First of all, something you may not know about me: my lucky number is 11. I was born on the 11th, in numerology (if you are inclined to believe in such things), my number is 11. I met my husband on the 11th. Two years later, he proposed on the 11th, and so on. It's a recurring theme in my life (that and double numbers in general, which I also like).
So this morning, after arriving to the race a bit later than I planned, struggling to find parking and the packet pickup, already seriously nervous about my tendinitis and the hilly course, they hand me the envelope containing my bib, which I open to find.....
BIB NUMBER 1111. I said "NO EFFING WAY" out loud.
There was no way in hell I was going to have a bad race after that. And I didn't.
I have been so tied up in my stupid foot tendinitis, my crazy work schedule, and training for an Ironman that I have had NO time to think about this race. I had no strategy. I hadn't even looked up the course online. Running Buddy asked me beforehand if I was going to run with a pace team and I had completely forgotten that they had pace teams.
I had thought a little about a goal - I wanted to do a sub-10 pace, since that's what I want for my marathon pace. I also had thought about doing it at a 10ish pace, a little faster than a long run pace, and maybe speeding up at the end. I had also thought about running it Garminless and winging it.
What I decided, at the last minute, was to run with the 2:10 (9:55 pace) pacer. I was a little nervous about it. On a good day, it would be a no-brainer, but it's a hilly course and my foot has hurt and I haven't ran as much as I liked lately because my foot hurt and when I have ran lately it's felt kinda sucky (besides last weekend.)
The pacer, though, was awesome awesome awesome. Now I really want to do a 4:20 marathon because he's pacing that too. And the course? Nary a flat spot on it. Nearly 6 miles in is a big hill, which we actually walked - but the pacer, with his longer-than-mine male legs, got ahead of me. Fortunately, I sprinted downhill (through crazy walls of people) to catch up with him. After that is when I started feeling not so great. I got sick of the hills. They lost me on a hill, and I saw my pace group slipping away....but they slowed down so I could catch them! Nicest pace group EVER. It also helped my willpower, just trying to stick with the group. No thinking about anything else, just stay with the group.
And then....it got hot. When we got to the Purple People Bridge (mile 10) and I started feeling sick. Icky sick. I told Ian the pacer that I was going to throw up and he, and a woman in our group, started arguing with me about whether or not that would happen and whether or not I should puke on them if it happened. The pace group got ahead of me around mile 11, and Ian was nice enough to run back for me. He told me that I felt like crap now but I'd feel great in a mile. "No, I won't!" I was pretty adamant about that. They pulled ahead of me, but we had gotten to mile 10 ahead of schedule. Our average pace (I can't set the Garmin to show my at-the-moment pace, makes me too neurotic) had been 9:49. It was creeping up a little at a time, but I was surprised at how slowly it was creeping up, since I felt like I was moving at a snail's pace. I realized I could still totally own that 2:10. The bridge back to Ohio was HOT. Soooooo hot. I caught sight of the building downtown that broadcasts the time and the temperature - 68 degrees. And sunny. YUCK.
Ian came back my way again. He was rescuing a girl behind me who was struggling. He pointed out how we were both smiling on the uphill. I was smiling? Really? I was squinting in the sun, I could figure that much out. "I'm just delirious!!" I blurted out.
Over the bridge. WAAAAY too many twists and turns before the finish line. The pace group turned around and I flashed them a thumbs up. I really was ok, I told myself, I just couldn't get my legs to move any faster. For that matter, I probably couldn't get them to move slower. They were doing their own thing and if I thought about it too much, I'd probably just collapse.
And then....the finish line! I saw it. It couldn't be that far, but it wasn't getting any closer, or so it seemed. But it did. And I got there. I forced myself not to look at the Garmin, but when I stopped......it said 2:59:54. Holy crap. I think I pulled it off.
That I did....I got my official results from the results tent and realized what a strong race I had really run. These are the stats they gave me:
5k split: 30:50 (9:57 pace)
10k split: 1:01:28 (9:55 pace)
15k split: 1:31:45 (9:52 pace)
13.1 time: 2:09:52 (9:55 pace)
Also interesting is that they gave me my rank at each split, which went from 1215 to 1190 to 1115 to 1070, which means I DID race smart. My last two miles were each over 10, so I slowed down a little, but not too much in the overall scheme of things.
I feel awesome about that race - way better than I've felt about a race in a long, long time. And I'm back to feeling awesome about marathon training and marathon running. And that foot? I realized after a while that while fatigue was setting in and the normal legs-hating-me-after-all-those-hills was in full effect, my foot barely had a whimper about what I was doing to it. The big huge blister on my left foot was way angrier than my peroneal tendon, which is fine by me.
Awesome awesome awesome. I'm gonna enjoy this high for a while, and then maybe I'll get around to updating my recent training reports for ya'll. I know you've missed them.