If I had to pick one word to sum up this race it would be miserable. Seriously. Miserable.
Lets start with the night before the race because it was better than the race. Paul and I met up with his sister and her fiancee at the race expo and then went for Pizza and beer and Ms. Pac Man. Sounds great right? It was. Made even better by the fact that I bought the best shirt ever at the ultimate hippie store.
I can't tell you how much I love this shirt. They didn't have Lorelei's size or else I surely would have bought one for her too.
As soon as we got back to our home away from home, my intestines decided to play a mean game. I was getting sharp pains followed by lots of pressure. This is probably TMI, but it felt like super bad gas pain but nothing was happening, if you know what I mean. I went to bed thinking I would be fine in the morning, this has never happened to me before, but in the morning I was still hurting. We had an hour drive so we ate breakfast in the car. I drank most of my coffee hoping it would get things moving and I would feel better. I barely touched the rest of my breakfast. I couldn't get comfortable and was very quiet except for the occasional gasps when I was really hurting. It was obviously a great way to be feeling right before running a 25k, that's 15.5 miles for you non running folks.
We got there just in time to stand in line for the bathrooms and then we were off. I knew right away that it wasn't going to be my day. I was hurting. Paul kept pulling away from me but once he realized that I wasn't going with him he'd slow back down. I think somewhere between 1.5 and 2 miles my step dad caught us. He had been in the bathroom when the gun went off and was running like a fool not realizing that his time didn't start when the gun went off but when he actually crossed the start line. He's speedy so he pulled away from us and I could really tell that Paul wanted to go with him. I knew I was holding him back and told him to go. Finally after a few minutes of my insisting he leave me, he did. It was his first race and I wanted him to be able to go out and see what he could do, not be stuck with my pathetic self.
After Paul left I was in a bad place mentally. The amount of my physical suffering didn't change, but it was a lot harder to convince myself to keep going. I'm not even kidding when I say that I wanted to quit at every aid station and have someone bring me back to the start. I'm honestly not sure why I didn't. There were a few points along the course where I got a little mental boost that helped, but mostly I was miserable and fighting a mental battle to keep going. The 5 mile mark sort of snuck up on me and that was really nice, I felt a little better mentally until about 8 miles when the lack of breakfast hit me. I was bonking. Hard. My legs felt like lead on top of the stabbing pain in my gut. I forgot my Honey Stinger Waffle in the car and of course this race doesn't have much other than water and Gatorade even though it's longer than a half marathon. That makes no sense to me, but whatever. I kept going. And going. And going. Until suddenly there was a band playing Eye of the Tiger. It was pretty awesome. There were high fives for everyone and another mental boost. I don't really remember anything significant after that. I was pretty focused on the hills and the miles. I stopped 3 or 4 times to stretch my tight legs and started walking through the aid stations rather than slopping my gatorade all over me. I was so done but still hadn't finished.
I thought I couldn't really feel any worse, but that was a mistake. The last 2 miles were so hard. I was exhausted and in pain. But so, so close. When I was 1.5 miles away I just pictured running to the end of my street, which is about that distance, it really did help to think that the end was so close.
I crossed the finish line at 2:25:23, a 9:23 pace. It's not what I was hoping for but it is 18 minutes faster than I ran it last year. I know there won't be many times when I can say I PR'd by 18 minutes so I'm going to enjoy that part. I'm also going to remind myself that I ran the best race I could on that day. And I didn't quit.
I don't have many pics, but here are a couple.
You love those awesome tights don't you? Mom got them for us and we rocked them.
Sadly, Paul had to help me finish my beer. It was good but I wasn't feeling it.