|creepy 6 AM bug-out eyes...your welcome :)|
I took the time to get dressed (decided on the capris, as the morning was 52 degrees and the wind was predicted to hit 21+ mph), pack a bag for Tripp to carry (filled with post-race clothes, flip flops, extra GU and protein bars, and more body glide - just in case), and enjoyed a big and toasty poppyseed bagel with cream cheese and a little jam - my tummy can't process peanut butter enough before runs, and I really didn't want to burp up PB for 4 or 5 hours.
Around 6:30 AM we decided to head over to the start, as we had planned on meeting Chris and Emma at the bag drop at 7:20, and we didn't know how quickly we could find parking, or how far away it would be. Now Tripp and I are NEVER on time, so it was a happy surprise that we were parked and walking to the race start by 6:58 AM...even got to catch a glimpse of this gorgeous scene on our way there!
|She was just too mesmerized by the amazing sunrise behind me|
|Mic was still not into the whole photo thing...but I think my #1fan was lookin mighty fine :)|
|It's early, it's cold, I am nervous, can we just start already?!|
|Chris and I showing off the awesome sign Katie (his wife) made to cheer us all on!|
And then out of no where, this huge inflatable start line popped up! Reality set in...hardcore. Photo shoot done, nervous pee break done, time to race!
Because it is on the smaller side of races (821 finished the marathon I believe and maybe another 2400 or so did the half), we were able to line up at the front of the pack. Now, I know this is not the proper race etiquette; however, there no corrals, no elite line, and not a ton of order to be honest....when we looked around us, there was a large variety of runners, so we just stayed put and made sure to get to the outsides of the lane when the gun went off.
Emma, Chris, and I planned to start together, but we also had an additional runner added last minute to the group...which I have to admit, was a bit surreal. Chris' brother was supposed to run the full marathon with Chris and I, but a few weeks ago decided he wasn't going to go through with it, so in his place, Chris recruited this phenomenal woman, Laura. Laura is beginning her campaign for the Olympic trials...in the marathon, and said she would come pace us for the first half, since she had a long run on the schedule for the weekend anyways. The news that Laura was going to run with us freaked me out at first....she is a sub-3 hour marathoner, gunning for the Olympics, if we try to keep up with her, we will surely burn out early!
Chris convinced me that she was going to stay back with us, and was totally fine running our planned 8:30 min/miles for the first half of the race, and that it was her last long run of the week and she was fine going slower.
Keeping this in mind, I knew I would have to really focus on staying on pace, if I wanted to even make it to the half mark...remember, I hadn't run more than 6 miles since August 19th due to my knee injury!
|If you look close, I am the one being ushered by the ray of light behind the guy in yellow, see my sunnies :) Chris is in the red shirt, and Laura in the race shorts and blue tank|
Mile 4 we hit with a 7:47 split, and I let my secret creep out...."hey guys, in an ideal world, we would keep this pace up and qualify for Boston!"
Needless to say, we didn't stay at 7:40s for too long...but we did hover around 8, sub-8 for the next 9.1 miles, which was blowing my mind! I had a bit of knee pain throughout those miles too, but not a buckling or "oh my god I need to stop" pain...it was more of the achy, throbbing I had experienced with the tendinitis - so I kept on going. I popped a couple advil and fought to keep Chris and Laura in my sites for the rest of the first half, until we lost Laura at around mile 11. Chris put it best, "it's like she switches into a gear none of us have discovered before and doesn't seem to notice" - she was gone in the blink of eye, to put it bluntly. And then there were 2...
Chris and I crossed the halfway mark (which is also the finish line for the half marathoners) at around 1:46, which was way ahead of our planned time, and just over an 8 min/mile split!
13.1 Mile Mark: 1:46 (8:06 avg. pace)
Whether it was the crowd lining the half marathoner's finishing chute, or the fact that we had just run a competitive half marathon and were still going...I was still smiling?! This is the first race where most of my pictures are of me with a huge smile on my face...go figure, I would pick the hardest race of my life to smile :)
|Hey Katie, here take my motivational tunes, I don't need them!|
|16 miles, done and done :)|
I had a feeling of anxiety that Chris was behind me, and not by my side anymore, and at the end of this mile, was my do or die moment of the race...I stopped to walk through a water stop and started limping pretty heavily...I could feel my knee throbbing and it was uncomfortable to say the least, but as I chugged down the little water cup and looked ahead to either press on or walk off the course, I spotted my man....he was standing up ahead and my feet started moving...I was jogging towards his clapping hands, and I ran right up to him and gave him a huge hug and kiss...then I was off
|approaching my motivation|
There was some wind, and some killer hills in the final miles, and since it was a fabulous out and back on this section, I got to experience those hills up and back...twice :) I fell in with this group of ladies, one of them was coaching the other up the hills...it was the best strategy I have ever tried in a race, and it worked...you pick an object up ahead and you focus on it until you reach it, and if you still aren't at the top of the hill, you pick another object and focus on it, until you reach it...that compartmentalized thinking is what got me up the next 3 or 4 hills we shuffled over, and I couldn't have been more grateful...
Miles 20 - 26.2 were the toughest mental game I have ever played...so you will just have to check back to see if I came out ahead :)
Do you start out faster in races than intended? Or do you stick to your plan?
I always start out too fast...it's the adrenaline, all the adrenaline!
What are your thoughts on letting someone quicker pace you?
I was really nervous, but honestly she pushed us through that first half and we came out all right...I admit I should have been more conservative because I hadn't run in so long, but the pace we settled into felt comfortable, not strained...