My last post discussed the chaos of getting the 3 of us together. If you missed it, you can check it out here. This long post (sorry for the length) is about the actual 13.1 miles.
By far this was the largest race (number of participants, number of spectators, and number of miles). It took nearly 3 minutes and 30 seconds to get from corral N to the starting line (which I've heard far worse horror stories like 45 minutes from the corral to the starting line at May 2010's Indy Mini - yikes!) A little note about corrals - I like them! Why? Well, I was surrounded by my "peers" - people who are in the race for the same type of reason I am - to be healthy, to do their best, to finish, and to have fun (or as much fun as one can have at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning running 13 miles).
The weather was absolutely ideal! A little cool, a little breezy, but beautiful sunshine and gorgeous. Truly fabulous - couldn't have asked for anything better!
Piece of cake. These 4 miles were extremely enjoyable. The road was quite crowded with participants (I have read others in faster corrals talk about how it thinned - that's because all us pokies were together in the back - smile). We did a lot of zig zagging to get around people, but really just enjoyed finding our pace, seeing the spectators, thanking the volunteers, and taking in the whole experience. "L" and I walked the first 1.25 miles and then began the 2 minutes running and 1 minute walking interval.
I had really thought that we were going to cross Calhoun and go on the greenway (glad we didn't because it would have been JAMMED) so "L" and I were pretty bummed that we had to run on the boring Tillman, but we were engaged in talking (we had refrained from prolonged conversations all week so that we would have plenty to discuss during the race). We finally turned onto the greenway and that felt like "home" since we had trained there 4 other times. It seemed to go pretty quickly too. Again, there were LOTS of participants around us so we traded places with one another as we were on a run then we walked while they ran and so on. There were about 20 people with whom we were a block of each other for the entire race (a girl with a sunflower in her hair from Kentucky - she LOVED hills; 2 from Team World Vision - no idea what that was, but they sure did have a lot of signs and morale support along the course; 3 older ladies with blue shirts; 2 men who were also confused about where we were around mile 10; and others). We have bonked at mile 10.5 on each of training runs so we decided to be diligent about eating our tropical punch Clif Bloks (thanks "C" for getting them for me a couple of weeks ago). We ate some around mile 5, then again around mile 7, and then at mile 9. No bonking during this race for us! We continued using our 2:1 interval during this entire time. My mom and dad had driven to an intersection in the Old Mill neighborhood to cheer us on. My mom brought her cow bell and rang it loudly so I could know she was there. She took some photos. We eventually came back up on South Wayne and there were my parents at the same cross road on the other side - cow bell and camera in hand. That was really neat to see. I had expected them earlier in the race, and when I didn't see them I just figured they had abandoned the plan due to traffic and road closures.
I'm not going to say this was hard, but . . . it was really challenging. There are hills in the Old Mill neighborhood that really can fatigue a person's leg muscles and mind. We had walked through just a couple of intervals during these miles. Going into the water station just north of Rudisill I had asked "L" if we could take an extra walk and she said no, we could do it after the next run. I was in front of her by a couple of steps at this point and I started crying - I then started telling myself to "hold it together". My who-ha hurt and inner thigh were hurting pretty badly at this point and I just hung my hope on a little respite. It wasn't really the end of the world and even though I might have been mentally losing it a little, I still knew I could do it. Ironically, it was those 2 minutes of running that felt the most comfortable so I told "L" we could just skip the extra walk for now - which she said too bad, we're taking it.
Miles 10-11.5 (or there about):
This was the most entertaining part of the race. What made it so fun? First, I had no idea where we were (Kimberly @ HealthyStrides had a similar experience as well). Additionally, there was awesome music being played from portable speakers ("We built this city on Rock & Roll"); block parties with tons of people outside cheering; costumed characters at the last water station; and free beer shots (not race sponsored) on the left side of the road just past the last water station - I said "beer shots?" The 2 guys said "heck yeah, why not you're almost done". I didn't have one, but how fun were those guys having!
Miles 11.5-12.5 (or there about):
At this point "L" was behind me, but fortunately our friend "M" found us and alternated going between "L" and myself. I had known exactly where he would be, but was so surprised when I saw him. I guess I hadn't realized where I was on the course. It was GREAT to have him with us. He was supportive and added some much needed conversation. At about the 12.5 mile mark I stopped running one minute into my 2 minute interval. "M" came up to me and I explained I was walking -we discussed how much further. When my beeper went off I asked "M" if he thought I could run the rest - he said "yes" so I did. I told him I was going to run the last 9 minutes - he said, "I'll go back and tell L".
Miles 12.5-12.9 (or there about):
There were some finishers on the sidewalk wearing their medals and I said "I want one of those." They said some encouraging words and although I was scared I had started my continuous running too soon, I thought, nope, I'm going to do this. Just then "M" came up beside me and gave me a high 5 - yep, I'm going the distance now!
Miles 12.9-13.1 (or there about):
As I rounded what would be 3rd base there was a guy yelling "coach like things" such as "now's the time to kick it into high gear and give it all you have - leave nothing in the tank" so what's a girl to do . . . go as fast as she can. I had hoped to get a final time of 3 hours which "M" said back around mile 12.3 that it probably wasn't going to happen, but that I could easily get a 3:0something. I knew the clock time was about 3 1/2 minutes ahead of my time and I ran so fast as I could. It wasn't under 3 hours, but dang - it was close enough for me to be THRILLED!
Next post: 4 lessons learned, 3 tools for success, 2 near death experiences (that's a little dramatic), and 1 final thought.