So, from the title of this post, you can tell that I had a great race this past weekend. This has been a long time in the making, and most of my f/b friends have already seen the Garmin photo with my unofficial time. Now I will get into the details for a full blown recap. It is long, I will warn you. I won't feel bad if you just look at the pictures and not read the rest!
I went to the expo on Friday afternoon, and had dinner with my parents and family at one of our favorite carbo loading restaurants, Noodles & Co. The kids eat there really well, and I felt like for a while we were eating here every Friday. I don't know if it is the greatest pre-race meal, but it was something I was used to eating before my 20 milers. I had a bit of anxiety over my breakfast planned for the next morning, especially because I did a bit more reading in Hal Higdon's book about eating 3-4 hours prior to race time. I had only planned to eat 2 hours before race time. I really wanted that extra hour f sleep, and just got about half of my running wardrobe packed up as just in case items. The weather looked iffy and I wanted to be prepared. The weather was supposed to be very cold, in the 30s, and possibly have a rain/snow mix. Please, no rain, anything but rain! I was also worried because I felt like I had hyped up this race too much with my friends and this site.
Thankfully, I woke up all by myself at 4:08, almost exactly 3 hours before race time and downed a Marathon Protein bar, my breakfast choice. It was hard to decide what to eat since I rarely run this early in the morning, but I had been relying on Marathon bars since we had a ton of them still as my afternoon pre-run snack. I drank a bunch of water, and then attempted to go to bed. That didn't really happen, but I laid in bed for another 45 minutes before getting up and getting ready. Cristina came and me and we got down to the race site about an hour before the start. We parked super close to the start and finish lines, as well as the porto potties. We did not heed or care about the warning that we would not be able to move our car until the race was completely over. We just wanted to be as close as possible to the start and porto potties to stay warm. We spent the time before the race deciding what to wear and wearing a path between her vehicle and the porto potties. Cristina thought I should go with my pink top based on the number of PRs I have had wearing it, and I finally got my number belt on and gus stashed in my jacket pockets. I took my Advocare Catalyst (amino acids) and a gu about 20 minutes before the start. We found Colleen from TIA before the race. This photo was taken at about 7:05am. The race was to start at 7:15, and it was at this point that I decided that I was completely overdressed. I did not want my jacket. This meant I wanted to lose the number belt and I had to pull all 5 of my gus out of my pockets and safety pin them ghetto style/old school to my tights and get to the start. Cristina and I have a history of missing the starts for major large chip time events due to staying warm and inside as long as possible, so it really wasn't a surprise that we got to the start line with seconds to spare after our quick change (she lost her vest too, but kept her belt since it contained her gus). We were trying to figure out how far we should move up when the race started. We essentially walked to the start and then we were off. Cristina is fast, and started super fast. I wanted to stay with her, but knew not to. I always struggle with going out way to fast, and today's race was long with a lot on the line. I did not want to ruin it. My first mile I really struggled to keep the pace slow, and got a little slower on mile 2.
Miles 3- 8 felt really good. I felt like I was a little fast, but I just didn't want to slow down, too much. I just kept an eye on my pace and tried not to go too fast. I was glad I was able to bank a little time here for my BQ.
7:44, 7:49, 7:54, 7:58, 7:54, 7:54
After mile 8, things started to feel a bit hard. I did see TIA teammates Anna and Mary on the sidelines cheering me on. They had come down for Colleen and Rita, but it made my day. This was an out and back course, and I was starting to wonder when I would start seeing the winners coming back. I don't recall how early I saw them, but then I started watching for Cristina and counting the women. As I approached the halfway mark, I got a second wind. I got a bit nervous because my time for the half was not that much slower than my PR for a half. Hopefully I had not made a huge mistake. Cristina was the second female! I had a man tell me I was 8th! Are you kidding me? I am just trying to race for me, not to win anything today.
7:58, 8:04, 8:03, 8:00, 8:03, 7:55, 7:57
Mile 16 was the longest mile, I think. I just could not wait to have 9 miles left to go! This was single digits. I am not sure why I looked forward to this so much. 17 and 18 weren't much easier. 7:55, 8:05, 8:14 Once I got into the 19th mile, I felt like I was OK to slow down a bit. My cumulative time was 2:30:52, and I was pretty sure I could hang on to a 8:34 pace for the rest. I tried to tell myself I was on the treadmill and just had to do an hour to go. An hour is a long time to think about, but I have run an hour on the treadmill so many times at this pace, it did help to think about it. We also met up with the half marathoners at this point, which in the beginning, was fun because there were more people, but it was also not more fun because they were not running as fast as me, which made it hard for me to hold my pace. I was constantly passing people, and it wasn't as satisfying as it was when it was just marathoners. It was a pain. I also dropped several places here. I did OK until about mile 23. Mile 23 was my first mile over BQ pace.
8:11, 8:16, 8:16, 8:19, 8:24
Miles 24, 25, and 26 were super hard. There were a few hills to deal with and the stupid wooden bridges! Hines drive, where most of the race course was, is located in a valley. This meant in the beginning, we ran down into it, so we had to run up out of it to get back to the start. We didn't take the exact same course because we actually ran on freeway style exit ramp to get down to it, and didn't run back up it and instead went through a more narrow wooded area with these dumb wooden bridges that shake and bounce when you get a bunch of runners on them. It really does feel horrible that close to the end. I was calculating splits in my head. I knew I was going to have to run super fast to pull out a 3:30, which wasn't the ultimate goal anyway, I had wanted to run faster on the first half so that I would have a bit of time to play with at the end. Coming up after the last uphill I needed water so bad, and there was a water stop. I walked through this water stop and took another 30 seconds or so to recover. I looked at my watch and I was roughly 1200m from the end. I could keep walking and still get my BQ, but I sucked it up and started running again. The last .2 got easy again. I finished strong, and was very happy with my time! (official time was 3:33:18)
8:43, 8:57, 9:22, 2:10 (last .2 was at 7.49 pace)
My parents did make it down to the finish, and took these pictures from the end. With it being an out and back course, it is tough to get pictures on the course and still make it back for the finish with the family in tow. Monica was out on the course looking for me, but we missed each other, and I didn't see her until the end. The bad part of the day was that I felt MISERABLE when I finished. Cristina thankfully found me quickly so I didn't have to do too much wandering to find her. I sat on the ground in front of the porto potties and then laid down flat on my back on the cold concrete. It felt really good, as my back was bothering me. I was almost wondering if someone was going to ask me if I needed help, and I wasn't sure if I did. My stomach felt really yucky. So yucky that I had a hard time being excited for how fast I ran. I BLEW AWAY my previous PR and qualified with room to spare! A lot of it was mental and being ready for it to hurt. Believe me, it did, and still does. We were also very blessed that the weather was fabulous for running. It was sunny and the rain stayed away until the afternoon! I finally got up ( I left a huge sweatmark of my body on the pavement-Gross!) and after a few trips back and forth between the car and the porto potties, I finally felt well enough to walk around a bit. Me and Cristina, after changing our clothes. Clothing changes were frequent today due to the changing weather, and made me feel a lot better to be in a dry shirt. Another perk to parking super close. Cristina needed to collect her award for second overall female (she won her age), and as it turned out, I got 2nd in my age group! Here's my "major award". I wished I would have felt better to link up with a few other people. We did find Colleen who ran a sub 4:00 and Rita who also had a PR. Anna and Mary were back at the finish as well. I missed Valerie and her son at the kids race, as well as made no effort to find Erin who ran the 10K or Shelby who ran her first half. I was just ready to go home. We were able to navigate her huge SUV out of the barricades a lot easier this year than last year when I parked along the finish chute for this same race. This year, then had those spots fully blocked off so that mistake wasn't made again by anyone. One last photo: Cristina and I are "famous" on Greg Sadler's advertisement for Sadler Shots. Yeah! Goald #1 for 2011 has been achieved! Now to recover and work on goal #2, Half Ironman!