|(my first race with no goofy pre-race "running" pose...)|
I didn't eat well last night (beans and tortilla chips), but I had been eating well all week long, really watching to make sure I'm getting the "right" amount of (good) food. Although I did have a serious workout Thursday, my legs felt great. Friday night I started sneezing and by Saturday morning I had a full blown cold. I haven't been sick for a while so I'm blaming it on the flu shot I got on Tuesday.
I haven't been eating before long runs and they've been going well, so that's the path I took this morning. I had not decided if I would take a water bottle because although I like having water on demand, I really hate carrying it, but I took one just in case, along with 2 Gu packets.
The marathon training group met up to run a 2 mile warm up, which didn't feel all that great. My nose was stopped up and my mouth felt like cotton. I talked to a coach who had offered to pace me about my race strategy--try to aim for 9:00 miles, and then hope to increase speed toward the end. The course is pretty hilly, but the weather was nice... I felt like I should be able to push for that pace and he agreed.
Just before start time I sucked down a Gu and some water. I had my water bottle, but at the last minute I decided to leave it behind.
The director really needed a MUCH louder bull horn because no one past the first few people on the start line could hear a word of the announcements...but we had no trouble whatsoever hearing the GUN go off to start the race!!! Just as we got started running well, my Dixie Daredevil Captain (Turtle as far as this blog goes) ran up beside me. My race plan changed.
All of the sudden, all I wanted was to BEAT HER!! I knew she's gotten faster, and has been doing really well, however I felt like I could take her!! I announced this plan to my coach as well as Turtle! She's as competitive as I am so I felt like it would make for a good race. She told me her plan was to run with her coach (in the 13.1 program) at a 9:30-9:00 pace. Perfect. I could run with her and take her down at the end.
Or so I thought. She was feeling particularly strong (as most people do at the start of a race). I should have known better, but I tried to stay with her....until maybe about mile 3, which we hit at 26:00. (I had not been looking at my watch and had no idea what pace we'd been running, I just knew I didn't think I could hold it for another 6.3 miles, and when I heard the split, my thought was confirmed.) She slowly started moving away from me....but I kept my eye on her.
My coach had kept a solid pace so he caught back up with me. He reminded me I needed to run my own race, not allow Turtle to control my day. Although I agreed with him, I kept her within the take-down zone. After another mile or so I think he realized that and told me if we stayed steady, we'd real her in. I wasn't sure at that point but I had hope.
I didn't look at the pace on my watch at all because I felt like I was staying steady. Although I didn't think I was running a 9:00 pace, I felt like I was giving all I had. Looking at my watch wasn't going to be any help at all. At each of the water stops (a total of 2-one of which is on the way out and back, so really 3) I walked about 10 steps to sip some water. (I still haven't learned how to drink out of a cup while running.) Other than that, up hills and down hills, I just kept moving, while staying singly focused on Turtle's back, looking for any sign of weakness. My hope was to stay behind her until I could see the finish then I planned to kick in my sprint to move ahead of her.
About mile 7.5 (I think) a woman who I thought was in my age group (but who had a birthday recently and moved up) passed me...looking VERY STRONG...and then she passed Turtle, who wasn't too far ahead at that point. I think about mile 8 Turtle was only about two steps in front of me. I reconsidered my earlier strategy of waiting to overtake her at the finish. When my coach passed her, so did I. At about mile 8.5 a guy from my training group caught up with me...and passed me about after about a quarter mile. I wanted to stay with him, but I was struggling. He, on the other hand, was talking.
About mile 9, I was in front of Turtle, behind the guy in my group was just in front of me...my coach was somewhere right behind me (I thought), the girl who passed me back at mile 7.5 was out of sight. I wanted to speed up, but didn't feel like I could. About that time I had a SEARING PAIN in my foot/ankle. (It was in the bottom of my left foot, on the outside edge, like from the ankle straight down to the underside of the foot.) My first thought was that I needed to stop, but I realized I was only about a quarter mile from the finish so I HAD to get there. It didn't keep hurting as bad as that initial pain so I figured it was fine.
We rounded the corner and the finish was in sight...I had no idea what kind of kick Turtle might have in her so I put the target on my training buddy's back....and PUSHED IT IN as hard as I could. I ALMOST had him. If we'd had just a few more yards I might have been able to overtake him, but as it was he finished a second ahead of me. (My time was 1:24:49....a 9:06 pace.)
Yes...I beat Turtle!! :D
I was supposed to run another 4.5 miles to get in my full 16...but my foot was KILLING ME so I skipped it. I ate a banana, watched the awards to see what I want to shoot for next year (!!) and went home to ice my foot. Can I just say I HATE HATE HATE icing anything other than cold drinks?? Putting my foot in a bucket of ice water HURT and was excruciatingly painful. I managed 15 minutes and that was it. It still hurts, but at least nothing else does! I have no idea what's going on with it, but if it's still hurting tomorrow, I'm going to the doctor. I'm not going to run until it's not hurting. (It honestly feels like a pre-injury pain, not just like something is sore.)
I really enjoyed this race.
I truly enjoy racing...not just running, but RACING. I like having someone to BEAT. I like the competition aspect of it. I have a STRONG desire to improve (which I have and I am).
I met every goal I set for this race--keep a fairly steady pace (although miles 2 and 3 were too fast) that was faster than I train (I have seemed to run races about the same pace I train at--no longer!!), finish in the top half of my age group (11/26), under 1:30...and added after the start, to beat Turtle!!
Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!!