If you just want to skip the drawn out story my splits were:
1st mile - 9:15, 2nd mile 9:25, 3rd mile ? (didn't see the sign), Finish 28:43
Happy anniversary to me! It's been one year since I ran my first race and it was fun to celebrate by running the same race again. We had a bit of a hectic start but it ended up being a really fun day. The thing I love most about this race is that it starts at 3:00 pm so there are no early morning drives to get anywhere. We did push things a little too close for my comfort by not getting to the zoo until after 2:30 (I still had to pick up race packets) but even that proved to be no problem because they pushed back the start time to 3:15 - there was a long line of cars trying to still get into the zoo at 3:00. So we had enough time for me to get our stuff, stand in line for the bathrooms, and calm down from being frantic about being late.
There was some confusion at the start area because they have two groups of people that run this race - those that do it for time and those that just stroll through it. They try to separate the crowds into two starts but there's always mass confusion. And even within the chipped runners you have a mix of slow people towards the start of the line. But I just had fun with it and snaked between people. This is supposed to be a fun run so there's no use getting upset that there's a family of 4 strolling in front of you and taking up the whole trail...
I totally forgot that the first mile was mostly uphill. It's not a huge change in elevation by any means but it's still a drawn out climb. I was getting winded before the first mile but knew that soon I'd be hitting a downhill. I hit the first mile in 9:15 and was surprised I got through the crowd that quickly.
The second mile was as expected. Lots of hills. I just tucked my head down and ran. I started to get a cramp in my side and was feeling tired but once again knew that the last mile was a lot easier. Just after the 2 mile mark (clocked at 18:40) I stopped for a few seconds and drank a bit of water. This actually helped my cramp and I didn't feel it anymore. I just focused on my music at that point rather than the fact that I felt exhausted. I enjoyed the downhills and the knowledge of how close I was to finishing.
I got to those darn Meercats and really felt at the end of my rope. I took a 10 second break and then got back into running. At this point there was a man next to me singing out loud to his tunes. So very annoying. I didn't see the 3 mile marker but I'm sure I hit it between 27:50 and 28:00.
This last curve really is an insult. Sure it's less than 400 meters but it seems so freakin' long.
Somehow though I picked up the pace and made it through the finish line and clicked my watch at 28:46. I remembered to give myself a few seconds before getting my chip undone - I've about fallen over before as I try to stand still on one leg after finishing a race. The crappy part was that they had all the Vitamin Water bottles far away from the finish line. Thankfully it was in the direction I had to go to get back to my husband and kids but I kept thinking, "where's the freakin' water!"
I had to backtrack quite a while before I found my family. They were just getting to the 2 mile mark. I was able to use one short cut which helped. It was a bit funny walking in the opposite direction of everyone. Last year I was a bit insulted by people doing this so I hope I didn't tick anyone off. M had some problems in the early part of the race with my son not wanting to walk (but instead be carried) so it took him far longer than he anticipated to get through the 5k. We switched parental duties and he ran the last 2k and I walked with the kids.
It was a lot of fun to walk the 5k. I finally got to see the sites around me rather than just watching out so I didn't trip over anyone. We stopped at a couple of places to look at the animals and this was when I finally got some pictures. Also my race was over and I no longer had to worry about "making my time" so I could relax and have fun. M finished and took a short cut back to us again (close to those Meercats) and we finished up the race. Though I made us cut through that last .12 mile. I was not going to do that again.
Afterwards we decided to go ahead and participate in the pasta dinner and "free" beer - we paid for it anyway with the cost of registration. We started off sitting outside but the wind was picking up and it was getting cold. We went inside and enjoyed our food and drink. I think a good time was had by all.
I looked up my official results and saw that my finish was actually 28:43 which made me even happier but my ranking was somewhere in the 20's for my division (it was 27 out of 78). There must have been faster 30 year old's this year.
What makes me really happy though that this experience was enough to make M want to run a real race (without complaining kids in strollers) so we're looking at running a 15k together in April (the day before my 32nd bday). I've always wanted him to get into running too so I hope we both stick with it.