work over the next 6-12 months, and look forward to running it again next year and beating my time!