Yesterday, I woke up flailing as my alarm went off. Miracle of miracles, I had gotten a good night's sleep (the better I'm sleeping, the more violently I wake up. Weird, I know). I got dressed, ate the last 5 pancakes I had frozen a few weeks ago covered in syrup and one with my homemade chia gel, had my glass of milk and cup of coffee. Everything was moving along nicely, if you know what I mean, and by 5:45 I was out the door.
The drive was uneventful, other than needing a bathroom after 20 minutes and not seeing one until I got their an hour later (thanks, small town Indiana. You big city folk probably didn't know there are still areas where convenience stores don't open until 7 on a Saturday!).
Parking was easy, packet pick-up was easy, and before I knew it it was 7:30. I had returned to my car to stay warm, but I knew I had several friends who should be around, so I braved the wind.
I heard today that the wind was sustained at 28 mph, and had gusts nearing 50! Crazy. Good thing I'm used to wind from running on base. In hindsight, I think this is a major factor in why I did as well as I did.
I was so excited to meet Amanda, a fellow Tough Chik, before the start. She's super friendly and genuine!
And tall! She blogs over at Too Tall Fritz... Hmmm, I wonder why? We were both a little bummed that we couldn't find Healthy Strides Kim, though.
I also found my coach/friend and his wife and their adorable kid Calvin. They were running the 5k. Even though I didn't see them again at the race, having friends at the start always pumps me up. And I might have kept the mid-race-selfie-text streak alive- I sent them this gem at 15.5 miles in:
I had big goals going in: get as close to 4:30 as possible. I knew that meant a 10:17 average, and I knew when I needed to eat, when I would switch on music, when I would take walk breaks, etc. and then the cannon went off and I said screw it, I'm going to have fun.
Once the race got underway, I tried not to look at my Garmin. I was running by feel, took one small (15 second) walk break at three miles, and as I was getting back into a groove I saw Kim!
And here's where I started singing. Out loud. I had turned on my iPod once Kim and I split, and I tend to sing when I'm alone during training runs. It helps relax my throat and lungs, so I've been known to sing to myself during training on the rare occasion when my asthma acts up. I think the wind was what caused my lungs to feel tight. Whatever it was, I figured, "hey, I'm treating today as my birthday party. So I will sing if I want to!"
I also figured that my singing is bad enough I might help motivate someone to kick it in gear to get out of earshot. :)
So I sang. And sang. My blood sugar stayed as level as ever (hooray, chia!), but somewhere around 20 miles, I was just kind of blah about my time goal. I don't think it was the wall this time- I've hit that before, and this was no where near that misery. I just got lackadaisical for a few minutes. Previously, I kept all walk breaks brisk. But at that moment, I was just plodding. Still having fun, but not sure if I cared enough to push it. I knew I could PR even if I didn't try too hard. I could cruise on in.
Or I could work, b*tch. At that moment, Britney Spears' so g started pumping out of my iPod, and something clicked inside. I wanted to make sure that time at least had 4:3x:xx still. And of I wanted to make that happen, I had to get to work.
I finished out the last 6 miles, gritting through a popping blister, seizing glutes and piroformis pain, and I crossed that damn finish line, still singing to myself until the last 100 meters. I may or may not have unleashed a guttural growl of joy and kicked it in. The final chip time was 4:36:50.
In that moment, I knew I had run MY race. I had finished, and finished well. I had overcome ever obstacle I've faced in the last year. I had not only ran a marathon PR, but thanks to the Air Force marathon and St Pat's 6 hour, I had qualified for marathon maniacs! #7978 has been committed to the asylum.
In that moment at the finish line, I had achieved everything I set out to achieve. And I was still smiling through the grimace as I doubled over and groaned, "fuuuuuuudge monkeys." My expletive substitution got some giggles, too.
Kim found me then- she had finished about 5 minutes earlier- and then I waddled off, got some soup and took it to my car where I proceeded to eat it on the grass of a church while in folded pigeon pose.
(Someone waved like crazy at this point from a silver SUV, but I have no clue who they were- sorry! Marathon fugue was in full effect)
And then I drove to my mom's, visited my grandparents, had dinner at Applebee's where I cleared my plate and my mom's, then finally headed towards home. I had to swing by the base to drop off cookies with the Husbeast and was able to visit some friends who are in town, too.
Finally, at 9:30 pm, I got home. I made hot tea and grabbed a cold beer. Perfect end to the day.
If you get the chance, I highly recommend the Veteran's marathon in Columbia City, IN. It's the best of the Midwest-hospitality, peaceful country views, cows and sheep along the course, and it's pretty flat! The swag was great, too- fittingly, we got a windbreaker on a windy day!
Yesterday was amazing. I owe a huge thank you to all the Tough Chiks who are constantly inspiring, to Kim and Amanda for being awesome, to my coach/friend for teaching me that speed work sucks but it works, and most importantly, thank you to my husband. He believed in me and my abilities way before I did. And he encourages me on these crazy adventures, even when he has to stay home and sleep due to his crazy work schedule.