Friday, March 2, 2012
I waited a long time to write this, I kind of wish I had wrote it on Sunday when I was still high from the feeling of accomplishing something that I had feared for a long time. My head was swimming the days leading up to this marathon. I am sure everyone is sick of me talking about it :) Well the talk on marathons and Hyannis will continue today with the recap!
How do I begin? How can I describe how it all felt? I am not sure I can. I headed down to Hyannis on Saturday afternoon to settle in, get my number and relax. I know all relative relax before my biggest race of the year??? Well it was not too bad I had a great night going out to dinner with some running friends. They helped put my mind at ease and take it off the task at hand.
Everyone was talking about the weather all week of course. I got told it was going to be windy and cold. Well it was windy and cold but I tried not to think about it. Instead I got ready and laid out my gear the night before like I always do :)
The race began at 10AM which meant I could sleep in! It was nice being down there already and being able to wake up around 7 and do my normal pre race routine. Yes I have a routine. :) Yes it includes having breakfast of 2 hard boiled eggs and a banana. Then I drink about 30 ounces of water and 10 of nuun, banana flavor. This is all about 2-3 hours ahead of time.
I got to the race site and hung out with some friends before it was time to begin! The Determination team was there and I love love that family!!! Everyone is so nice and no matter where I go it is nice to have runner friends :)
I posed for a quick picture with Damian before he headed a little early out to start his first marathon!
I waited patiently for the race to start. I headed into the 8 minutes per mile pace area and started warming up. I jogged for about 5 minutes and then did a quick stride. I wish I had done more because when the horn went off my legs were not fully warmed up.
And so it began. The first few miles were crowded and annoying. I have come to the conclusion that I am not the type of runner who likes big races. Maybe I am just too used to doing long solo training runs :) But the problem in Hyannis was so many half marathoners, almost 6000 I believe and only about 600 marathoners so at the start I felt like a sardine crammed in between everyone, and I knew that they would only be out with me for one loop. You see Hyannis is a 13.1 mile loop course :)
So I tolerated it and tried to make the best of it :) I knew that the second loop I would enjoy myself much more and I would be able to stretch out so to speak. When I run I like space, I like to sing, I like to dance if I feel tired. I like to just be me and if a race is too crowded I cannot do this.
The first 6 miles I struggled a bit, it was almost as if I was just not settled into a rhythm. Splits from 1 to 5 were: 8:06, 8:08, 8:11, 8:20 & 8:17. I was taking quick 20-30 second walk breaks at every mile marker and I think it just was not a good combination. It was a little disheartening. But then I just said to myself, look if you want a BQ today you have to cut this shit out and race this damn thing. That seemed to work because I pulled out race pace of 8:02 and 8:03 miles 6 and 7. I decided then that I did not need a walk break at every mile, it seemed to throw off my pace too much and my legs took too long to get back into it when I took them. So I started only walking during every 2 miles.
Miles 8-10 were ok too, 8:12, 8:05, 8:02 and then the half marathoners started picking up their pace, of course they only had 3 more miles to go ;) and of course I began to pick up my own pace naturally. So miles 11-13 were speedier: 7:59, 7:44, 7:52. At mile 13.1 it was easy to say bye to them and keep going because I was pretty happy seeing those little 7somethings on my Garmin. By that point I was in my racing rhythm and zone and feeling pretty good.
Miles 14 through 21 were moving ok. I knew I had to conserve some energy if I wanted to finish strong but I also knew that I did not have a lot of time to waste. It was hard because there were no clocks at any mile markers so all I had to go on was my garmin and the clock at the half that had said 1:46, I knew that I wanted my split to be 1:44 so I had to hustle a bit. 14-21 were: 8:14, 8:18, 7:46, 8:10, 8:18, 8:05, 8:09, 8:19. After that 8:19 I said, self you are at mile 21 now, it is time to give this thing all you have got.
That was the push I needed. I heard a good song on my play list and I began to crank it up a notch with my speed. I actually was surprised at how strong I felt still. My legs were feeling great and I began to feel like I could really qualify with ease. I kept looking at my watch because I could not believe how fast I was going this late into the race! Miles 22-end were: 7:43. 7:52, 7:31, 7:29, 7:34 All 7s, all felt good. I was shocked.
I think I started to cry around mile 20, just a little bit, I think by then it began to register fully that I would actually do what I wanted to today, to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I could really honestly not believe it, all the work, all the doubts, the nerves, they were gone. It was just me and this course which I loved and was remembering from my first ever half marathon last year. I began to feel over whelmed thinking about the journey that began just 2 years ago this same week, when I walked into Weight Watchers for the first time and decided to try and get healthy.
I had to stop thinking about it because it was all too much :) I had to focus on the rest of the race and have fun. I kept looking at that little Garmin in amazement, was I really pulling 7s this late in the race? I just felt so good it felt too good to be true, I kept waiting for the tiredness to kick in, the wall to come. But it never did :) I cruised right into mile 25 and then I started to tear up a little right then because I realized then that not only would I get a sub 3:35, but I would be closer to a 3:30, a time which I did not forsee being possible.
Mile 26 I stopped to kiss the mile marker and kicked into my its the finish line race it hard :) I floated into the finish area elated that I had officially qualified for the marathon of all marathons, Boston. I was so excited I was on cloud 9!
I do not think I stopped smiling at all :) I met up with the awesome Determination team and hung out to recover a bit. Then I headed to the expo area for a banana and got one more surprise for the already awesome day, I heard my name being called for an award!
First place in the Filly Open Division!!!!! The race did not post times so I had no idea what my rankings were, but I was elated to hear I was the fastest in that group, even thought I had no idea what it meant at the moment ;) Basically I am heavy haha over 140 pounds so that puts me into a group. When I got home I looked at the times posted and learned a little more about it. What I liked seeing was my name in the top 10 Marathon Women to finish right there at number 10! :) That made me happy!
Official Chip Time 3:31:12
That is a 15 minute improvement from my Philadelphia Marathon time on Nov. 20!!!!!
Congrats to Lance who finished the Half Marathon and wrote an awesome recap here with tons of amazing pictures!
After that I headed back outside to cheer for Damian as he finished his FIRST MARATHON!!!!!!!!
All in all Hyannis will continue to be for me a special race :) Last year I ran my first Half marathon there getting a 1:59 and feeling like I would collapse after ;) And now this year accomplishing something I thought I would NEVER be able to do!
I will talk more about how I did it next week :) And what I am planning for the fall hehe But for now I will relish in the joy of being BOSTON QUALIFIED :) And getting ready to run the Boston Marathon this year with the American Cancer Society and their amazing DETERMINATION Team!!!!
By the way, the pictures are up and mine are amazing, because the photographer captured a million of me crossing the finish line :) I ordered the cd hehe so I promise to post them all next week!