In the days leading up to Mystic, the weather forecast consistently called for thunderstorms the morning of the race (same thing happened in the lead-up to Providence, funnily enough). I laid out multiple sets of clothing the night before the race, figuring I would be prepared no matter how the weather turned out.
Thankfully, we woke up to a beautiful cool and clear morning. I ended up wearing a long-sleeve shirt and shorts, and was comfortable through the race.
My husband and I arrived early, with plenty of time to pick up my bib and t-shirt -- while waiting in that line, I actually met and caught up with a friend I haven't seen since UConn graduation!
Another friend of mine was running her first 10K ever, and we had agreed to meet up at the start line and run together. I asked how she was feeling, and what pace she would like to be setting -- she said that she would be happy with a 9:00-9:30 minute per mile pace, and so we settled in in front of the 2:00 marathon pace signs.
The race is capped at about 2,000 total entrants and so while the start "corral" was a little packed the crowds opened up quickly once the start gun went off.
My friend and I laid out an 8:55 on our first mile, and when I checked in on how she was feeling the response was a smile and a big thumbs up. We locked into that pace and powered through the course, passing plenty of people on the hills (to their easily apparent dismay).
Mystic holds a special place in my heart. Not only is it the site of my first half marathon, it's also the town in which my grandfather lived, and as we passed through the downtown I told my friend about "therapy" at Anthony J's (a code name for getting together with friends and family at the bar on Thursday nights -- a tradition that is still observed, though not as frequently), and was able to point out a few other landmarks.
The highlight of the race is, of course, running across the drawbridge on foot. The bridge is lined on either side by spectators with signs and cowbells, and it's a great boost so early in the race.
After the bridge, the course moved towards the outskirts of town. With Mystic being such a small town, and the small entrant pool, there weren't too many people around. Great news if you want some open space to stretch your legs. Not so great if you are a runner who relies on the presence of other people for motivation.
There were a few rolling hills towards the end of the course, on which my friend and I continued to pass other runners with ease. We rounded the corner towards the finish straight, and I caught my friend's attention. I yelled "Come on!" and pointed to the finish arch, picking up my pace. She laughed and matched me, and we sprinted to the end, finishing in a dead heat. I actually passed two other women on the finish straight by running between them. A review of finish line photos showed their thunderous expressions in a humorous comparison to my idiotic grin.
I ended up finishing 10th in my age group with a time of 55:53 (a perfect 9:00 pace). I was incredibly proud of my friend, who has since gone on and run another 10K!
The part that everyone wants to know about is, of course, the medal. And this is, hands down, my favorite medal to date.
And now, onto the reason I dropped down to the 10K...
I was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau, Delta Mu chapter! STT is an international nursing honors society, and I was incredibly honored to have been invited to join. Since I received an associate degree in nursing, I was previously ineligible for induction into STT, so being asked to join while pursuing my master's degree was an even more incredible feeling.
Because the day wasn't busy enough, my husband and I then went to see Avengers: Infinity War in theaters, and we loved it. We are unapologetically nerdy (our dog is named Marvel), so of course we were going to enjoy this film no matter what, but we weren't prepared for just how good it ended up being.
And with all of that accomplished, we were ready to kick off Summer and welcome triathlon training and competitions back into our lives! More on that in my next post, I promise.