Two things were concerning me leading up to this race: All the activities I had planned the day before (a graduation and a wedding an hour away from home) and my knee, which had been giving me pain in the last week. I’m happy to say niether of those things had an effect on my race.
The weather had been in doubt and while it wasn’t ideal because of the humidity, it was just about perfect. We awoke to a fog and a temp of about 55. Rain was predicted but it was looking like it would be after the race.
I got a little choked up while I was waiting for the start. Not because I was nervous. I was really confident. I got choked up just because it took me so long to get to that starting line. It took about a minute and a half after the gun before I even moved with how tightly we were packed in there. But soon I was running. I had gotten my feet and knee adjusted on Thursday and it was at the moment I started to run that I happily found out my knee didn’t hurt! While I did feel a few twinges in the first few miles, my knee wasn’t a factor at all.
Mile 1: We headed around the square and downhill on West Washington Avenue. For some reason they had barricades there that were way too close together and it was like we all just stopped at the same time as we crammed through there. I felt good the first mile. My goal is always to not go out too fast, but of course I did. Maybe not as fast as I could have though, my first mile split was 11:17.
Miles 2-3.5: Miles 2 to about 3.5 were along Gorham Street and had several uphill and downhill stretches. I felt really good through here and was running comfortably. The hills weren’t a factor at all at that point. I hit 5K in just over 36 minutes, so I was off to a good though maybe a bit fast start, averaging under 12 minute miles. Mile 2 and 3 were 11:41.
Miles 3.5-7: The race went about a mile up through a pretty industrial area, before turning into a subdivision in Maple Bluff, the ritzy area of town and home of the governor’s mansion. I had to check later and found that yes we did run past the governor’s mansion. I was zoned out and didn’t really notice my surroundings. I stopped for a quick water at mile 4. I kept going and stopped at the next water stop around 5.5 and ate my fruit snacks and had more water. Mile 4: 11:33, mile 5: 11:45.
After this stop I was still feeling good but my body wanted to stop. We were still in the Maple Bluff subdivision and my body was tired. I think the humidity was taking more out of me than I knew. But I also knew I could keep going. I was sure that my family would be right around mile 6.5 coming out of Tenney Park, which crossed under mile 3.5. It was the certainty of seeing them that kept me running the entire stretch from 5.5 to 7. I was so happy when I finally saw them. Doug was on a bridge looking down at me as I ran by. I waved and kept running, wondering where Allie was. Well, Allie was with my sister Jeni and her husband Dave on the other side of the bridge. I stopped for a second and gave Allie a hug and a kiss. That might be my favorite part of the race after finishing. mile 6: 11:52, mile 7: 11:28.
Mile 7-10: This stretch got kind of hard. I wasn’t expecting to see my family. I think I had a walk break somewhere before mile 8. Then I decided to run and keep running for at least a mile. I guess I’d slowed down or something but it got better again and I was cruising. Mile 8: 12:07, mile 9: 11:32, mile 10: 11:59.
I saw my mom after mile 9, but she didn’t see me until I was almost past. I wanted to get to mile 10 before I stopped again, but I had gotten really pumped through mile 9 and was flying. I looked at my garmin and my pace was 11:05 or something crazy like that. I decided to walk a bit. I was taking a lot of walk breaks, but it didn’t bother me. So I walked a little bit after mile 9 and started running again. I passed mile 10 and decided I had to keep running until I hit another water stop, which was a bit further down the bike path.
Mile 10-12.9: After the water stop past mile 10, I was walking and my stomach started feeling funny. I don’t know if it was because I hadn’t eaten yet or because I was eating. This was my longest walk break of the race, it was at least 5 minutes. I ate my fruit snacks, drank my water and then I had a cramp or something weird in my shoulder. Finally I decided to run again, slow, and my shoulder pain went away.
My recollection gets a little blurry here. I think I ran more than I was walking after that long break. I remember passing mile 11 and thinking that I had less than a half an hour to go. Mile 11 was mostly running, I think, and felt OK, but it was hard. I think 12 was more of the same. Mile 11: 14:04, Mile 12: 11:54.
I decided to take a walk break with a mile and a quarter to go. I wanted to run the last mile. We were on a neighborhood street and crossed a little grassy patch back to West Wash and mile 12 and I started running again. But there was the problem of that little hill up West Wash in the last mile. I started running and probably made it about halfway up before I had to stop again. Mile 13: 12:51.
Mile 12.9-13.1: I reached the top of the hill and saw the 26 marker. I realized I only had .2 left! I started running again into the chute leading to the finish. I summoned all my remaining energy and ran. As I turned off West Wash onto the square I got the adrenaline push I needed. First I saw Jeni snap a picture. Then a few seconds later I saw Doug, Allie and Dave as I was almost past them. Then I turned the last corner and saw the finish! I was running hard and felt the emotions of my long journey finally coming to an end. If I hadn’t been running and breathing so hard I would have been crying. I was choked up, which made it even harder to breathe. I saw my mom and right after that I saw the timing mats and the finish line banner and held my hands up high as I crossed them! I made it! A volunteer handed me my medal and I headed for the food.
My official time is 2:38:28. I think it might have been a bit faster if it hadn’t been so humid.