Three Words: BEST. RACE. EVER!!
I mentioned in my post yesterday that things leading up to this marathon (training or lack of training, pressure- or LACK- of pressure) were much different than for Around The Lake.
This trend continued right thru race weekend which was a pleasant surprise!
There is absolutely no denying that in spite of the less than stellar weather (it rained- HARD) it was an amazing race. I loved the course despite the undeniable challenge that it presented, loved how I felt the whole time, had a TON of fun with a delightful group of people and am honestly still on cloud 9 from the whole experience.
So much so that I signed up for 2013 MDI at 9:00 this morning *ahem* *crazy*
OK. We'll start from the beginning (I hope to find more pics soon- I didn't have a great camera so this will be word heavy picture light I'm afraid.)
|A blurry group photo after a delicious carb loading dinner!|
I met up with all the cool people that I run with at the hotel and proceeded to eat ALL the cookies that Meg had baked and brought. They were delicious- that girl is a genius!!
As usual the amazingly organized Danielle acted as party planner extraordinaire and that meant that I could just follow her around and not think. I really enjoyed this and it reminded me that I need to go to many, many more races with her ASAP (yes, I'm already counting down...)
I got to meet the adorable Christy and Ally (who came all the way from TEXAS! and I thought MY trip was long....) Sarah was there as well, to run her second Marathon is a 3 week period (Danielle did as well, those girls are BADASS!!!) To offer up serious course support and bedtime stories Andy bravely showed up and now apparently can't wait to join in the running next year (smart!)
Since most of these peeps blog too (and blog better than I do...) I'm not going to give away details of their races other than to say that there was some serious ass kicking going on. I have some fast, amazing friends!!! YOU GUYS are INCREDIBLE!!
|Yeah, this happened...|
I saw Jen at the start, who was fully recovered after her SUPER fast Tufts race and was ready to rock it. We all were actually, as it was teeth chatteringly COLD!
The gun went off and we all moseyed along for the first, and only downhill portion of the race. Right away I started reminding myself of my "taking it easy" plan. "You can't go TOO FAST" I hollered at myself "YOU CAN'T DECOMPENSATE LIKE LAST TIME... because you need to drive your own damn self home....!!!" This was definite inspiration to run slowly, carefully and not like a fool....
It took until mile 4 for my feet to thaw and then they felt very odd, like there was stuff in my shoes. Apparently that is what happens in freezing effing cold weather as clearly, with the exception of my feet, there was nothing in my shoes. My legs started to feel awesome at mile 4 and I felt like I was running at a really easy happy pace that I could keep up forever!
I saw Meg, Ally and Andy around mile 5 and it was nice to have a cheering squad because I was drowning a little in the rain at that point. I also really needed to pee, but decided to ignore it in the hopes that it would go away (hmmmm...)
The miles seriously flew by as I kept my eyes out for the amazing scenery and only saw fog, cloud banks and rain. My legs felt good and I never got out of breath, leading me to believe that I was probably running about a 9:30 m/m pace.
UNTIL.... at mile 12.8 or so Andy drove up on his bike. "BRADLEY" he yelled at me "YOU. ARE. GOING. TOO!!! FAST!!!!!" I replied with confusion that it simply was not possible and what time was it??? "NINE. THIRTY. EIGHT." He shouted back. "OH shit I AM going to fast" I squeaked. "Well... I feel ok, I think I'm gonna be fine" Was my declaration at that point. After he rode off I started of having dark thoughts of crashing and burning at mile 20, throwing up on everyone around me and hearing Andy smugly say "I told you so...." I did NOT want this to happen so I mellowed out. For exactly 5 minutes. (and as it turns out, Andy was not actually chastising me for being too fast. he just meant that he was having to bike around too much to find me... not a bad misunderstanding in retrospect! I was quite amused when he explained this to me though.)
Things just felt too damn fine! It was the strangest! Mile 13-18 flew by and I happily ate some GU, had a little dance party, and mentally prepared myself for the last 10K. Oh, and I REALLY had to pee at this point...
At mile 20 I was starting to hurt a little and get tired. I felt like I had slowed down but Garmin-less running is a guessing game. I saw Andy again just after mile 20 but didn't ask about the time because it didn't matter one way or the other. I knew that from 20-26 I would have to take it mile to mile and man the EFF up...
At mile 22 I gave up and scampered into the woods to finally pee. I WAS DYING. I simply could NOT run any more and HAD to go. The whole process took less than a minute- maybe 45 seconds (remember that- it is important...)
For the last 2 miles I was tired but never hit the wall like I did back in July. I started taking it step to step instead of mile to mile and could not wait to cross the finish line and stop running!
My eyes were so waterlogged that I couldn't see the clock until I ran across the finish and in amazement I say 3:35:40. My first thought was HOLY SHIT I kicked the CRAP out of my goal time!!! My second thought.... I shouldn't have taken a pee break because I would have BQ'd AGAIN (on a tough as nails course....!!!!) Honestly I could have cared less because I was so pleased with how the whole race played out for me, especially since I was convinced that I had under trained like a boss. I was seriously, seriously excited. And shivering freezing cold!
I wrapped myself in 200 space blankets and walked up and down the road eating bagels and trying not to let my legs cramp up. I was also scared of the notorious GI problems that I have, sneaking up on me and THANK GAHD they did not (who knows why..) Andy turned up and gave me my bag of dry clothing- I have never been so happy to see dry clothes ever. EVER!
After not too long at all everyone else finished and there was much celebration over successful runs, huge PR's and finally being able to get the hell out of the weather! Even though it was a crapola day there were a ton of people out on the roads cheering us on, the volunteers were incredible and it was a really well run race. With fantastic finishers medals. And, evidently, beautiful age group prizes- and I'll never get to find out because my depleted brain didn't think to check- I won my AG- and (very) sadly, they don't mail prizes. DUMB me!
All of us got together for a little after party lunch and to rehash the day in epic detail. You know you're in a group of runners when shots of pepto are being taken instead of actual shots.... All afternoon and evening the Twitter was exploding with excited MDI chatter! Clearly, a very fun and successful day for all... We all went our seperate ways for the long trips home, and I believe that there was much cake eaten by a few lucky girls! (you know who you are and I'm jealous that I didn't grab a slice. or the whole thing..)
I'm taking a few days off now before moving on to my next race adventure. And yes, after yesterday my plan to only run one Marathon a year was blown all to smithereens... I officially have the bug now and am planning my winter accordingly!
So one more time- congratulations to ALL of us who braved the mountains and conditions yesterday and came away with some fabulous race memories (or, with good stories to tell if nothing else!)