I can't believe it. I did it. I rocked this 15K (9.3 miles) that kicked my butt last year!! The weather was super crappy, but hey, it's been that way for the last two races, so why would this one be any different?
It was in the 30's, with wind gusts up to 25mph making it feel like 31 degrees. It was pouring rain. Not talking just a sprinkling, but pouring. Not able to use wipers on intermittent, but on full and still have trouble seeing. Yes, it was that way running most of the race too. The kicker was that we ran into the wind for most of it.
So, I was really just not motivated for this race. Like I said, last year it really took it all out of me just to finish it. The 10K that I did in March, did not turn out the way that I wanted it to either. I just couldn't run as fast as I would have liked. My results were still admirable (for me) and that took the bruising off mostly.
Okay, back to the lack of motivation for the 15K. I have been having trouble keeping up with my training due to being up with sick kids week after week. It just makes it difficult to get up in time to get it all in. When I saw the rain, I almost bailed. As I park in the parking garage, I see that almost everyone has rain gear on ( I own none). I'm getting nervous. I get out of the van and pass a gentleman taking off a jacket. He comments "to wear the jacket or not?". I told him that I did not wear one in hopes that freezing and being wet would motivate me to finish faster.
So I get to the check in, gather my bib number and timing chip. I place my chip on my shoe (I'm terrified of losing those things), and do some stretching (more than I do at home, which is none before a morning run). I then decide I have time for two bathroom trips, if needed, and head into the bathroom to potty and to fit my bib, which I always seem to have trouble getting on right. I'm in the bathroom messing with my bib for what feels like forever! I can't get it on straight! I have had trouble with my arms catching it during the race or it flipping in the wind so I'm really trying to get it on right.
I go to the bathroom, and while washing my hands, I decide to try to fix the bib again. After I jab the pin into the cuticle of my thumb I give up. I go out to do more stretching. I'm soooooooo bored!! It seems that everyone there has someone to talk to but me. It's depressing. I then think of my online running friends that will be running the half marathon with me and get excited that there will be some great people to hang out with then!!
I know I need to go outside to do some running to warm up before the race, but I just can't bring myself to do so. I have no rain gear that is running gear, actually no rain gear period, and I don't want to be soaked before the race even begins. We always have to stand in the corral up to 10 minutes waiting for the start, and it's always cold even not wet. I keep getting more discouraged bout the race. I head to the bathroom again, more for something to do than anything else.
They call us to head out to the corral, in the pouring rain. I'm jogging in place in hopes to warm up somewhat while waiting the 7 minutes for the start. I'm a lot farther back than I have been in the past thinking that while I may not run the race I want, it would be fun to be passing people. I'm not worried about it tiring me out since I don't feel that I will do well (I"m really being pessimistic at this point, eh?).
The race is on and there are people walking in front of me and running the whole width of our running field. I'm not wanting to sprint, by any means, but I just want to run what feels comfortable. I'm then kicking myself for having to pass people. During this first mile, I realise that my right shoe is lose, something that could not be good during a race, and that I would have fixed during my warm up (if I had done one like I was supposed to!). ARGH! I keep going, there is no way I'm stopping now.
I'm feeling great at the first mile, and run it a lot faster than anticipated, but I always feel that you should run strong when you feel strong, and just run when you don't. At about 1.5 miles I realise that my pants are pinching in a very peculiar spot (censored!) and not sure what to do about it. I then find that I am gaining on "Korean short shorts" and she actually has long pants on. Now I don't' know what nationality she is, and short shorts are fine for other people. She definitely has the body for it. She is always super fast, and has passed me in both other races. So now I'm wondering what the heck I'm doing if I am passing her. By the way, she looks good in long pants too.
So, I try a nonchalant scratch/fix of the pants problem trying not to be obviously grabbing my privates during a race. It doesn't work and I think, well I'll just walk around with an ice pack in my undies the rest of the day then. I don't want to be worrying about it and trying to fix it during this race.
I had eaten an energy bar at 6:15am, knowing that I had almost 2 hours to digest it. I wanted to energy and to not be hungry during the race. When I run at home, I get out of bed, potty, put on running clothes, drink coffee, run. That's it. So during the race I am feeling that full stomach feeling and also a feeling of a side stitch wanting to come on. I worry about that for a second and then try to put it out of my mind. I work on my breathing.
I realise a few miles in that I have built a 2 minute cushion, and that is a great feeling. I know that if I really feel lousy, that I should still be able to beat my time. Just about this time I am starting to warm up and the rain has let up. I think about taking of my long sleeve shirt, but worry about my bib number (thinking I may have pinned it to my shirt under neath) and that I may lose momentum if I mess with my shirts while trying to run. I figure that it may start down pouring again and to just leave it alone. Just as I am having this inner dialogue, I look up and notice this other lady taking off her long sleeves. Funny, we were thinking that at the same time.
At mile four the water/gatorade station is there but not set up and there are no volunteers (can't say that I blamed them in this weather). The guy in front of me puts his hands up in the air as he looks at it and I make the comment that it must be a self serve station.
I'm not feeling the need or desire for fluids, although I know that some gatorade would probably do me good energy wise. I just can find room in my stomach at this point, or at all during the race.
Not shortly after all t his, I end up passing the lady that took her outer shirt off. I'm racing against myself, not other people, although it does help one's motivation to pass people etc. I keep running what feels good to me. I did not have my gps since it was pouring rain, so I didn't' know my exact pace. I just was happy with the times t the mile markers and how I was feeling.
It's getting to the point that it has thinned out considerably and I am not seeing any ladies in front of me. I'm wondering why that is. I just keep running and end up coming up to this group of men and one woman. Looks like they are running together as a team. I run behind them for a few minutes, just because that's where my pace takes me. When my pace takes me to pass them, the woman looks at me and cuts me off. I want to tell her not to be upset, it has nothing to do with her, but my energy is for running. I finally find a way to pass the group and keep moving. I then start wondering if every footfall that I hear behind me is her. I don't want to look as I feel that would egg her on, and I'm just running this race for me. I finally turn a corner where I can sneak a look to my side and I don't see her anymore. I finally relax.
Right at the same spot as a lady passed me last year that I couldn't catch back up with, about mile 8, the shirt-off lady passes me!! Way to go for her, I think, then I want to at least keep up with her. I must have slumped in my pace some for her to catch back up. It was good motivation to pick up my pace.
I pass a gentleman that is a race official or volunteer, and he says that I'm in the top 15 women (of over 500)......what ??!! I'm shocked! I think to myself that even if it's not true, it sounds great! It helps me finish strong.
At the last .3 mile, channel 13 camera man gets a close up of the shirt-off lady and I think "man, that would have been me if I hadn't let her pass me!" then I think "I'm sure she is lookin' better than me at this point!".
I have just enough to sprint through the finish line and notice that I beat last years time by 4 minutes!!!!!! I'm on cloud nine!!
I walk up to shirt-off lady to shake her hand and congratulate her on running a great race. She smiles big and tells me that I was great motivation for her, and we end up talking for 15-20 minutes. She is super nice and trains with the lady that usually gets first place at all the races. Wow! This lady, Angela, also has three young children near the ages of mine and is a stay at home mom. She asks for my number and it just tops off the day to meet some one so nice!
So, these are my stats:
DIVISION: 1st of 80 women my age
ALL WOMEN: 13th of 515
OVERALL: 107th of 1,041
I can't believe it. This was so needed!!
Only 15 DAYS 14 hours until the mini!!!!
Have a great day! Reach for your dreams, no matter what they are or how many times you have to reach until you get them.