Sunday, October 6, 2013
Confession: I was terrified that this race was going to be one big failure. It had been a month and change since my injury, and therefore, besides one 4 mile run here and another 5 mile run there, I hadn’t run at all since late August. I had no idea and no way of figuring out how much endurance, muscle, etc. I had lost over the course of my injury. Heck, I didn’t even know if my ankle tendons were going to make it through 13.1 miles. This race was one big question mark looming over my head.
The race start was 8:00am, so I woke up on race day around 5:30am. I had my coffee, some peanut butter toast, and a glass of water, then Trae and I headed out. Traffic was a semi-nightmare getting off the interstate and I by the time Trae dropped me off as close as he could, I had approximately 8 min to find the bathrooms and be in my corral. I swear every single runner decides to get in line for the bathrooms within ten minutes of race start… I stood in line for what felt like forever! I finally made it to the starting area when they were calling for Corral 2.
When I had registered for the race, I was
hoping expecting to finish between 2:00 – 2:10, so my bib said Corral 3. I certainly didn’t expect to finish with that time with the conditions I was dealing with. I went ahead and started with them anyways.
The easiest way for me to explain the race is to breakdown my thoughts by mile:
Mile 1: Be careful with the ankle, be careful with the ankle, be careful with the ankle. I was obsessed with making sure it felt okay.
Me being so careful took over my brain and I went out with a 9:something mile. Not really how I planned for that to go. Adrenaline must have been pumping. Between miles 1 and 2, there is a bridge that you have to go up to cross over I-664. This was just about the only significant elevation change, nothing I would even consider a hill, except on the way back during mile 12. Everything is a hill at that point.
Mile 2 – 4: Not feeling a thing so far, fingers crossed.
Mile 5/6: Had a happy moment, when I finally realized that my ankle wasn’t hurting at all and I was definitely going to finish this race. Ate a few Starbursts.
Mile 7 – 9: Wow! Look at this view!!! (Unfortunately, I didn’t have the patience at this point to pull my phone out of my arm band to snap a picture… we were running directly alongside the James River/Chesapeake Bay, not exactly sure what they consider it, they connect at this area.) The sky was clear, no clouds, and no shade. It had been like this from the start, but it was REALLLLYYYYY beating down at this point and I was feeling it, I started getting heat goosebumps every now and then. Whenever this would happen I would slow down and walk about a tenth of a mile. I wasn’t taking chances of getting sick or passing out. I was trying so hard to find enjoyment in the view and the folks that were cheering us on. This street was definitely the most pleasant, the families in the houses were all out in lawn chairs, having their coffee, some even had ladders in the street with a sprinkler on top spraying the runners. They were definitely supportive of us runners. To all the Chesapeake Ave. residents: your cold water, pretzels, and skittles were very much appreciated!!
Mile 10: I found a “little while friend.” We were running next to each other and about the same pace so I asked her if she minded that I ran next to her for a while. She laughed and told me she needed somebody to talk to so she was glad I asked. I definitely needed this distraction. I was sweating my butt off and the sun was killing me. (Silly me, didn’t think I’d need a hat or sunglasses…) Eventually the heat goosebumps hit me again and I told her good luck and goodbye and started to walk for a few minutes.
Mile 11 – 12: Back over I-664. This teensy tiny uphill on the way into the race seemed gigantic at the end. I just wanted to be done and at the finish line. The heat was really hitting me and by this point I could feel that my legs hadn’t run in a while. My ankle was still in good shape, not hurting at all, but my muscles in general were punishing me for putting them through this after a hiatus. At the beginning of Mile 11 I texted Trae to start heading to the finish line. I’m so glad I looked at my phone at this point. I had text messages from different people who knew I was running and had wished me luck. It was definitely motivating.
Mile 13: I think I was seriously delirious. All I remember is hearing my name, looking over, and seeing my boyfriend Trae running along with me (mind you, on the other side of the cones). He had his phone out video taping me finishing. I remember hearing someone on the other side of me say, “What is that guy doing?! It’s way too hot to be doing that if you aren’t in the race!” I wanted to look at him and say, I bet your significant other would LOVE it if you did that from him or her! Trae running next to me was just what I needed. The finish line photographers actually caught this moment, of me laughing at Trae.
Mile .1: Just like anyone who wants to be finished, I started sprinting. Not that I was racing to win, but it feels good to have a strong finish, even if it’s only worth a few seconds. I just wanted that damn wash cloth!! Seriously though, whoever decided to start handing ice-cold wash cloths out at the end of races, you deserve a medal. BEST FINISHER’S ITEM EVER… hahaha
I finished the race in 2:27:38. Not a PR, not what I planned, not what I was aiming for, but… I am definitely OK with this time. For not having run in close to a month and a half, having a just recovered injury, and the heat, I’ll definitely take this time. Had these circumstances been different, I know that I would have gotten a PR. I can’t wait to go into my next half, trained and ready to run like crazy.
Overall, this race was both frustrating and needed. I needed that push to get me motivated again. I needed to know that I hadn’t lost everything. I needed to feel the excitement of the race to get me going and looking forward to another race. But, it was also very frustrating in that it didn’t go as originally planned. I hated having to walk more than just the water stops. I hated feeling like I was struggling.
It worked though. I am already coming up with a training plan to possibly run the Shamrock Marathon in March 2014. I am also thinking about sneaking in another half this fall. It’s a little late but the Virginia Running Festival Half, Norfolk Freedom Half, and the Outer Banks Half Marathon are all on the exact same day. All three are equally appealing and all three are being debated.
Anyone who has participated in these races, feel free to comment about your experience and give your opinion!!