Well, no pics of me yet, so you'll just have to hear me ramble. :)
Anyway, let me first say a huge shout out to all my Second Sole and CTC peeps who ran yesterday. I've run this race (half and full) several times and I think despite it having several bugs (like, um, THE FREAKING PACE CAR FOR THE 10K GOING THE WRONG WAY THREE YEARS AGO) it IS getting better. And I really do want my hometown race (which is 32 years old!) to do well, ya know? This year the atmosphere was awesome. You could tell they had really worked to embrace the Rock and Roll theme, and it showed. The course was full of spectators for most of the way which was nice. It's come a long way since I hobbled down a lonely, uninviting path and had to beg for a finisher's medal in my 5:14 marathon back in 2002.
Also, a HUGE shout out and thank you to Coach Emily. She's been amazing and knows just how hard to push me so I don't pansy out, while at the same time understanding my crazy insane time constraints. Thanks for everything! :)
So my super goal was 1:45. This was the upper limit of what I knew was possible, given that I'm 6 weeks past New Orleans and didn't really get many long runs in. My speed's been kickin', but I wasn't sure how my endurance would be or just how long I could hang on for dear life. So the plan was to go with the 3:30 pace group and hang as long as I could.
Race day was COLD (44 degrees) and clear skies. Which means PERFECTPERFECTPERFECT! for me. The poor guy next to me at the start line was from South Carolina and was shivering as I stood in my tank top and shorts. He asked me if I was crazy and/or cold. I told him, no...see...this is what I call KARMA from New Orleans! I put in my suffering death march down in the Big Easy. Now it's time for this YANKEE to kick some booo-tay in the cold!
The gun went off and I just KNEW it was going to be a good day. I knew even before then, actually. I knew I would PR (my previous PR was 1:50.06 from last year), and it was just a matter of how much.
I'll let my mile splits tell the story...
Kinda crowded and crazy, but felt nice and easy. We ran down by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and around Cleveland Browns Stadium.An evening shot of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
We got a nice little climb back into town and then ran down all the fun little establishments on West 6th in the Warehouse District where I used to cause trouble on a weekly basis. It was a beautiful, clear, sunny morning, and after about 3 blocks I was nice and warm like I knew I would be. Today was going to be a good day; I just knew it.
My mind's jaw dropped a bit--I guess I didn't expect to see any sevens, which is crazy when you're going for an 8 minute/mile pace. Did I think I'd be all 8s? Still, it felt a little scary for me to flirt with disaster at a pace that used to be just a few seconds slower than my 5K pace. We ran by Jacobs Field (or Progressive Field--whatever. Still the Jake.) and The Q, where Game One starts again Wednesday. I was feeling good.
Are you SERIALLZZ?
At this point, I realized I just beat my previous 4 mile PR of 32.11. Nice!
Okay. Seeing an 8 made me feel a bit more at ease and a little less like I was walking a tightrope over a swirling pool full of ill-tempered sea bass. Broke 40 minutes and another PR of 40:02, my previous best at 5 miles.
Hit the 10K in 49:40, which beat my previous record of 51:30 that I set in this very race last year. As an aside, I wonder what I could do in a short race now? At this point, I'm feeling so good that I high five a few kids. The pace felt SLOW. Since when is THIS MY REALITY?! WHO HAS HIJACKED MY BODY?
Easy-peasy. I could do this shizz all day. We were running through my old neighborhood and Matt's old neighborhood at this point, so I saw all kinds of fun memories on the street corners. Lots of great crowds...it was at this point that I knew I was going to blow 1:50 away. No question. Just a matter of by how much. I couldn't help but wonder how long I could keep this up. Things were just too perfect.
8 and 9-- 16:20.
I missed the 9 mile marker, which was totally messing with my brain. I started to struggle just a bit catching up with the pacer after trying to suck down a Gu. My legs started to not respond to my brain quite as well. I knew this was it. Here comes the pain. I watched the pacer slowly creep away and his balloons bounce down the road ahead of me, creeping away slowly. "Run your own race...don't worry about it...one foot in front of the other..." I hoped and prayed my Gu would kick in soon, and I feared the worst at the next mile marker.
Wait! Okay! I'm OKAY! What felt like 10 was really 8! Now we were turning onto the Shoreway along the lakeshore and I knew this could get hairy. It was a long, steady, gradual climb up the bridges back into the city. Could I do it? The Gu kicked in a little bit, but I could feel it. My legs were slowing down BIG TIME. I started a little mental war in my head. Most of it is not fit to be printed on this nice PG-13 rated blog. Let's just say I was screaming at myself and using lots of words that rhyme with duck and grass and Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt and Ice Road Truckers.
Oh POOOOOOOOOOOOOOPSANDWICH. That was horrid. And it wasn't over yet, either. We weren't to the top yet. I did everything I could to make my legs keep up with my heart, but I was running out of steam.
THANK YOU ALMIGHTY. We are at the TOP of the freakin' Shoreway. The guy next to me said, "It's all downhill from here...we're almost there." And I managed a weak smile. We were. I looked at my watch and I knew. 1:50 was gone. Demolished. It was just a matter of how much, and that was still up to me.
13 and .1--8:56.
Finish time: 1:47.06.
A three-minute PR to the second.
Average pace 8:10/mile. 34th/394 in Age Group; 169/2368 females. I left everything I had out there. Nothing, and I mean nothing was left. I've never finished one of these--including a marathon--feeling like nothing was left. I've always held back a bit, so it was painfully fun to see what happens when you go all out and do something crazy risky.
It was sooooooooooo fun.
I got a bit verklempt at the finish line. If Bug and Matt were there, I would have lost it. I knew what this race meant, and I knew what I just capped off.
One solid year of 2 half marathons, 1 olympic distance triathlon, 1 marathon, and 2 half ironmans...ALL PR'S. Every. Single. ONE.
I had many fears when I was pregnant. Mostly having to do with the baby, its health, and my ability to raise it being a clueless person who was never into arts and crafts (seriously--I got a C in 6th grade art. Who gets a C in 6th grade art?! It remains my lowest grade ever to this day); who was completely overwhelmed and intimidated by Parent Magazines full of artsy ways to make a peanut butter sandwich, and who is repulsed by the color pink and felt WAAAAYYYY out of her element at Babies R Us. Then, with a few exceptions, all I seemed to hear when I was pregnant was how much "things would change" and how I'd have to give up "those races" I liked to do. Or how I would need to have "pre-baby PRs." And it petrified me. I knew I just could not sit home and do crafts. No way. That is not me...that has never been me, and I refuse to believe that is what a "good" mother has to be.
It doesn't. I know this now.
I owe everything that I've done in the past 12 months to Matt and to my Bug. Every PR is because of them. We've been very creative in our training and our lives. And we've made it work. Not just work, we've made it spectacular.
I feel like I barely recognize myself anymore.
Here I am now, 31 years old. I've been writing here for almost four years. And at this point, I can truly say that my life is full of more joy than I ever could imagine. It's busy and crazy, and I don't make three-tiered forts out of Cheerios or even really read the parenting magazines. But we laugh and smile all day, and this home is full of so much joy.
And I can race. Faster than I ever could before; faster than I ever thought I would. And I'm not done yet.
Not even close.