I am so glad I ran today 🙂
Just wanted to get that out there!
Pre-race: Wake up call was bright and early at 4am. I got dressed, ate a bowl of cheerios, grabbed a water and a clif bar and was on my way. Drove over to my teammate Brian’s house and he drove us both over to Philly. Made it there in record time and got a great parking spot only 3 blocks from the race so we decided to sit in the car a while and stay warm (it wasn’t as cold as last year, but still very cold!). At about 5:45 we headed over to meet up with some of our other teammates at the steps and chatted, then met up with my mom and her friend Marie at my corral. Had to use the bathroom SO badly, but the lines were ridiculous. As the race began and corrals were starting, we spotted a port-potty without a line so we took full advantage. Whew! Always better when the bladder is empty at race start! At 7:20 my wave started and off we went.
Race: My friend Brian was running for fun (recovery run after his Florida Ironman…he is awesome) and was pacing me the entire race. I felt great for the first few miles…I was concerned that I would have trouble because of my cold but I was moving along quite nicely. Brian and I chatted as we ran and before I knew it, the first three miles were over and we were at a 10minute pace. Score! The next few miles were a little tough with some tight corners and crowded areas but we managed by getting on the sidewalk at times. At mile 5 I needed a walk break, so I took a GU and we walked for a minute or so. Brian was a great pacer- he let me stop if I needed to, but always got me going again. He even wrote up a pace chart for my goal time (i’ll divulge that later) which was really cool. By the 10k mark we were at a 10:30 pace and I was feeling great, but then for whatever reason at mile 7 I fell apart. My ankle was bothering me (my knees felt great the entire race- it was amazing to have NO knee pain!) and I got a horrible stitch in my left side. It was horrible! That mile was spent doing the ironman shuffle and doing a lot of walking- especially the uphills. Then at mile 8 I got a surge of energy when I saw the awesome downhill and we ran solid making up some time. I was back to feeling good! At mile 10 I took another GU and all the sudden we realized we were at the turn-around. The time was flying! And then….mile 11. UGH…mile 11….not a fan. Talk about falling apart. The stitch came back, my ankle was killing and I was starting to see my goal time go right out the door. Brian was awesome at keeping me positive and moving even though he could tell I was hurting. We did a walk/run and just kept chatting. Then, just as I was feeling ready to go again, I got the very worst cramp I ever felt in my quad. I wanted to cry. We actually had to stop and stretch out for a few seconds. Again, Brian was great helping me get through it and we went back to ironman shuffle mode. And then…we saw the finish line and it was amazing, cause I needed that finish line. As I rounded the bend I saw my mom and Marie (actually I saw the sign first!) and it gave me a great burst of energy. Then a few feet further down, I saw my friend Monique and her husband Shawn. And then Brian grabbed my hand and we went across the finish!
Because I had been sick, my original goal was a very attainable 2:40 (my PW is 2:36). We went out shooting for a 2:30 and played it by ear. Of course, by mile 7 and definitely mile 11, I knew that was not possible. And I was okay with it because I still felt like I was giving it my all. I mean, two days before I was barely able to get out of bed, so just to be out there was great. At mile 10 Brian had said “We can shoot for 2:33, you got that” and as we came down the finish he saw the clock and basically pulled my hand so we could make it in time. It was overall a great experience. Running with someone made the race go fast and without Brian with me, I know I would not have done as well. He did a great job of reading me- he let me stop when I needed and pushed me when he knew I could keep going. Seriously, having my own personal pacer…nothing better!
Post-race: Once we got through the finish we met up with my friends and my mom and headed to the food. We were so hungry!!! They had decent food, but man…there has never been anything like Delaware (pizza, hoagies, ice cream, chips!). I grabbed some chicken broth for the sodium to help with the cramp and downed a soft pretzel in about 3.5 seconds. After a lot of mingling and picture taking we headed out of there and my mom, Marie and I went to breakfast. Again, I housed a waffle in no time! Once I got home I was on pure adrenaline. Usually when I am done a race, all I want to do is sleep- but I felt great. I ended up resting for about an hour but then cleaned my house and did laundry. I spent the evening like most Sundays- watching my favorite shows and updating here 🙂 My legs are a bit sore but I took an ice bath so I am hoping they are good to go in the morning. Overall, I am really pleased with this race. Not my best, but I was so grateful to just be running. Plus, the weather was great and I felt awesome and still feel awesome. 🙂
And I have to give a few shout outs:
The guy at mile 3 who kept blowing snot rockets– you need to refer to this post about not blowing them unless you know how. And you my friend, do not know how. It was gross when I saw your first rocket hit someone else, but when it hit me I wanted to throw up on your face.
The girl at mile 7 who elbowed me in the head– hey, it happens…but you turned around and laughed. Really??? RUDE!!!! The words you had been looking for were “I’m sorry” just in case you were confused. Jerk.
The girl who was really hurting at mile 10– I really hope you were able to finish. I am glad you had friends with you to help you through. It is a tough goal and you looked at your wits end. I hope you found the strength to keep it up.
The woman at mile 10 who crapped her pants– this is not a big deal if you are Paula Radcliffe. But you were at my pace…just jogging along…and I had to stare at your crap stained pants. All I am saying is this…if I was going to win the race, I would happily crap my pants; but if I am not going to win and I crap my pants…yeah, race over.
The Philadelphia police– thank you for being out there, cheering us on and keeping us safe.
All the “Jillian” cheerleaders– our names were printed on our bibs and many spectators would call us out by name and it was really uplifting.
The Mummers– so much fun! Thanks for coming out and having a great time with us runners!
My friend Michele– for ROCKING her first half-marathon. Awesome job. You worked so hard and you deserve it!
Denise– she is going to Boston!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And the most important shout-outs:
The volunteers– it cannot be done without you. Thank you for getting up early, braving the early cold morning and being there for us with water, Gatorade and GU. I appreciate you all.
Monique and Shawn– Thank you for coming out and watching me finish. I am thankful for our friendship 🙂 Monique, I cannot wait until our road trip to the Shamrock…can. not. wait.
Marie– for coming to watch me race and for keeping my mom company. And for always being a support to me throughout my life. And for being my mom’s best friend.
Brian– there are not big enough thank you’s! Seriously, this race would have been entirely different without you! It was such a blast running with you…walking with you…and running with you. You were such an amazing support and I am so thankful for our friendship. And like I said…if I ever do get around to that marathon, I am hiring YOU at my personal pacer.
Mom– where do I even begin. My biggest fan since birth. You have always supported my choices as crazy as they may have been. I have come a long way from track and field days and and even longer way just from last year. I am so glad you have been along for this journey with me. You and Daddy are an amazing support system and I owe much of who I am to you guys. Thank you for once again, coming out in less than stellar weather and standing for 2.5 hours just to watch me cross the line. I love you.
What an amazing day!!!