So, this was an unexpected addition to my racing season. Although I had already convinced myself that it was the perfect way to get my 26 miles in, I was not registered as Rock n Roll marathon series races tend to run a bit pricy than my running budget allows. Nonetheless with 4 ppl in my running family headed down for the race, I HAD to be there anyway. Then almost like a crazy gift from .... whichever version of god you'd like.... A friend called to ask me if I'd like to take someone's bib for the half-marathon. Naturally- Hell YES!... So I was put in touch with Michele <= nicest person I've never yet met... and she sent me everything I needed.
I transferred the race to the marathon distance for a small fee and then BAM.. there we go, I was In. Training run scheduled. Also- btw- it was St. Patty's Day.... so I splurged (with the $ I didnt spend on the race to buy some green stuff...lol).
Friday Pre-Race: s/p 22.5 mi run thursday night... taught some yoga that AM and just kept going all day... not enough nutrition in... and felt rather fatigued going off 3.5 hours of sleep. Already I was laughing at how I had commented the evening before on my Run that I've never had a bad race day (with the exception of some college 5Ks). Friday ended with a movie: "Wanderlust" which was quite amusing and then off to bed for 11:30... little later than I was hoping.
Saturday 4:20am.. woke up 10 min before my alarm...got prepped and walked out mind set on coffee and chewing gum, 7-11 stop and then off to catonsville to meet up with Linda, Gina, Everette and Frank for an exciting day of running!
Arrived- parked- sat around... the usual... and then good lucks and what not as I left my half marathoners and ran off to find the 3:30 pace group, with a few newer friends, Dave, Mike, Mosi all running as pacers, to run a nice long training run.
So we started running, so far so good.... I think around 4 miles the fatigue of the last 48 hrs pre-race set in, I was running tired, and hungry. My breakfast was not enough... I was already running out of glucose... So around 5 mi I had my first GU, the earliest I've ever used fuel, especially on a training run.... but my mind was set, I'd hold steady as long as I could. Looking down at my wrist to be reminded often of my Sanskrit motivational quote which reminds of those who are truly faced with the task of survival was a continuous positive reminder to Keep Moving, at any pace, because certainly, it is possible to do so.
Ran with a couple other ppl shooting for 3:30 pace... around 10 mi i felt pretty good once we got into the rolling hills and just with my internal eb and flow of pacing. I had no watch on so I'd stick to instinct as much as possible. I lost track of my newest running friend :(.
By 13.1, my body felt like i was around 18 mi... which I've felt enough now to know that even though it didnt feel good, I was ok to keep rolling. Also around here was when I finally caved and took a pit stop.... by the time I'd gotten back out and running the 3:30 group i was 45 secs ahead of, was now 20 seconds ahead of me. I didn't wanna burn myself by playing catch up too hard so I caught up over the next 3/4 of a mile. The little extra push was tough, I figured I'd play it safe and ride along with the group at 8min miles but once i got there, it felt unnatural to cut my stride, so I rolled passed them again. Sadly around 16 mi another pit stop ate about 60-90 seconds off the clock. Once again I was back with pace group and once again I kept rolling.
The heat of the day was upon us, the course had opened up to a much more planer course... in other words... long mostly flat stretches in direct sun... I was thrilled to be seeing the sun, but knew it was draining me. I'd had another GU a few miles back, but I was again running low, making it on the 25kcal of gatorade I was getting down at the water stations (thank god for the nasty stuff- sorry if you like gatorade... between gatorade and GU by the end of every race my mouth feels like I gorged on straight sugar packets ...YUCK!)
Anyway, I was still chugging along, I knew my pace was falling off a little, I was short on energy, water and totally unprepared for the suns impact. By 23mi I was counting down minutes. Knowing I had the Pacers less than a minute behind me was the best support system I've ever run with... well, kind of the only support I've ever Run with. I knew if I couldn't hold it up where I was and had to fall back, they'd keep me going with them. So I fought, as I always do to keep myself strong enough that I wouldn't actually need to use the support....plus- there was only a 5K left... I could suck up just about anything for 3.1 miles... right?
Around 25 miles, my feet started to hurt... which is actually amazing since I expected them both to be killing me by 16... so I didn't read into it much. Mile 26... 1.2 to go.... pace group is probably 20 seconds behind... Only goal was to not get "caught"... i picked up the pace as much as I was able... until the last stretch which- go figure was uphill, and then fell into the "well, just hang on, slow and steady" mantra and bam finish line, goal complete with "I dare you to move" being played by Switchfoot- Live. Medal, food, music... Sunlight.
I'd done it, stuck to the goal... nutritionally I was *$@('d but I'd fix that over the next 24-48 H and heal up just fine.
1) Sunshiny Day!! Can't beat it!
2) Music literally every mile... saves you from the 3-6 note repetitive song playing over n over in your head And offers a cadence to keep pace to.
3) The number of ppl commenting on the pacers tutu's, the number of ppl commenting on the hat the guy next to me for miles 14-19 was wearing which by the way- i never even saw directly and can't even tell you why it was cool...
4) the band member dressed as a panda... not sure why this was better to me than the Elvis dude, but maybe I just like panda's more, anyway it lifted my mood.
5) Dave's shirt post race with blood stains over both nipples and his exclamation that it didn't really hurt (just grateful I don't have to know what that feels like)
6) Great Support from Friends and getting to spend the day with Frank, Ev, G, Liddy couldn't be beat by much of anything... <3
And Yesterday I completed a rather tough week of training with a very pleasurable 10 mi run, 1.5 mi swim and 30 mi bike ride, most of which was great because of the getting to share it with Jim, Frank and Marc.
5 weeks till Labor of Love 50 Miler.
1 week to NJ trail 50K !!!