My race expectations changed as frequently as the weather forecast this week. At one point, we were expecting a glorious low of 51 and high of 61. My dream weather. Instead we got a low in the 60's, high of 75 by the time I finished, mostly cloudy, and some rain. I have cloudy brain on half marathons so it's really cloudy for a full. On Friday I talked and texted with some friends who helped me realize that I put a lot of (unneccessary) pressure on myself to measure success by speed. Based on my long run pace, I felt like sub-5 was within reach... with good weather. As it became clear that it would be warmer than ideal, I became ok with letting that goal become a lofty "A" goal, but totally ok if I couldn't hit it. I really didn't even know where to set "B" and "C" goals, so I spread them out at 5:30 and 6:00. I got a little emotional telling Jake goodbye at the entrance to the corrals. Dork! I lined up at the very front of the C corral, nowhere near a pacer. It was a different feeling to look at my Garmin to be sure I wasn't going out too fast, rather than hitting a goal pace. Early in the race, I just ran for comfort, not to hit a certain pace. From the first beep of my watch at mile one, I took a one minute walk break at each mile. I'm sure it did some physical good, I know it helped psychologically, and it's what I did on every long run in training. In the first or second mile, I passed a group of firefighters walking the race in full bunker gear- very inspirational. I didn't see a fire truck displaying an American flag on the course, but this worked for me.
I saw runners taking beer for the first time in mile 5. Mile 6 held vodka. I didn't partake. For not training on hills, I was surprised at how well I handled the hills. I passed lots of runners who walked up the hills. The hill with a name- Gorilla Hill- didn't phase me. I saw Libby and Jake at the same time around mile 8. The miles were passing quickly. Before I knew it, we were at 11. There were two periods of steady rainfall. It felt good and was peaceful. I naturally started picking up the pace around 13 and just went with it. The volunteers and spectators were awesome. I loved having my name on my bib and having people cheer for me by name. It helped! I saw Jake just before mile 14, when we hit the lake. He gave me a package of Pringles because I knew those are easy on my running tummy and good for the salt. By this point I really didn't want another Honey Stinger waffle or chews. This was also when I saw a 5:15 pacer because the course had a very short out & back portion. I never saw that sign again. I didn't particularly like the lake portion, not because it wasn't pretty or anything, I think just because it was too far from the finish to be happy. Those were some of my fastest miles, though. I started taking Powerade at some aid stations for the sugar. I also took oranges a few times. They were the best oranges I've ever had and I normally don't even like oranges! I saw Jake again just before mile 21. I was starting to hurt but held it together for another 2 miles before the hurt got worse. 23 was rough for me. It was a great pick-me-up to see Corina and some other NTX Runners walking backwards on the course during that mile.
|Pic borrowed from Mama C- she turned around and ran alongside me until she could get the pic. Love her.|
From 23 on, I walked at every half mile and through most aid stations. I was shocked later to see that my pace in those miles wasn't as bad as I felt. Jake was waiting for me about .3 miles from the finish. He ran with me until I entered the finishers chute. I could see the finish line and knew from my watch that I could finish under 5:15. I gave it all I had, finishing stronger than I ever imagined I'd be able to, with a pace near 9:00. My official time was 5:13:46, with an average pace of 11:59 (my Garmin shows my distance as 26.51 dropping my pace to 11:50). I picked up fluids, a couple cookies, had my picture taken, and claimed my first finishers shirt. I promise to wash it nightly, but I may wear that thing for the next week. I also saw Elaine before leaving.
|Pic borrowed from Elaine- she squealed and said, "Ooh! I gotta text Lesley, she's dying to know how you did" and then she whipped out her phone and texted Lesley.|
The walk to the car wasn't far, thankfully, but I was certainly ready to sit. I actually felt better than I did after my first half marathon. We stopped for lunch at On The Border, where I had quesadillas and a margarita (a runner needs salt, right?). Then it was time to go home. The ride was tough. My legs just weren't happy with any position. A shower and bath at home felt good, but my legs were about the highest level of soreness without actual pain. And the were hot- inflammation, maybe? I usually avoid ibuprofen, but I took Prilosec, Maalox, water, a whataburger junior & fries, and chased it with 800mg of ibuprofen and a long night's sleep.
I'm a marathoner!!!