Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rain, Rain, and More Rain. Race Recap

Miles today: 3.3 miles, easy
Miles in 2013: 358.63 miles

Saturday morning, I awoke to Becky excitedly proclaiming that the weather report had changed to little to no rain between 7AM and 10AM. Bahahahahah. It was enough to motivate me out of bed, but ended up being the biggest lie of 2013. After debating all day on Friday and for a good 15 minutes on Saturday at 4:45 AM, I decided on a nice, tight dry-fit long sleeve, my favorite-est running shorts ever, two tried and true sports bras, ProCompression marathon compression stockings, and my Brooks Ravennas

And who could forget the Kara Goucher signed bib. WIth the addition of a poncho, this outfit turned out to be perfection. 

I chowed down on a Zone bar, some strawberry fruit snacks, and some water and was ready to hop on the shuttle for our hotel. We got down stairs around 5:30 AM and the line curved all the way through the lobby. Did I mention it was raining already? It was. We were 2 miles away from the start, but if we waited in line, there was a good chance we would miss the start of the race. 

We all grabbed our ponchos and hit the road. The walk actually wasn't too bad and I had time to get some words of wisdom on the phone from my better half. We arrived at the race with less than 30 minutes until the start. I had to check my bag, which with the extra security, took a little longer than usual. There were definitely not enough port-o-potties, because the lines were ridiculous. I decided to skip the last moment restroom break and headed to my corral. 

It was raining harder at this point and I was already totally soaked. I was freezing and ready to get running. In corral 11, I chatted with my new running friends and got ready. There was a moment of silence and every runner raised their hands in a peace sign. Again, I am hopelessly in love with the running community. 

The national anthem was played and the corrals started moving forward. I started about 12 minutes after the clock started. Lucky for me, my Garmin decided it could not find a satellite signal in the rainy crowd and did not work from the first mile on. 

Not getting that last minute restroom break felt like a huge mistake from the start. I figured I would run to the first port-o-potties, but there was a long line, so I pushed on. The hills started right away, and I tried to keep a conservative pace. Since my Garmin wasn't working, I really had a poor idea of my pace. Kara's words from yesterday kept echoing through my head. "Run on effort, not on pace." I did exactly that. 

My Kara - signed bib
I ditched the poncho at mile 3. Our friend who ran this race last year said that there were some bigger hills around mile 3, but that things got better after that and miles 6-8 were great. Hmmmm. I don't know about all that. After we ran down Broadway, and towards Vanderbilt University. More than once, I thought, "Damn that liar..." Miles 3-5 flew by and I felt better and better and began to pick up the pace. Going down hills was a little scary because of all the water and fears of slipping. 

The people of Nashville were absolutely incredible. There were tons of people at every water stop and hundreds of people standing in the rain to cheer us all on. I am sure some of the live music was canceled, but the energy on the course felt electric. Tears came to my eyes multiple times. Despite all that happened in Boston, spectators were out in force, cheering for runners and chanting U-S-A. 

I did not take in much water, and at mile six, did not feel like I needed an energy gel. I was cold, but moving at a good, steady pace. The water made my sleeves feel like compression stockings and was a continual ice bath for my legs. I felt strong and happy, and tackled each hill as they came. I continued passing runners and enjoyed some of the wet scenery. 

At mile 10 I took down my gel and got to work. I pushed to keep running faster, despite not knowing my actual pace. I had no clue if I was running at a PR pace, but I figured I was close to a two hour pace, according to the mile clocks. Mile 11 went quickly, but I was tiring at mile 12 and the hills did not let up. It was pouring rain at this point and I was splashing through water continuously. 

Mile 12 was hard. I wanted to walk desperately, but was not going to give up the hope for a sub 2 hour race. The last mile weaved up a couple hills and into Centennial Park. As soon as I could hear a crowd, I knew it was go time and sped up to pass the people ahead of me. As I crossed the finish line, my garmin said 1:59, but I wasn't even sure that was right.

Regardless of my time, I had a great race. I felt good, had a blast, ran hard, and had all negative splits. Could not get much better.

The finish line was a freezing mess, but not much could dampen my runner's high, especially after I found my friends and they confirmed my time. I can safely say that half number 6 was my favorite half marathon this year. Can't wait to start marathon training!