This was the end of October. The race was in the beginning of February. I texted my coach and told her what I did and I'm sure her first reaction was, "Oh boy. Here we go again!" But she was cool and said she would get a plan ready for me and asked what my goals were. I went pretty lofty with the goals, since I knew this could be a PR course and she made my plan accordingly.
As my training progressed, I realized I was not hitting my paces for my lofty goal, so coach and I adjusted my times, and I realized that I would be happy to finish anywhere between 4:30 and 4:45. (Honestly, I was super worried that I wouldn't finish in under 5 hours.)
I had a few terrible horrible runs that made me question if I would even finish the race, and I had a few fantastic run that really gave me confidence that this race was doable. I thought training for a marathon alone would be hard for me to do, but Brian made sure I got out and did my long runs and he even routed some of my long runs and dropped me off so I could run point to point and kind of mimic the race course. At the beginning of each long run, I would think to myself that I didn't know if I would be able to complete it. About halfway through most of these runs, I found myself getting lost in the rhythm of the run and I would feel this sense of calmness and happiness flow through me. I actually began to look forward to these solo long runs and the peace they brought to me mentally.
Before I knew it, race week was here and I met Kris in Phoenix where we did packet pickup and did some course recon. I was surprised by how beautiful the first 10-11 miles of the course were and I began to get excited about race day. I slept great the night before the race, which is unusual, so when that 4 a.m. alarm clock came, I felt ready to go. We got ready and headed over to the buses that would take us to the start line. There were a couple little pre-race hiccups that occurred that caused us to start about 10 minutes after the start of the race that included me leaving my headphones in my gear drop bag! Kris told me to go back and get them, but I didn't want to waste any more time, so I said I would just run without them. This really freaked me out, but it ended up being fine and it turned out I didn't need the distraction of the music after all.
The race starts just as the sun is coming up, so as you are running down the hill you get to see the beautiful scenery of the Usery Mountains appear before your eyes. Like I said earlier, it was absolutely beautiful and I feel bad for the people who sign up to do the half marathon because they don't get to see any of this. My goal was to run conservatively the first 22 miles and then if I had any gas left in the tank to push the last 4 miles. I didn't run as slow as I would have liked but I think the mostly downhill elevation helped me not feel too tired. When I hit the half-way mark I was still feeling good and I saw that I was on pace to be under my goal of 4:30! At this point, the course becomes pancake flat and after a few miles of this you can really feel your legs working. I was grateful for any little change in elevation on the course because it felt good to work different muscles in my legs.
Mile 22 came and I was no longer on pace to beat my goal, but I was still on pace to be in between my goal time. I knew it was time to push and use up whatever gas was left in the tank, but there was not much I could do, so I tried to just hold steady. I did slow up a little but, but I did manage to pick up the pace for the last mile! I was so happy to make that last turn towards the finish line, and when the thought, "I would do this again" passed through my head, I knew I had just had a successful race! It was actually the first time during a race that I did not go to the dark place and hate everything!
|All smiles at mile 25!|
This was my 6th full marathon, and I'm so happy that I decided to do it. This is why I love my friends. They never listen when I say, "I'm never doing that again." They will always throw out the invite for whatever adventure they are doing, and for that I am grateful! I'm also grateful I have a husband who understands and supports my need to push myself in these athletic endeavors!
Now to get get off my ass and start training again! Break Over!
|Medal and post-race Whataburger!|