Hey guys! Sorry I’ve been MIA – Something about Sunday’s race kicked the life out of me. After going to bed at 9 last night and a massage tonight I’m feeling a bit more human.
So, let’s back up, shall we?
Sunday morning I woke with the alarm at 6 a.m. And, I didn’t want to get up, so I snoozed. Luckily I stayed in Providence the night before, so I didn’t have to rush. I got up at 6:10 and meandered my way down to the ever so convenient Starbucks located in the hotel. Damn good thing I did – it was already chock full of runners, being that it was about 2 blocks from the start.
I got myself an iced coffee, a bagel, and a banana. I nervously munched and sipped as I got ready. As I was wrapping up my preparation, I reached into my bag for my Garmin, and *GASP* IT WAS DEAD! It must’ve turned on when I tossed it into my bag!
I was panicking because I had hopeful big plans (big plans that didn’t come to fruition – but really, I only ran twice a week for the past 7 weeks so…’nuf said) and I really wanted my Garmin. I was convinced it was going to be a bad day.
When I met up with Coachy and our friend Don, I told them about my Garmin. Coachy and Don were running together anyway, so (being the wondaful person that he is) Coachy gave me his Garmin to wear (thank you thank you THANK YOU AGAIN!). It’s the same as mine but the boy version.
We then met up with Jess, Scott, and Christine, right by the start line. After a long drive from northern MA to RI the girls had to find a bathroom, so while they did that I saw the marathoners off (aka Coachy and Don).
Me, Jess, Scott, and Christine lined up around the 10 minute pace and chatted a bit, took a few pics, and tried to keep our minds off of what was about to go down. Next thing we knew we were off.
About half a mile in I remarked to Jess that we had already lost Christine – but Christine had decided she was going to start slow (smooth move – you can read all about it in her recap). I’m totally doing that next time.
I really never felt great during this race. I’d talk to Jess for a bit – Scott would gesture for us to catch up to him – we’d go silent and just run.
I slowed around Mile 4 water stop, but caught back up to Jess and Scott. They were moving at a pretty good clip, and my confidence was slipping. It was humid, the clouds burned off and the sun was fully out. Between the humidity and the very high levels of tree pollen in the air, I couldn’t breathe.
I told Jess around Mile 5 that I was dropping back, to go ahead without me.
That’s when the mind games started. I knew I was holding a pace well enough to PR, but not get my ultimate goal (which you guys all know what that is by now so I’m not speaking about it).
I finished Mile 5 and 6 strong, and even Mile 7 considering the biggest hill on the course (100ish foot climb) exists between 6.5 and 7.5 miles.
But during Mile 6 and 7 I hyperventilated. I cried. I convinced myself that I was not going to finish this race.
I said it quite a few times. “What if you just quit?” “You can DNF, save your leg, save your knee, just stop running.”
You see, my knee was wigging out on all the up and down. I didn’t do any real good pre-race stretching and I spent hours walking around on Saturday.
I knew there was a medic around Mile 8ish, because we passed the ambulance around Mile 4. I stopped there and got some tape for my knee.
I had started the race with my knee strap on but it just wasn’t cutting it.
I then realized that I was being a complete fool for even thinking I was going to quit this race. There was nothing wrong with me other than a bitchy knee. I knew how to control it, and I did. I powered on and even managed to save my pace after the unplanned knee repair stop.
Then Mile 9 started. Also known as the mile with “that damn downhill”. You guys know I love running downhill, but this is ridiculous. You drop from 93 feet to 10 feet in about half a mile. It’s a steepy.
But I managed to really pick up my pace and have an awesome Mile 10.
Then another UPHILL. I talked about this last year too – some really evil person decided it was a good idea to put a long steady uphill in between Mile 10 and 11. It’s also on the Rock N Roll Providence course, almost at the same mileage, in case you’re planning on running that one.
I walked. I cursed. I cried. I ran (if you can call it that). Relief came in the form of another super but not so steep downhill. I looked at my Garmin though, and I knew if I could just stay strong a little while longer that I’d have a PR that I’ve been working for – FOR A YEAR!
Then suddenly I heard a voice from behind me.
IT WAS CHRISTINE! Oh she could not have come at a better time. I told her about my knee, and she was really rocking it – the slower start and steady pace really kept her strong.
We ran, and chatted. I warned her about the Team in Training signs in the park (all about people who have passed from cancer – so sad, but so inspirational – they make me cry. Last year I hyperventilated from crying).
We pushed each other almost to the end. We cursed out the fact that Mile 12 was DEFINITELY long and we couldn’t find “the damn sign.”
We saw (RI) Jess at the Whiskey Republic, cheering for us! That gave me another bit of energy!
Somewhere right before Mile 13 I dropped back from Christine. She told me if I lost her she’d cry (thank you for that, BTW – I didn’t want to make you cry) – so I made sure I stayed in sight, even if behind her.
The final stretch came and I somehow got the burst of energy I needed to power across the finish line.
Official Time: 2:10:10 – a 3 second PR.
This was, mentally, my hardest race ever.
I truly wanted to quit.
I wanted nothing more than to walk off the course and lay in the grass.
I had myself convinced that I was coming back to this computer to write to you guys about an extremely disappointing race.
Instead I came back with a PR.
I came back with a new respect for the training plan.
I came back PROUD of my friends for their amazing times – Jess and Scott with a 2:03:10 (a 2-ish minute PR) and Christine with a 2:09:44 (also a 2-3ish minute PR!).
I EVEN came back to the course and ran a mile or so with Coachy and Don when they came through on their way to finish the marathon.
As I reflect upon Sunday and write this post I’ve learned a lot. How to trust that my body will get me there – even if I wasn’t as trained as I would have liked to be.
Super props to Jess for removing the words “undertrained” from my race day speak. It was all I had to say for a while post-race. But she corrected me.
I learned that quitting is not the answer (unless, of course, you are actually doing more harm to your body – in that case, please quit. I knew I wasn’t harming myself. I was just pissed off and frustrated by the fact that sub-2 had slipped from my grasp yet again. On my 4th try.)
I learned that I am going to train my ASS off all of June and July and when the times comes in July and August to run my next two 13.1 races – I WILL own them, and I will get that sub-2. No questions asked. It helps that by then I’ll be running longer than 13 miles as I train for Chicago.
There ya have it folks. My extremely long winded, at times sad, at times educational, race report.
I hope you enjoyed it!
Thanks to everyone on Facebook, Twitter, and Daily Mile for all of the congrats for my finish and PR. Your words mean more to me than I can ever describe.
And thank you to Coachy, Don, Jess, Scott, Christine, (RI) Jess, Martha, & Kevin for being there for me. I love you guys!
P.S. The pics in here were totally stolen (with permission) from Jess and Christine. Thanks girls!