Monday, September 3, 2007

Hills....Oh how I love thee!

Saguaro National Park was the host for my Labor Day road race this year. One interesting fact; This Labor Day race is the only race in the country that is allowed in a national park. This was the 38th running of the Saguaro Labor Day 8 Miler!!
I went into the run without any expectations, other than to finish. This would be a good start to my training program, so with that in mind, I really just wanted to go out there and have some fun. After looking at the course profile online, I realized that this course had a few hills. A few hills, meaning there was a hill that came with every mile!! I was happy that they didn't put out timers along the course, and with no stopwatch, I would be unable to tell my pace. I simply went out at a comfortable pace and really focused on my breath work.
The race started at 6:30am to try and avoid the desert sun but almost instantly, the heat became a factor. The hills came and went and my pace remained strong. As I approached the 3.5 mile mark, I could hear a few veterans of the run make comments on the upcoming hill. Surprisingly enough, I began to pass quite a few runners along the 1.5 mile hill. This particular hill was tricky because just when you thought you had reached the top, you turn a corner to find you are only 3/4's of the way up. Once this hill was complete, a quick gasp for air brings you to another climb. I continued onward and finished the 8 miles in 1:02:15 finishing 85th out of 570 runners. I did better than I thought and was happy with the 7:45 minute pace. I guess I am in better shape than I thought i was in and I could say that came with the large amount of hills I need to walk up on a daily basis. Overall great day and another race under my belt!!

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