Race day has come and gone and I survived!
Rachel picked me up around 6:30 and we were at the start line by 7:15. I took ibuprofen and Imodium, at my Kix and vanilla stingers waffle, stretched out a little, took some pictures, found Charlie and the boys, lined up and took off.
My first mile was around an 8:30, which was too fast, but I felt pretty good. The first 1.5 miles were through the park, then we ran up Mill street and entered The Dam. It was 5 miles straight out, then turn around and run 5 miles straight back. The race finished with the same 1.5 miles through the park and back to the finish line.
My goal going into the race was to finish between 2:00-2:05, though I would have been ecstatic to finish in less than 2 hours. My final time was 2:04:09, 8/42 in my age group, 57/350 women and 178/618 overall. I beat the course, the foremost goal of the day.
Something happened during the race that I'd never experienced before. I made the mistake of thinking that the gu I ate on my training runs didn't really make that big of a difference so I didn't take any with me for the race. I had five chomps with me, but for some ridiculous reason I only ate one of them and by the time I ate it, it was already too late. My calves were cramping and my toes were tingling... definitely dehydrated. I ran with my water bottle but ran through the Gatorade stops without taking any. I honestly don't know what I was thinking! I hit a wall unlike I've ever experienced on any run ever and all of a sudden my finish time didn't matter at all - I just wanted to finish. Around mile 10 I almost quit. Like, for real. I considered texting Charlie and telling him that I quit. Remembering Owen and Eli running 3 and 2 miles on Friday night is the only thing that kept me moving forward. I almost cried at mile 12.8 because I couldn't see the finish line. I crossed the line, got my medal and promptly laid down on the ground because I was losing control of my muscles. Dehydrated for sure.
In the end, I walked 7 separate times for a total of about 5-5.5 minutes. I know that I could have finished in less than 2 hours, but that doesn't take away from my feeling of accomplishment, especially since I kept going when I wanted to badly to stop.
Some things I learned:
- FUEL!! Fuel before I think I need to and take the sports drinks instead of just water
- Bring something that I actually want to eat after the race. They had food, but it was cold pizza and chicken strips, which was the very last thing I could have stomached that morning
- It was a great idea to have more than one goal/focus for the race. If I would have just had a rigid '2 hour' goal then I would have felt so discouraged after I realized that I wasn't going to make it. Having a goal of finishing was a great place to start!
- Train my brain more for the course. I knew this was an out-and-back scenic race but I did most of my training runs through neighborhoods with tons of turns and things to look at and distract me. I wasn't ready for the boredom of running straight for that long.
- Organize my play list before the race! I downloaded all kinds of new songs just for that morning but didn't delete old ones so I hardly got to listen to any of them : (
- Reminding myself to run easy, light and smooth helped to distract me from the distance
- Focus on one mile at a time, not the whole remainder