Here is my race report from last year. I did the same race this year.
I ran at 9:38 minutes per mile average give a few take a few here and there. My last mile was the fastest. Lat year I was basically on the same pace for the first half, then died and got a stress fracture in my foot for the effort. This year I finished up strong, passed people the last 2 miles and ran a total of 7 miles the following two days after the race.
What a great difference a year makes when you train consistently.
I think the best thing I did was to plan where my wife and kids would be on the course to meet me and cheer me on and then visualiize the race in my head the night before and the morning of the race. I had envisioned high fives for the family at mile 9.3 and that kept me running strong from mile 7 to mile 9 looking forward to the moment.
There was a girl just behind me the whole race that had a friend, a loud friend, who must have bounced along 2 miles at a time in her car to cheer her on. The sign said “Dig Deep DIVA”, which didn’t really speak to me, but I did get a bit of extra motivation running by her as she cheered everyone that went by on.
It was quite an accomplishment to think I wasn’t going to be able to run any faster this year. In fact I had planned on 10 minute miles being my stretch goal. Dropping from 2:14 to 2:06 was a huge boost in my confidence. I am going to go kill it on this sprint tri coming up. I want to drop about the same amount of time and try and run 9 minute miles. That would be amazing if I can pull it off.