$2,500 raised, 26.2 miles ran and 1 minute-PR’d.
You win some, ya lose some, right?
Okay, maybe that is not fair to say, because I am still SO proud of our team, the amazing event and just – yeah. This weekend was amazing. Yeah, I was thinking a 3:45 was in the bag – I mean, I did the training, I was very precise about my carbo-loading and nutrition and I was feeling it. So just let me get this out, real quick, so I can move on – I was disappointed in my time.
I can blame the weather (hotter than I thought it would be) the wind (blow me down, me hearties!) or my shoes, but it was hard to see an almost exact time from Richmond – after all, I didn’t make all of my runs that cycle, I didn’t even know what tempo or speedwork was…I mean I just ran a 1:47 half that felt easy! C’mon! Blah!
So, okay, I did mentally already subtract several minutes from my time since I saw the male elites finished in 2:22, but other than that, I have to just accept it and move on.
BRIEF RECAP of that rant: Awesome event, as long as we don’t talk about my time 😉
Anyway, back to the race recap!
I woke up at 6 AM. I headed across the street to the 7-11 as soon as I got my shoes on and purchased three items: a large bottle of water, a small coffee and a blueberry cake donut. Okay, I was planning on a plain bagel, but there were none in sight. I compromised…headed back to the room and got dressed, etc.
The race start time was 8:30 AM, and our team was set to meet in the downstairs hotel lobby at 7:30 AM to take some pre-race pictures and then walk to the start together (about 9 blocks). My adrenaline was pumping pretty good and the temps were great, around 50 degrees. I checked my swag bag in (threw a pair of flip flops in for post-race comfort – AKA the best idea I had all day) and then bid farewell to my teammates as I headed into Corral 1.
In hindsight, this was probably a very ambitious goal, but I lined up with the 3:35 pace group. I had my Richmond Marathon mylar blanket wrapped around my legs up until the wheelchair race started, then I tied it around the gate and headed off with the group.
The first few miles were great. The pace felt comfortable. I was falling in nicely with the group and with the exception of a guy with really annoyingly flailing arms, it was nice to run as a big blob. As my Garmin chirped mile splits, however, I was a little concerned…they were showing sub-8’s. I waved their warning away, though, as I recalled in Princess that they were telling me sub-8’s when in reality, they were right on the nose.
Around mile 8, however, first minor disaster: my bib was flapping around uncontrollably! The left top pin had ripped the material. I stepped to the side of the road quickly to reattach it. I could still see the pace sign, so I popped right back into formation without much trouble.
A little while later, I was falling further behind as we passed through a water station…but they were still in my sights! I glanced down at my Garmin…and…WHAT!? The screen was totally fogged up. The numbers were unintelligible. Fantastic!
Passing back across the one ‘hill’ (bridge) I saw my coach, Liz. She ran up to me and joined me for a while. She was worried when 3:35 had passed without me, and so she pep talked me until I was cruising again. The outsides of my feet were burning, but I pushed on, entering a long stretch on the South part of the Boardwalk.
When I approached the half mark, I silently wished I was doing the half! My toes were going numb….13.1 more to go? Really?! Really? Really! I sitll felt pretty strong, as far as my endurance was going though, so I kept it moving. Wait, did 3:45 pace group just pass me? Phew, no, it was just a girl that was wearing a 3:45 pace sign (foreshadowing)
Headed back up to the North loop (it was like a turnaround straightaway/loop/second part of turnaround) my feet were killing me. I was getting frustrated! But then, I saw the cavalcade – the elite male was zooming down the other end of the straightaway! WOW! That was exciting. I kept on.
Around Mile 16…I was feeling it again. Burning feet. Burn. Burn. Burn and then – OW! Those dreaded calf spasms! I hadn’t felt those since Richmond…after MILE 21! Why was this happening so soon? NOOOO…I need to make it 10 more miles…10…not so bad right…?! We were on a forest-y road, and I had to keep pulling to the side to stretch out my calves….3:45 pace group passed…BUMMER.
Fortunately for me, I was wearing the TNT purple and was motivated EACH AND EVERY TIME I saw a coach on course! They were simply amazing. I tried my best to smile wide and remind myself why I was out there…push through my pain, since truly, I knew mine was only temporary. That is not to say that it didn’t still BURN BURN BURN!
Pushing it back and around, I eased into the realization that this was not going to be THE race for me. I was certainly going to finish, but it wasn’t going to be the finish I had imagined for myself. That was OKAY. I kept moving. I ran into my coach, Liz, once again and she ran with me, reminded me that marathons are unpredictable and that was I was still looking strong! She sent me on my way….I hobble-ran down to about 24…another coach ‘picked me up’ soon after that and he pushed my pace to the Boardwalk (“Can you see the finish line?” he asked – I stammered, “AHHHH it is SOOOO far away!!!!!!”)
He headed back right before we hit ’26’ and assured me I could do this! I summoned all the strength I could muster…looked up at the timer, down at my bracelet and then just BOOKED it.
HANDS IN THE AIR.
That marathon was MINE.
Headed down the chute, I was congratulated by a small army of amazing volunteers – got a bottle of water, my medal, finisher’s hat, hoodie and quickly spotted my hubby on the sidelines…and even saw Lisa! AWESOME! More than 3K marathoners and I see her right in front of me…so cool!
(photo courtesy Lisa’s hubby)
After several hugs, we bid farewell and I went to find my bag…swapped out my shoes for flippy-floppies (AMAZING) and you better believe I was the first in line for the DQ walkup window. Oreo cheesequake blizzard? Natch.
Surprisingly at this point, I was not hobbling! I felt pretty good. This was a marked difference than post-Richmond! We made it back to the hotel, where I pulled off my singlet and sparkles and ‘ice-bathed’ in the indoor pool! I did some pool-walking for about 10 minutes and felt great!
So, moral of the story is – RACES CAN BE GREAT, even if they don’t turn out the way you planned! I am thankful for my health, my opportunity to run for cancer and the amazing friendships and connections that would have never been possible if it had not been for running. Thank you, everyone, from the bottom of my heart. This race was OURS.