Last week I set three goals for my much trained for half-marathon. Do you remember? Certainly you do! What? You mean you don’t commit all of my goals to memory? You have other “important” things to think about you say? Ok well, here’s a reminder:
1. Finish without being broken
2. Finish with a PR of 1:30 or better
3. Make the top five females in my age group
Well, I’m beyond psyched to say that I accomplished ALL THREE!!! Yay!!! I finished in 1:29:32 which is a personal record for me by two minutes, I was absolutely not broken but ecstatic and pumping my fists across the finish line and I finished exactly fifth in my age group out of 582 and the 26th woman overall out of 3,897. I killed it.
There is something to be said about putting your goals “out there” for
the world 100 people to see. After I did, quite a few people came up to me and said “I can’t believe you posted that!” Which made me kind of freak out…for like 10 seconds. I did it for that reason. I wanted to put myself out here and just see what happens. After all, what’s the worst outcome? I don’t meet my goals. Ok, it happens and I move on. Would I be disappointed? Of course. Would the haters have a little dance party? Probably. But I would run another day. Luckily, everything went right on this day.
It all started when, on race day eve (yes, it’s like Christmas for me) I opened my mailbox to this:
Those people at Runner’s World are geniuses! Certainly this was a sign. If Summer Sanders thinks I can do it, then I can!
Race morning the weather was perfect – 50 degrees without a cloud in the sky.
I felt great at the start and, when the gun went off, I just knew it was going to be a good day. I stayed on pace (6:52) through the first six miles pretty easily, fueled with my Chomps! when I needed too and was totally focused on my goal. My dad (because he’s the greatest human being on the planet) was waiting for me with my boys at mile 10 in Elizabeth Park. In my head, I just needed to get to mile ten. My aunt (my number one fan) and uncle were also at mile ten so I was ready for my cheering section.
Just as I approached the park I saw the 1:30 pace runner. A pacer is put into races for people who are trying to meet certain time goals (me!) and helps them stay on track and finish at their desired time. They basically take the guess work out of it. It’s like a personal coach guiding you to the finish. The only problem is, you have to stay with them! I have to admit that I panicked a little when I saw the pace runner because then I had my wingman. Now I needed to keep up with him through the brutal final miles.
I can hear my dad before I see him. He has the loudest whistle you can imagine. I’m not sure if all Cubans posses this high pitched ear music or just him, but it’s unmistakable. Then I saw my boys. The issue is, when you’re racing toward an important goal, it’s emotional. Then, when you see your 4 year-old boys running beside you beaming with pride followed closely by your dad whistling his little Cuban buns off (he wouldn’t want me to say “ass”), you can’t breathe. It was the greatest part of the race by far but I expended so much energy waving my arms and blowing kisses and yelling “I love you’s!” that I think they need to stay home next year!!…either that or I could possibly have run a 1:28. Either way, it’s a moment I will never forget.
Since I know you don’t want the sugar coated version – the last three miles were pretty hellish. Everything in my body wanted to stop, drop and roll. I say that because my piriformis or little thing in the dead center of my left ass cheek was on fire! I kept checking my watch as if I could will it to move faster. I kept checking my wingman who was running ahead of me and actually waving me forward with his hand as if calling on a tired dog. Was he an angel? A demon? The clock would determine it.
Finally, mercifully, the final stretch came into view. It’s one I know well. I have raced this half course four or five times and the marathon course three times. These were the arches I ran under when I qualified for Boston and where I finished my very first marathon ever. Then, my wingman said the sweetest words a girl could hear “you’re way under time” God bless you Mr. speedy pants.
An amazing friend of mine (thank you Shelley!) took this video of me crossing the finish line. I’m the little one in pink with the black hat. Am I really that short? Dear Lord!
I was smiling the entire time and even gave a little fist pump at the finish. I was ecstatic. I had done it. I also gave a huge high-five to my wingman who was curiously out of breath. Shouldn’t this pace be easy for you, dude?
So, after cheering some of my other friends in, I had a celebratory beer because carbs are a runner’s best friend and beer tastes sweeter when it’s earned through blood, sweat and tears.
When I finally made it home I was exhausted and had to snap back into mommy mode faster then the first female finisher (who set a new course record of 1:13:19 – show off!) but I made sure to mark my bib, as I always do:
Today was a good day.
P.S. My Aunt informed me yesterday that the “official” results list me as 4th woman in my age group. Not sure what happened but I’ll take it!
Did you race recently? What was the outcome? How do you celebrate your accomplishments, big or small?