How do I celebrate Valentines Day?
Well, 11 years ago, I brought my sweet little girl into the world.
This year, I ran a marathon.........
In Charlotte, I did not meet my goal of sub-4, so I thought I would give it another chance. To do this, I had to recover from the Thunder Road Marathon, ramp back up my miles, and taper......all in 8 weeks.
Well here I am. Packing up for my 9th marathon. I have to admit I do not feel prepared for this marathon. However, looking back, I am more prepared for this than ever.
The phone rings. It is the school calling me to tell me my 11 year old baby girl is in the nurses office.....with a fever. AHHHHHH! Now I may be stressed. Breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out.
We drop off the dog, pick up the girls, pick up Peggy (my Mother-in-law), and head over to Myrtle Beach. I eat pasta with very little marinara and chicken. Then around 1950, I head to bed.
THE MORNING OF:
Well my alarm was set for 0400. It did not go off! I wake up in a panic at 0418. I fix some coffee and spend some time with the Lord asking for His blessings on this day. I pray for a sub 4 for me and Ricky, who I will be running with. Then I realize....I HAVE A HEADACHE! I make the decision to take some Advil. My head is killing me and I will have to chance an upset stomach b/c I cannot run with my head hurting.
I pack up everything and my sweet husband, Matt, gets up and we head out. We get to the race start and begin the search for Ricky and his crew. I then get sidetracked by the port-a-jons. One last stop to the potty b/4 the race.
Find Ricky and friends, kiss Matt goodbye, then lineup at the start. I look at Ricky and say, "It may not be a good sign that we are standing here in shorts and a t-shirt at 0630 and we are nice and warm."
BRING IT ON:
Here is the course layout!
At 0630, we begin the race. It takes us a few seconds to get across the starting line so my chip time is behind my clock time. I am running with Ricky, and a friend of his named Jason. Like always, there are tons of people who have lined up wrong. So the passing, weaving, and trying to keep up with Ricky begins. We pass mile 1, mile 2....Starting to warm up. Well it is warm and humid so we were warm when we started. By mile 3 we were in our groove and it was starting to get light out. We passed the mile 14 mark and I looked at Ricky and Jason and said, we will have to pass this again.
Mile 4, I took my 1st 1/2 of a gel. We turned on Ocean Blvd and started toward the Pavilion. I really enjoyed this part of the run. Lots of things to look at and lots of crowd support. Jason and I have now started a game. At the water stops, we try to throw our cups into the trash can. We both got several "rim shots". I even had an assist with a volunteer.
At mile 8ish, we turn and head back to the 1/2 marathon mark. The official results show I hit mile 8 at 1:14.....however, I don't think this is right. I hit mile 7 around 59 minutes and I know it did not take me another 15 minutes to get to mile 8. Also, at this point, Ricky had just looked at me and said we were doing 8:34 MPM....So not sure what was up with this.
At mile 8ish a girl runs up beside me and Jason and asks if she can run with us. Oh yeah, the more the merrier! We hang the rest of the marathon together. Her name is Gay.
I hit mile 13.1 at 1:54. This is correct. I saw it on my watch. This is about the same time I hit the 1/2 way mark in Charlotte.
However, I feel good this time.
At this point, Gay and I start counting down. At each mile marker, we yell out how many miles we have left.
We pass the mile 14 marker...again. Gay and I yell 12 more miles. I look at Ricky and say we are passing mile 14 marker again, but this time we are really at mile 14. WOOT!
At this point, I think Gay and I pick up the pace. She was listening to her Ipod. I had mine, but decided not to turn it on until the hard times hit. The miles start passing by quickly....at mile 16 I look at Gay and say, now we get to single numbers.
At mile 17, I know I have been running at a faster pace than normal. I make the decision to break out the Ipod. Oh, yeah baby. Take another gel and suck it up and run.
At mile 19 Gay looks at me and asks if I think we can finish this thing in an hour. The clock says we hit this at 2:45. I told her that if we do this, I will qualify for Boston. Now the goal changes. My BQ is 3:45. I really feel good and look at Gay and say, "Why not, the worst that can happen is that we throw up".
Hit mile 20 at 2:54.57 clock time. WOW! Mile 20. I finish up a gel with caffeine and get H2O at the water stop. Gay and I yell, "6 more miles!"
At this point the miles start to get long. I say a prayer that God will give me the strength to finish well. I know that these miles can make or break the race.....so I decide to break down the wall! It isn't supposed to be easy!
At mile 22, I walk through the water stop b/c I am thirsty. Gay runs on. I can see her, but thought I can't catch up. I start to feel a cramp in my left calf. I knew if I did not slow down, I would cramp up and not finish the race. So I slowed down a bit. I knew I was right on the edge of a BQ, but that could wait until another day. It had started sprinkling a bit but I was hot and thirsty so this felt good.
At mile 25 the bottom drops out. It starts pouring the rain. I was ready to finish this thing and my calf was doing OK so I start running. I pass several people. I even catch up to Gay, who I had lost sight of. She tells me to run on and not wait for her.
I run past mile 26 and start through the finishing chute. I can see the finish line and I run as fast as my legs would go. I am smiling and laughing as I pass the finish line. My clock time was 3:51.40.
My chip time is 3:51.11! SUB 4 BABY!
Gay finishes right behind me. We hug and get a picture taken together.
Ricky also gets his sub 4! What a wonderful day! I see Ricky then loose him again. It is still pouring the rain and Matt has found me by now. So we go to the car and go eat! And that is why I run!
My ave pace was 8:51. I started out much faster, but as always, I slow a bit.
I thought this was a much easier course than Charlotte. I hydrated well during the race, even when I did not feel like it. I took my gels and drank my HEED. The Lord was with me every step of the way. I left it all on the course. WOW! I cannot believe I went sub 4! Am I dreaming?
NOW, Can I shave 6 minutes off my time for a BQ?