I still get a little bit of a chill just thinking about it!
I'm really, really tired and still need to make some lunches for my kids - you know, 'cause 16-year old's left to their own devices will pack garbage for lunch - so I'll keep this pretty short (hahaha, right!).
My time, my effort: I truly am shocked, I had no idea I had it in me. Be it the incredibly cool weather for the race (38 at start time, 48 at the end); the high mileage I have been logging the past 5 weeks; the huge cut-back week I had prior to the race; the fact that I love road racing and it's been about a year and a half since I last ran one and was just so excited to be there; or maybe I just don't know my own speed yet, but when I crossed the finish line, I was absolutely shocked.
Whatever it is,
I've been patient
; God is finally saying yes.
I had no expectations, no goals, no anything swimming in my head other than I had hoped
I could run around 2-hours. I even debated lining up with the 2-hour pace group but they were a couple corrals back (it helps to lie and submit some sort of "in my wildest dreams" predicted time to land you in a higher wave) and this race is so big I just didn't want to start so far back and have to claw my way forward. So I popped in my corral, which happened to be near the 1:40 pacer (yeah, hahah, in another life, but not this one. Yet) and thought I'd just bide my time until the 2-hour group came up on me and pray like mad I could hang with them.
I ran Garmin-less. My Garmin is on the disabled list - the battery is toast and it holds a charge for about 10 minutes. I've spent countless hours with Garmin on the phone about this and thought it was a software problem but apparently it's not and I haven't invested in the $79 replacement charge (plus shipping) yet. Non-Garmin racing is my pretty standard protocol, I really don't like to race with the thing; the race tends to become one where I am constantly obsessing about my pace and I look at the thing 4000x in a mile. Still, since I have no idea of my pace right now, I wanted to wear it so I didn't kill myself at the start, like I notoriously do. But I had no choice so I wore my old, reliable Nike watch and I just took splits at each mile marker (and I have to admit, the races I have not worn my Garmin are the races I have run my best).
The course isn't very difficult, at least if you're done a little hill work - which I haven't. Or done some speedwork - which I haven't. But the hills tend to come at the end of the race (though I'm swearing the hill at mile 3 is grossly misrepresented in this profile chart!!) so it is probably a good idea to conserve a little at the start. At least for me - which I didn't.
Off I go. I missed the first mile marker so when I hit the 2nd marker in 18 minutes, I thought I was doing fine....but really, that first mile was one big cluster mob and it had to be around a 10 min/mile, so really, mile 2 was pretty quick. I march on. When I got to mile 5, I was steadily hitting an 8:30ish pace and I honestly couldn't believe I wasn't dying. I didn't feel fantastic, but I also didn't feel bad and all I kept thinking was: this is a race, it is suppose to be tough
. Miles 7-9 were the most mentally challenging, it's along this section that you can actually see other runners, in front and behind you, and I just got a little overwhelmed at how fast I was running this thing. I just told myself that this was really a test race to see where my fitness level was and when I hit the wall, at least it'd give me an indication of where my weaknesses are and where I need to focus the training.
But the wall never happened!!! Not really. I felt I slowed from mile 9-10, I was tired here and it was a gradual uphill, but my watch said this was my fastest split at a 8:01. HUH? Mile 10.5 you enter Cheeseman Park and it's one big hill and then levels out a bit and then one final climb in the race to mile 11.5. I felt incredibly strong here for some reason and when I exited the park, I knew the uphills were behind me and I thought to myself that I only had a little over a mile left, this would be tough, but tough is what I love. My heel was doing great. My hamstring was doing great. The biggest problem I had was that my left forefoot (my "good" foot), I am developing one big callous from my new foot striking position (I presume) and that callous was really bugging me (anyone know how to get this thing removed?). I just couldn't get over the fact that I was consistently hitting paces in the 8s! I mean, I haven't run anything under a 9:30 for the most part in my training and honestly did not believe it was in me.
Up until mile 12, I really was not paying attention to where I was with my over-all time. I would concentrate on being strong, listen to my music, watch those around me, and when the mile marker came up, I would glace at my watch, hit the lap button, then look at my split, and onward I'd go. So when mile 12's pace clock showed a 1:43 and I knew I just had 1.1 miles left, I think I got the biggest smile on my face - I knew I could get a sub 1:55.
I can't even express - honestly - how stunned I was when I crossed the finish and stopped my watch and saw a 1:52:09. Yes, in a past life this time probably would have had me jumping off a cliff, but not in this post-injury-from-hell life.
There aren't enough exclamation marks to use here how good I felt!!!
I wandered around to find the sweat-bag check; I was absolutely freezing from being so soaked with sweat, water, Cytomax and the chill of the 48 degrees (according to one volunteer). After I got my bag, I found my friend and client, Dave (who did an amazing PR of 1:46 - yay, Dave) and then ventured to the beer garden where I met my friends and ran into the one and only Nora
She ran an awesome race, too, and we shivered together as we talked for awhile. She's such an incredible person! She was waiting for her husband to finish running the full marathon (on a very bad ankle - yikes) so we chatted awhile until my friends wanted to leave to get some real food (thanks, Nora!! :)).
What a perfect way to end the day: with friends, having a beer, eating good food, and celebrating the race, a race which in my wildest dreams, never thought was in me!!!
So the race is done and I move forward soaking in all that I learned from it. If I am able to walk today (that's a big IF), I will enter week 7 of my marathon training program, feeling a little energized from today's race (duh!) and excited that this guy
is going to help me hone in on my nutrition so I can get my weight back down to ideal racing weight and start feeding my body with the proper foods to fuel my running more efficiently.
I'm pretty pumped to see where this journey is going to take me. I can't wait!
Lunches are calling....
Run strong, my friends!
And THANK YOU, to all, for your awesome support and encouragement this past year and a half, I can't tell you how many times I thought about the blog when I was running; it's been one extremely long and difficult test of patience, I couldn't wait to finally share some news with y'all.