This is part 4 of the CarreraThon marathon training race series in preparation for the San Antonio Rock N’Roll Full marathon. Let’s just say, I am totally freaking out that my marathon is less than 8 weeks away. As I was working up to this race, I have conquered 14 miles and also done some small speed training sessions. That being said, I have really been using these races as long runs, not as competitive events. It is fun to go out and run with friends and get food and drinks afterwards.
Much to my surprise, when I woke up on Sunday morning, the weather was absolutely glorious! Approximately 60 degrees, low humidity, clear (dark) skies, just wonderful. Fall has finally arrived in San Antonio! The weather got me thinking that maybe I should push for a PR or at least a decently fast time in the race. I also was feeling good, well hydrated, full of energy, excited to run. I decided I would play it by ear and run as hard as I felt good doing.
I showed up about 75 minutes before my race started. I promptly put on my light jacket and walked over to the packet pick up area. I apologize - I have zero pictures from this race – so it is just a boring, word only post. But hopefully my race story will keep you entertained! Anyway, I got my number, and chip and went back to attach them to myself in my warm car. Yep, I officially a wussy Texan – 60 degrees and I am “cold.”
I did about mile warm up before the race – trying to get the blood flowing and literally warm up my body. We were off right at the stroke of 8 am, as the sun was coming up. I was in the front third of the pack and pretty much stayed there the whole race. Everyone spread out by mile two, but two girls about my age fell in stride with me and we all ran together. There wasn’t much talking and I was analyzing our pace, which was pretty fast. I think we did the first 3 miles in 24 minutes, almost a 5k personal record for me! At that point, I decided to slow down just a little, keep relaxed and just run strong.
I took my Rehydrate Gel at mile 4 and water at mile 4.5. The three of us girls jockeyed back and forth for the lead and sometimes we would get as far as 100 meters apart. We all joined together before mile 6 and began cheering all the leading runners on as they were coming back toward us after the turn around. I really though I would never make it to the turn around. For some reason, it was at least a half or 3/4 of a mile past the 6 mile marker and it seemed as though we would never reach it. I was getting a little tired at this point because we had been pushing an 8 -8:30 minute mile pace and I had not run that fast in months! I grabbed my Raw bar and started taking little bites but then it slipped out of my hand into the dirt, and I was NOT picking it up.
When I dropped the bar, the race became completely mental for me. I knew I was supposed to have more fuel to get me through the race, but it was gone. I had to rely on my body using what I already had stored up to power me until the end. Running up the small hills were just like flats, and I used momentum to carry me downhill and gain a little speed. I took my last Rehydrate Gel at mile 9, right before I got my last mini walk break with water. The other girls had been ahead and behind me at this point, and as we came to the water stop, I slowed just a little, knowing I was going to walk and drink my water anyway.
They started out ahead, but I was able to pass them on a small downhill. I gained 20 ft or so and kept my lead. I was getting tired though, I could feel my energy dropping. As always, I began silently chanting my various words to keep me going. “Don’t Stop” “Don’t Quit” “Jesus,Jesus”(praying that He will carry me through). At one point, I zone out a little too much and stepped right on the edge of the pavement and half way rolled my ankle. This is a very normal occurrence for me, but the other girls said, “Don’t fall or we’ll fall behind you!” That made me happy, because we had all come to the conclusion that they only reason we were running as fast and as hard is because the others were with us.
In the last mile, they ended up passing me. We ran together for a little bit and I suggested we just walk to the finish, but they did not take me up on my offer. I was really ready to quit, really ready to walk and really ready to find the restroom! Uffda! As they were ahead of me, all I could do is keep pushing my arms and telling myself that I was strong and I was going to out sprint them at the end. Well, Claudia(I learned her name after the race) was about 50 meters out and just kept on going strong when we got near the finish. Myself and Andrea were not catching her, no way. Andrea did step it up as we got closer but I decided she was not winning, and pushed back and as we made our way down the chute to the finish, we were in a full-out sprint. I was pumping my arms and pulling my legs as hard as I possibly could, there was nothing left to give. In the end, she beat me by only a few hundredths of a seconds, mainly due to my non-chip wearing foot crossing the line before the shoe with the chip.
Wow, I was so tired at the end, I couldn’t even drink water. I didn’t even look at the clock. I briefly said hi to a few friends but then immediately had to use the
restroom porta-potty, ugh! There was barely any toilet paper and really, it’s a porta potty, what can you say??
After checking the results, I found out that did indeed set a new personal record of 1:53:28 for a half marathon! So crazy, so awesome, so HARD! I really don’t think I want to try to beat my record
again this year.
The best thing about this race was seeing how a community of runners can push each other to new limits. I believe the same is true in life, so I want to surround myself with people who working harder, learning more and doing greater things to keep me pushing toward my goals. Who are your greatest influences and motivators right now?