Part II. The Race:
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Timberlake Half Marathon RR
Part II. The Race:
This run was a lot more painful than I thought it would be. I don't know exactly what I was expecting - definitely not a cakewalk. But I thought it would be easier than it was. I guess I wanted to reach that zen-like state, known as a "runner's high", where the body and mind are moved beyond pain, beyond the perceived effort, and instead are jointed harmoniously together in an other-worldly state of being. You move into a different dimension, one without agony or pain, one where you feel like you're hovering outside of yourself, keenly aware of the effort, but feeling none of the pain. Light as a feather, floating, trance-like, running along in your own world with little a clue to your surroundings. You feel great, and while it is difficult, every hurdle that you face seems laughable, because you're simply "in the zone" and not succeeding simply isn't part of the deal. I've hit this stage on a few other half marathons, all of them being during a half-iron triathlon. That should have been a clue... because today was just one long, painful, sluggfest.
So here I sit at the computer, post-ice bath, wearing long socks, Nathaniel's slippers, sweat pants, and three layers on the top. I'm enjoying a Diet Cherry Coke and bag (yes, bag) of Quaker Ranch Rice Cakes (not completely unhealthy, so I can justify going through the entire thing. And yes, I've already had my M&Ms...) And the real kicker? I'm more sore now than I was after Clearwater 70.3 last weekend. Go figure. But here's the report - enjoy!
Part I. Pre-race:
Got up around 4:45 this morning - early, yes, but I was just so excited to go. I love doing local races, as there is no pressure, and I can get home before noon. I can just go and do my thing, have a blast, meet new friends, go as fast (or as slow) as I want, and just enjoy the racing atmosphere minus the big-race stress. It was the last race of the season, so I wanted to be sure to give it my all. Had my pre-race breakfast of oatmeal, coffee, and a trip to the bathroom confirmed I was in for a good day and no stomach cramps or issues. Hurrah! Nathaniel got up (what a trooper) just after 5, and we were on the way by 5:30.
The drive out to Fort Walton Beach, FL was great. The sun was just under the horizon as we crossed the I-10 bridge past Milton. The water looked so calm and inviting - the kind of morning where I would really prefer to be out rowing in a single scull than running. Small wisps of fog were rising slowly from the clear waters, and the water's stillness was occasionally broken by a ripple from a submerged turtle or fish. It was beautiful, and I almost forgot that in a little while I would be racing my final event of the season.
True to form, Nathaniel got us there in record time. He's got a bit of a lead foot, while I drive at speeds comparable to an old lady. Which is why I prefer that he drives: we arrive with time to spare, and balance each other out pretty well. Sometimes I have to remind him to watch his speed, usually by saying something like I think that's a cop under the bridge or NO! We do not go 85 in a 65 zone! Because he recognizes that I can get a bit anxious, he usually slows down. Today he was great - we only saw 2 cops, and made great time.
I registered, met some other triathletes who live in the area (about 45 min to an hour from Pensacola), and waited for the start. About 45 minutes before the race was set to go, a few of my new triathlete friends asked if I wanted to warm-up with them. "How far are you going?" I asked, wondering why they were running so early.
"We're going about 3 or 4 miles."
I don't think so! I thought to myself. Instead I smiled and joked, "Wow, that sounds like 2 or 3 miles than I want to go - but have a great warm-up!" We all cracked a few jokes - as people before races inevitably do, and then they headed off. Later, I ended up going out for around 12 minutes or so, including not one but two stops in the woods. As there was only one port-o-potty to serve all the runners, I figured it would be easier to head into the shelter of the woods. Lots of privacy, and no lines. Oh yeah, and no sickly-sweet smell of the port-o-potty - yuck! After jogging 50 meters onto a pine-covered dirt road, I headed a few meters into the woods. Just as I was about to do my business, I heard a car rapidly approaching. Great! I thought as I stood up and made sure I was decent. I got myself out of the woods and back on the trail just as the car - the local sheriff's dept - came within sight. Wonderful - the cops saw me and I didn't get a chance to pee. Could I hold it? Negative. A 2 or 3 minutes' jaunt down the road, and into the woods I headed once again. Aha! Much better! Way more private, and I felt a lot better afterwards.
Back to the car, a quick temperature and clothes assessment (it was 37 degrees at the start of the race!), I snapped a picture of Nathaniel right before he woke up to accompany me to the start, and then we were off. The two of us walked the .1 miles to the starting line, surrounded by other excited runners and their families and/or friends. The atmosphere was electric! Everyone seemed nervous, but excited. Because the half-marathon was being run in conjunction with the 5k, everyone was going to start out together. Then, when the 5k runners hit their turnaround (a mere 1.5 miles up the road), they would head back while we continued on. I thought briefly about what a great feeling it would be if I were just running 20 minutes or so, but quickly pushed that thought aside. I had a goal: I wanted to break 1:30. I've never done it before, but with each half-ironman that I had done, I've set a new run pr. All season, I had watched my time go from 1:33 out in California, to 1:39 at Gulf Coast (okay, not faster, but it was HOT - 92 degrees with 80% humidity), and then two 1:31s at Timberman and Clearwater. I was SO CLOSE, I could almost taste it. This would undoubtedly be my last opportunity this season, and I wanted to make the best of it.
We shuffled to the start of the line, and the announcer made a few surprising last minute announcements. I didn't listen to the first few - Nathaniel wanted to take a picture of my pre-race excitement. I was just bouncing all over the place, I just wanted to GO GO GO. But then the race director repeated the announcements, and I was a bit surprised, to say the least. The first thing I noticed was the county sheriff, the same one who saw me creeping out of the woods. He didn't seem to recognize me, to say the least... perhaps he was distracted by the cigarette he was smoking. Kind of funny - you've got all these people getting ready to run a race, who for the most part are in-shape (or trying to get in shape), and then a guy who's smoking right behind the race director. Oh well. Just a bit of irony before a race, I suppose. Then the RD continued on. He mentioned that there would be 5 water stops, but the final 2 or 3 didn't have any people at them - just tables with water on them. So far so good.... Then he got a little more serious. We all quieted down and listened closely. Talking ceased when he mentioned that we might, just might hear gunfire or muzzle-loader shots in the woods during the half marathon. He assured us that we were safe, the hunters knew that there was a race going on, and that they would be careful not to point towards the road. I heard nervous laughter around me - I have already been through the "running/biking in the woods and hearing gunfire - don't wish to repeat those experiences again, thanks very much!!" - so I figured that as long as I was with other people, the chances of getting injured were slim. Like getting eaten by a shark in a triathlon - slim, but still possible (I suppose). After checking to make sure the port-o-potty was clear (there were sill 3 people in line), the RD got impatient and sent us off with a loud BWEEP! of the starting horn. We were off! (Minus the two ladies - one of whom is show below - waiting in line for the loo)
Part II. The Race:
The pace started out quickly, mostly as a result of the speedy 5k runners. The start was a bit crowded, but I soon worked my way through the dense bits and after a few minutes found myself at the front of a larger pack. I could see about 10 or 15 runners out ahead of me, and was surprised to not see any other women. Oh well, they were sure to show up at some point I figured.
My plan was to start out around a 7 minute per mile pace, and then slowly work my way down and negative split (if I could) the course. If I could get to the turn around point in 44:30 or 45 minutes even, and with relative ease, I knew I could beat my goal of 1:30. I was a little concerned about my left calf, as it has been sore all week - no doubt residual crap left in from my race last weekend. My massage therapist said everything checked out okay though, and that I should be great on Saturday. As I was running the first mile, I could feel it tighten a little, but nothing that made me alter my gait. It was just there for lack of a better word. Like a bee that hovers around your coke on a sunny day, nothing you can do about it (unless it stings you).
After the first mile in 6:50, the field began to rapidly thin out. I had a fun time being pre-occupied by picking off other runners who had started out at a slightly overzealous pace, and were paying for it now. Sorry guys I thought to myself It's gonna be a long run! But with every runner I passed, I wished them good luck, or told them that they were doing a great job. I know how awful it feels to start of fast only to fade by the end, and I would not wish that on anyone. Around the 1.5 mile mark, we came upon our first water station and the 5k turn around point. Suddenly I heard very heavy footsteps and raspy breathing over my left shoulder. Wow, I thought to myself someone sure is working hard! A quick peek out from under my cap (let's face it, you can't STARE at someone when they pass you - it gives up your game face...but you can tell them good job...just don't turn and look! At least that's what I've been told by coaches and other serious-runner types), confirmed it was another woman. Well, if she was breathing that hard, she could have it, for all I cared. Another 11.6 miles was (or whatever the distance was, I couldn't calculate it at that moment) a long way to go at that oxygen output. But when I saw what she did, I actually laughed out loud, and drew a few curious stares from some of the remaining runners around. She turned, looked directly at ME, and with a flourish, sprinted to the 5k turnaround and started gunning it for home, her arms flailing and sweat pouring down her made-up face (she went a tad heavy on the eye-liner, if you ask me). And I, well, I kept going. Beacuse I was in the "cool" group and running the 1/2 marathon. Good for her I thought, lady - you've got a lot to be proud of... you beat me by 2 seconds to the 5k turnaround. Way to go. From my standpoint, it was pretty funny. Even though it's a low-key race, people are SO serious!
One of the really great things I love about these low-key races, is how supportive most of the runners are towards each other. I chatted with a few guys as the field narrowed out, noted my 13:50 at the 2 mile mark, and decided to pick things up a bit. As I passed another two or three guys, we all exchanged pleasantries. One of them wanted to know what I was planning on running, and asked if it would be okay if he ran with me for a while. To which I replied, "Hop on the train!" I didn't mind, we chatted for a bit before I decided to pick up the pace up a hill, and he slowly dropped back. When I saw him after the turn around, he looked great!
Past another water stop at 3 miles, and a check of the watch confirmed my 20:37 3 mile time. I was a little over what I wanted to run, but it was still early at 3 miles in... the last thing I wanted to do was pr for my 10k...surly a bad omen for the final half of the race. I made a quick assessment of my body: calf was still tight, but loosening up nicely. The quads felt great, although a little sore from the pounding of the pavement, and the hamstrings were great. My heart rate is what concerned me the most. It was already in zone 4, very high for what it should have been at, give the weather conditions (40 degrees F... and I was in SHORTS!), and my recent taper/peak last weekend. However my perceived exertion didn't feel all that high, only something around the upper zone 2, maybe lower zone 3. I felt comfortable, like I could hold this pace. However, I was afraid of blowing up in 5 or 6 miles, as my oxygen starved muscles started producing more and more lactate, and would no longer be able to handle the work output that my body was so desperately trying to maintain. I decided that because it was the last race of the season, this would be as good of a reason as any to try new things, go out on a limb, and test my limits. What the heck?
So with that, I stopped looking at my heart rate - not all together, I checked it every mile or so, just to make sure I wasn't blowing up or it wasn't rapidly spiking. Interestingly, it remained pretty much constant for the entire duration of the race.
Mile 4 and 5 passed and faded into memory. I could see 4 or 5 guys ahead of me, but at this point there weren't any other runners around. I passed another water station, this time with no volunteers. Which made me even more appreciative of all the volunteers who donate their time at these races. I had a few moments to decide if I would run through with or without water. I decided that by NOT taking water, I was only hurting myself. It was a split decision, but one I'm glad that I made. I had almost caught up to guy #5, but as I pulled over, watched him pull away. As quickly as I could I grabbed a paper cup from the stack, filled it with water, and was sipping and running as best as I could. Just before the water station, I had managed to take in about 1/2 a gel pack, so I alternated between sips of water and the rest of the gel. Well, actually it didn't go quite like that. I managed to get a few tiny sips while running before most of the water sloshed all over my face. (For that matter, I am always so impressed when I see the professional runners/triathletes sipping water through aid stations. They make it look so easy! But after one or two futile sips on my part, half of the water is already on my shirt or up my nose. Oh well.)
By mile 6 I caught up to guy #5, and caught a glimpse of the first place male running in the opposite direction. My time of 40:42 felt great, not too difficult, and if I would be able to keep this pace up, I could cruise in around 1:29 or just under 1:30. Guy #5 and I chatted for a while. It turns out that we knew a runner from Jacksonville, a really fast gal who ran at Florida and coached his wife. After a while he asked what I was trying to run, and when I told him my response, he said that he would keep tempo as long as he could. He was, unfortunately, having a "bad" day. He had originally hoped to go under 1:20, which he had done before, but a long car trip and late work afternoon on Friday had left him cramped, depleted, and tired. But he was a great sport and I could feel the tempo pick up just as we passed the half way mark.
Hit the turn around in 44:05. Excellent! Game on - now time to maintain!
Guy #5 fell back pretty quick after the turnaround, and after wishing him good luck, I once found myself alone.
One of the wonderful things about an out-and-back course, is that you are able to see the other runners heading towards the turn-around as you're on the way back. I wished a hearty "Good Luck" and bellowed "Good Job, you're looking GREAT!" to as many of the other runners as I could. Why the heck not? So many of them were urging me on, telling me I was the first female and that I was doing a great job. "You GO GIRL!" was a common theme, it seemed. But I didn't mind: we were all out there, running the same course, united in our desire to finish, to succeed, to survive. We were doing this because we wanted a challenge, we wanted to push ourselves. It wasn't all about setting a pr or winning the race: just being out there, pursuing a goal, working towards that finishing line, persevering - was all that it took. I fed off the energy from these other runners, and tried to give out as much encouragement as I could. I would really need it in the last 4 miles...
Right as I sailed past mile 7, one of the runners behind me slowly came up to my shoulder. After talking for a few minutes, I asked him if it was okay if I tucked in behind him, as the wind was a little higher on the way back. The headwind wasn't bad, just draining and never-ending. And as the road had no significant bends or turn in it, it would be a long trip back battling the wind. He said, "SURE!" and was off. I tucked in as best as I could, and forced myself to concentrate on his leg turnover. Just hang with him for another mile or two, just a little longer. Because you know what'll happen if you don't: You'll be by yourself. The connection will be lost. And the race will be 10X more difficult. You MUST maintain contact. Just run!
I still was shouting encouragement to the runners passing the other direction, but I noticed (to my horror) that my breathing had become much more ragged, and it was a lot harder for me to speak. Could it be that I had blown up already? Was I paying for my own overzealous pace? Was my body sending me a message of "No More!"?? My running buddy asked how I was doing, to which I choked, "Hanging in there!" He could tell that I wasn't a happy camper, but did his best to encourage me. He said that he was aiming for 1:30, so we could run together for a while. He went on to comment that he had been running behind me for the entire first half of the run, so it was only natural that I should run behind him. He was fantastic, and I was cheered by his positive outlook.
Because I had just hit a new world of pain. Long gone were my thoughts of floating above the pavement and my vision of discovering "the zone" was replaced by the pounding of my heart, laboured breathing, and sharp pains running up and down my legs. I thought briefly to my 1/2 marathon run at Timberman and Clearwater - both 1:31, and so effortless. Yes, I was working my rear end off, but I felt great in the process, like the first part was easy and then the pace just got faster and faster and faster. During those races, I kept passing people the entire time: as soon as one target was run down, another was established on my radar. This race was different. I had just been passed by a guy running the same pace with very little visible stress on his part, was in a lot of pain, and had very few other runners to run down. There were maybe 5 or 6 in front of me, and then the rest of the field behind. For the first time since January (when I ran my last half marithon without the swimming and biking beforehand), I began to feel truly awful while running. We passed mile 8 around 54 minutes, which meant I had just run the last 1.5 miles in 10:05. Not bad, but I was feeling the effects. For the first time in the race, I became afraid. What if I can't do this? I thought. And then my fear turned to panic, and I became downright negative, forced to deal with my own demons. What if I don't go under 1:30? Here I am, and I can barely keep up with this guy who's making this look like a run in the park. I'm an awful runner, I'm going to DIE in the woods, gel in hand, calf seized up, and I'll never hit the finish. This was a stupid idea, why the hell would I want to "do a fun half marathon" a mere week after the 70.3 World Championships? What normal person does this? This is crazy, a complete display of idiocy at its best. I will not succeed.
I knew this was the wrong way to think, but I just didn't know how to stop. I was surprised at how quickly the negative thinking came out, how quickly I went from feeling fine to feeling like my legs were going to quit at any moment and that I would no longer be able to finish. I had fallen into the trap of making my self worth equal to that of my physical performance. If I don't hit x time, then I'm an awful person who doesen't deserve to run. As soon as I realized I was doing this, I tried to buck out of it. I focused on the yellow race flats of the guy infront of me, and tried to settle into my rhythm. Just keep the connection until that tree... until that road sign...until mile 9. Focus, just stay connected.
The next 5 minutes were agony, and it was all I could do to not look at my watch. When I saw the unmanned water station at mile 9, I told my companion I was going to grab a drink, but that he should have a great rest of the race, and that at this rate, he would break 1:27, let alone 1:30. His quick nod and word of encouragement were all that I needed, and before I knew it, I was at the table.
Again, I fumbled for the cup, caught my breathing, but was off and running before my body could register the fact that it had momentarily stopped. It was simply too tempting. If I stopped for too long, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to start. I folded the edges of my cup together, had about 1/2 of my second gel, and sipped as I ran. It wasn't all that bad.... and the funny thing is, is that I noticed a rapid improvement in my mood. I wasn't running any slower than before, and sure, I didn't have my friend blocking the wind, but I actually felt better! I didn't quite know what to think of this. In retrospect, the only thing I can come up with is that I struggled in his shadow, plagued by self-doubt and pain. His lack of effort made my pain all the more unbearable and real. However, when I was out of his draft and running on my own, I managed to start closing the gap, gradually picking up time - all while my percieved work effort was lower. At this point in the race, my legs were in so much pain that I didn't have the heart to look at my heart rate. I knew it would be high, but I thought that if I just held on for another 30 minutes, it would all be over.
Oddly enough, I have been schooled so many times about maintaining contact with the pack, staying with the other runners. I've seen so many runners fall back from group 1, only to be swallowed by group 2. If they're lucky they hang with the second pack, if not, they get chewed up and spat out the back, left to carry out alone. But for the first time in my life, I felt better running by myself, rather than with another person. Undoubtedly it would have been less work for me to tuck up behind him, avoiding the wind and maintaing that ever-so-important physical connection. But I was amazed at how much better mentally I felt while running on my own. No longer did I have to conentrate on him, his effort, his steps, his lack of laboured breathing, but instead I could focus on all the positive things I was doing. Sure, I hurt, and yes my legs were seriously beginning to protest - especially the quads - but on my own I simply felt better. I'm still trying to work that one out, but I'm pretty amazed by it. (In the end, he ended up beating me by about 45 seconds, but I kept him in sight the entire way)
Mile 10. Legs? Check. Breathing? Double Check. Calf? Not feeling anything, so presumably okay. Check. Stomach? Intact, but sore from maintaining my PROUD running form (shoulders back, chest out to promote better O2 intake, tummy tucked in supporting the back). Check. Cadence? Around 93 bpm... check. Pain level? Off the chart, but I've come to temrs with the fact that this was never supposed to be pleasant "run through the woods", so I'm willing to put up with another 3 miles of discomfort. But seriously, ouch. My quads were killing me, and about 3 miles back I had decided to forego looking at my hr monitor for fear of how high the numbers would be.
With each step, I could feel the impact in my quads. Usually it's the hamstrings that take the blunt when I run, but today it was the quads. My body was NOT happy that I had decided to push it to such extremes, and it was letting me know in every possible way. Just hang in there. 2.5 miles to go. Just wait until the 5k turn around mark and then you can think of crazy 5k lady who wanted to beat you! She could never gut out what you've just done: she would have wilted 100 meters past the 5k turnaround point. Just keep going. You see the guys up ahead, just stay connected. Focus. Relax. Breath. In 17 minutes, this will all be over. When you hit the 2 mile mark, you get to think about running 12 minute pieces, because that's how many miles you covered during the last peice... just one step infront of the other. Ignore the pain, push it aside. No wait! You know it's there, accept the fact, but use it to HELP you run faster. Think MIND OVER MATTER! If I don't mind, then it won't matter. The only thing on my mind, the only thing that matters is going under 1:30. The Pain? Bring it on. I don't mind, and it doesen't matter. It will NOT get in my way. 2.5 miles and my season is officially over. All the hard work, all the intervals, long runs, long training days, all the heartbreak, the celebration, the blood sweat and tears, all down to this final 2.5 miles. Let yourself go and fly - you Will do this, you Will. Just believe. And go. Because you're running out of time. But you can do it. Just go. Keep going. Mind over MATTER!
I gritted my teeth. I dug in. I pushed beyond my screaming quads, beyond my knotted calf, beyond my raspy breaths, and found a new zone. It wasn't the pleasant, "floting" zen-like state I had so hoped for. It was a hellish demention, saved only for those enduring self-induced agony, self-inflicted torture. For I didn't know what was worse: not going under 1:30 when I was so close, or giving into the pain.
I passed the water stop at 2 miles to go. Grabbed a cup, sloshed most of it on my face, and did a watch check. I don't remeber my time, maybe a little over 1:14 or so. I was trying to do the math - so simple now while I type, but at the time seemed like a Hurculean Task given that my Oxygen was going towards my starved muscles. I strained my eyes down the road: I could nearly see the 5k turnaround point...just 3 minutes away. So close, like a mirage. I kept running and running. And running. But no matter how hard I went, no matter how much pain my quads were in, it seemed to keep moving backwards. What the hell? I was so close, so close! I would not loose this now. It was too much.
Finally, I came to the 5k mark. Just a little more. 10 minutes. You can do anything for 10 minutes. Focus on the guys ahead. They're just up the road. You've been holding the same pace for the past 3 miles, why should they be that far ahead? Close the gap! Because you can! Because you've earned it! Because they worked off of you in the first half! Because you can!
From somewhere deep within, I found another zone, shifted forward and felt my speed increase. For every 100 feet they would take, I would close the gap by 5 or 10 feet at a time. At this point, I didn't care if I beat them or not. I just wanted to stay connected. While I didn't want to run right behind them, I wanted to know that they were within reach. That I could do it, if I needed to. That the end truly was in sight, that I was almost done with this hellish experience.
1 mile to go.
My quads were beyond finished. The sharp stabs of pain had been replaced by indifference. I simply didn't care. They were going to hurt, and there was nothing I could do about it, except keep running. I noticed landmarks from my warm-up, and was happy that the final segment was on a slight downhill. My quads protested, but I kept hammering away. It didn't matter, as I was a woman on a mission. This was the one goal that had elluded me all season, and I wasn't about to give up now, not that I was so close. I could taste it.
1/2 mile to go. 3 minutes and change. A peek at my watch confirmed I was going to go under 1:30, unless something seriously went wrong.
But I hurt. I was in agony. I looked like shit, probably smelled like it too, and it was all I could do to keep going. Stopping wasn't an otpion. I was so focused on the finish, so focused on those final moments of agony, trying desperately to stay connected, to stay in reality. Mind over matter! I kept reminding myself. I noticed the curve ahead in the road, and thought for a brief moment that I could hear the Race Director announcing the finishers ahead of me. In reality, I was probably hallucinating, lost in my own world of pain. But I was sure I could hear something. I noticed the path that I had tried to pee on, out towards the right. And then I came to the slight bend in the road, another trail heading out towards my left. A sign read "Archery Range. No guns, No Dogs." For some reason this stuck with me, and I wondered if people who use bows and arrows have dogs or guns. What if you bring your dog hunting and use a bow and arrow? Is it illegal to use a bow&arrow on a gun range? I caught myself drifting and instead focused forward. I saw the lone port-o-potty that signaled the "Start" line, and knew that I only had .1 miles left to go. Wonderful, here I was focused on The John and hunters. NO! Focus on the Race! I was right at 1:27 something when I hit this point, and it was all that I could do to maintain my form and keep moving forward. I had started to come upon parked cars, and I could hear the cheers from the crowd as I made my way towards the finishing chute. Just a few more steps...
My vision became tunneled, as I focused on the finish line, a wonderous place that signaled the end of one type of agony and the beginning of another. I was in so much pain, but at the same time focused on reaching the end of my destination, seeing my final season-goal come true. I saw the clock tick over 1:28, and it was all I could do to keep from falling over as I crossed.
I had finished.
I hit my stop button on my watch, and gasped for air. Big breathfulls of it, filling up my deprived lungs with oxygen.
And then the pain hit. For such a long time I was focused on finnishing, on stopping, that once I did, I had nothing else left to focus on except the pain. But I had finished. I was done. I had beaten my own demons, had grown in the process, and was proud of the effort I put forth.
In the end, I ran 1:28:10. Good enough for 1st place female, and 6th or 7th overall.
Part III. Conclusion
My legs felt like jelly. I was in serious pain. For some reason, I feel better when swimming and biking a long ways before running a half marathon. Next time I decided to do a race like this "for fun" I'll read this blog. It was not fun, nor was it easy. But I am so glad that I did it. I accomplished my goals, and finished my season on a really positive note. When I told Ludi how awful I felt, her response was, "What did you expect? 1:28 hurts. End of story. What did you expect? period." And she was right.
I hobbled around, finished off the other half of both gel packs, took in some water, and did my best to stretch out my legs. It was painful, but I was extatic. I made sure to thank some of the guys who were ahead, and as many volunteersas I could find, and had a great time watching the other runners finish.
Overall, it was a great race. Not as easy as I had hoped, but what did I truly expect? And besides, if I had just cruised the entire way, I don't know if I would have felt that I had worked to my full potential. Today I put that thought to rest: I worked my tail end off, and my body responded accordingly.
Thanks to Nathaniel for his wonderful support. I know it's not always fun for him to come to the races with me, but I really appreciate his support nonetheless. Plus, I got in a really good nap (during the short!) car trip home.
And by the way, did I mention that I was sore? Double Ouch. Now I'm going to go take a second dose of Motrin, maybe have another glass of wine, and enjoy some more M&Ms. Time to really start celebrating the off season. And my new pr. Yea!!!