There were so many things that were different this time.
And yet so many things that didn’t change at all.
I’ve had this recurring dream/nightmare that I missed the race start. True story. I got the start time wrong this morning and that very well might not have been just a dream. But it worked out beautifully.
Carb loading last night was sushi. It’s been the long run routine all summer long. I am so glad that Sea40 opened by my house, even if it increased our dining budget by about 25%.
When my alarm went off at 5:30 this morning, I was so completely rested. I woke up instantly from a deep sleep. I love that feeling.
Breakfast was 2 pop tarts. Another long run routine. After two years of running, I have the food thing down. I did not have to use a porta-pottie once before the race, during the race, or right after the race, the first time I think that has happened ever at any distance.
I know I’ve spent a lot of the beginning of this race report talking about food and sleep, but I am *really* happy I got those things right.
The forecast said 30 percent chance of rain. It was even supposed to be sunny after 10 am! Sound familiar? Yeah, last year promised nice weather … or nicer weather … up until the start. The weather was about the same last year. At least it wasn’t pouring rain at the start — it was after about 10 minutes — but at least we didn’t have to stand at the start getting cold and wet, wondering what we got ourselves into.
So we get to the start of the race where it’s not raining and as I join the starting corral, they’re singing the national anthem. And then bam! We’re off! 15 minutes before I thought we were! (Glad that we got there early!) I didn’t get a chance to see anyone before I started, just put my Spotify on and go.
(Yes, I ended up listening to music for the race. And not albums, either, just my loved tracks on shuffle. This breaks my rule, that I only listen to albums and compilations because I want the time to feel measured, but it worked out.)
Last spring I bought a rain jacket in memory of this race, thinking that I needed to a) train in the rain more and b) have a rain jacket if I had to run a race like that again. I did not use that rain jacket to train once since I bought it … but I was really glad I had it today. It kept my headphones dry until mile 12! Then they stopped working. So I handed them to Tony, with the rain jacket, and ran the rest of the way listening to my feet.
I talked to a few people this race but not many. I didn’t make many new friends. I was just happy to be in my own head. I didn’t even know many people running the marathon this year, and just a few running the half. It was nice to see them as they turned around, and it was even nicer to see them and not have this longing ‘I wish I was turning around too’ feeling after them.
Every time I run this distance I learn more about it. This was my best-paced one yet.
I think of running an endurance race, especially a marathon, like squeezing a tube of toothpaste. At the start of the race, your tube is full and it’s easy to squeeze out energy. But you want to do it at a rate where you’re not going to be jamming a nail into the mouth of the toothpaste to get that last bit on the brush at 20 miles.
Weird analogy, I know, but it works for me. It was SO EASY to run a 10:00 mile in the first half hour. It was AGONY to run a 10:00 mile after mile 15.
I think to get truly good at marathoning, you need to make your ‘I can run like this forever’ pace faster — something I’ve worked hard to do this year — but you also have to make your mental resolve to push evenly … and evenly hard … thought the whole race better.
I thought I ran the beginning pretty evenly, but I was still really struggling at the end. My fingers tingled and I hurt. The last three miles were about a minute per mile faster than the rest of the miles, so I think that if I just ran every mile a little faster, I might have done better, but … another day. I’m not at the level where I can run a marathon with my heart in my throat, not for awhile.
In the first half, everyone was passing me. In the second half, I was passing everyone else. That was nice.
It’s late in the post but …Tony is an amazing husband. I gave him a map with areas circled and the approximate times I’d be there (15 minutes off, though). I put it in a plastic bag and I said ‘cheer me on!’ He took my bossy advice and did it. And he turned my map into a little sign where he filled in how far I had gotten on the bottom. In the pouring cold rain. He is so sweet.
I achieved a new personal record. 4:28. A best by 26 minutes. And I felt good doing it.