There is a time to race and there is a time to have fun. Last Chance is a race to do both. I don't know why, but I love this race. It's so simple. Pick a distance and run it on a one mile loop over and over again. I've had some very good runs at this race. And have set new PRs along the way. I've run this race both as an individual and as part of a relay team. This year I ran it as part of a marathon relay team with my dad.
The original plan was that I would start the race and run the first 13.2 (the race starts 0.2 miles before the start/finish line) and dad would run the last 13 miles. He had mentioned for the last several weeks that his training wasn't going so well and he wasn't sure if he'd be able to run his 13 miles. I told him that was okay because I could pick up more miles if he needed me to. Well, that was the plan until I fell and hurt my buns this week. I didn't know if I was going to be able to run the race at all, let alone pick up any more miles. When I was cleared by the doctor and told Dad the race was on, I think there was a little bit of him that was disappointed. I'm not sure he wanted to do it.
We got to the race site plenty early but with a gazillion trips to the bathroom later and chatting with friends, we somehow made it into the starting area with only a three seconds remaining. The start was slow and for the first time ever I was the one getting passed at the start. My buns quickly warmed up and I was rolling along around an 8:30 pace. I had hoped to be about a minute faster per mile today but with my pain it felt like my left leg was dragging and each left-hand turn hurt. Since the course was a one mile loop turning counterclockwise, it was all left-hand turns. Around the two mile point I picked up a fellow runner friend, Christine, and we ran together for the next 4 miles. She was running the 10K so when she finished I was on my own again for another couple of miles. Then around the 8 mile point I started running with my friend Helen. She's one of our "Boston Bitches" club (self-named, of course). I haven't seen her since Boston 2009 so it was fun to catch up.
We ran together until about mile 11 and then I was on my own for the last two miles. Finally I reached my handoff point and gave the chip to my dad. I had completed my 13.2 in 1:51. Slow for my standards, but acceptable for the level of discomfort I was in.
Just a few miles into Dad's portion of the race, I realized he was struggling. He was slowing down with each lap and kept asking?/joking? if he could stop. After 8 miles he came by, stopped, and said he was done. We were done. We had finished 21 miles and he was willing to take a DNF. I was not. I did not put myself through all the discomfort to stop 5 miles from the finish of our race. Luckily I was still wearing my running clothes. I ripped the chip off his ankle, took off my coat, and got going.
Dave was willing to help out too. He had run the 10K (read his race report here) and was willing to do a few more miles. I told him to go change. I would run 2 miles, would hand off to him for 2 miles, and then I would do the last mile. I deserved that last mile.
My next two miles fell right in line with my first 13+. I was strolling along in the 8:15 to 8:30 area and handed off to Dave. He boosted us by turning in 2 miles at a 7:30 (um, when did he get fast?) and I finished the race with my fastest mile of the day for me: 8:09. Our marathon relay finished in 3:45:24 for 10th place in the relay division. It wasn't easy. It wasn't pretty. But somehow I managed to run 16.2 miles with a bruised butt and a full heart.