Just in time, because I raced last night!
A few weeks ago, J and I decided to run the Main Street Crit. This was the inaugural running, and it's really a unique race - at night, in downtown, 8 loops of a 1k course, with elite runners and prize money. J and I are really big supporters of Columbia's Main Street, which our mayor has/is working really hard to revitalize. We live downtown, and we both work on Main Street. We also really try to support local businesses in the area, and the pastor of our church (which is also downtown, of course) was one of the organizers for the race. There was also the Willie Nelson concert in town, so I debated which one we should do (I LOVE Willie and have never seen him live), but in the end, running and supporting Main Street won.
It was billed as an 8K, though the course ended up being short (about 4.3 mi). I actually wasn't sure I had run the correct number number of laps because my Garmin was showing me 4.29, and I was expecting 4.9ish. Turns out I did run all eight, and I ended up finishing in 35:29; J finished in 33:31. I only had 2 goals: (1) finish under 45 (I was expecting 5 miles, not 4), and (2) don't get passed by J. Done and done. I did get passed by the guy who ended up winning... twice. But overall I felt really good. I thought there was no way I could run 8:20ish pace for that long, given that I've taken about 6 weeks off-ish, but even if I had needed to run another lap, I felt like I could've kept it up, so I was very pleased.
There was also a team competition. You could sign up as many people as you wanted on each team, and the top 4 times were totalled up - lowest total time wins. The team from J's Crossfit gym took first, and the Cola Run Club took second. I actually ended up being the fourth person on the CRC team, so that was cool.
After us "regular" runners were finished, there was an elite race, with $8000 in prize money up for grabs. Holy Guacamole, those peeps are faaaaast! The top guy came in at just over 21:00, and the top girl ran just over 23:00. I also had my first celebrity runner sighting - the second place female finisher was Alissa McKaig, (look on page 32 of the January Runner's World).
Even though the course was a little short, the rest of the race was really well done. It was pretty cool to be running downtown and at night. There was a band on every corner, and because the course was confined to such a small area, there were lots of people cheering you on. It was a really fun event, and we would definitely do it again.
Next weekend is my first ever trail race, and then it will be time to start training for the Columbia Half coming up in March! Taking this downtime was the right thing to do, but I'm really glad to be running and training again.
2013 is gonna be big!