Sunday felt like a dream. I woke up, made my tea, and gathered my watch, gels, pretzels and water bottle. I was ready to go, despite the nerves and everything I had thought about for the week leading up to the race.
We got to the city, the weather slightly breezy with a few raindrops in the air. There weren’t many runners around yet, but the countdown clock was going with 30 minutes till the gun. Before I knew it, it was time to get into the starting chute and head off on this 13.1-mile adventure. I kissed my husband goodbye and got my phone all set up with music before the anthem.
Then we were off. I had already planned to run the 1st mile of the race before defaulting to the Galloway method as I had in training, but with all of the endorphins, I ended up using larger intervals during the race, but still only keeping the breaks to 1-minute.
I felt amazing for the first 6 miles of the race, and when it came to the trail section, I ran the whole thing without stopping. Then I hit the wall. I had hoped it wouldn’t happen, but should have known better. Had I not had my music, I probably wouldn’t have made it through.
Defying Gravity from the smash-hit musical “Wicked” came on, and I powered through the corner where the Mile 10 sign stood. And even though I knew there were only 3 more miles to go, I had to will myself through each and every step. I knew I was OK with my pace, and would hit my time goal without something going drastically wrong, so I tried to settle in and use the Galloway method when I needed to in order to keep myself moving forward.
By the time I hit mile 11.5, I was in a good deal of discomfort. Everything from my hips, to my knees and my feet hurt with each stride. But I had already decided that I would run the final mile and come in strong – but getting there was going to be a struggle. And just as the picture says, my quads were on fire.
I remember coming into the city very vividly. Pushing past the pain to just get to the finish line. Once I entered the city and the crowd cheered and people shouted “You’re almost there,” I knew I had done it. I came down the finishing chute with the same strength I had started the race with. I crossed the finish line, received my medal, and wrapped myself in that foil blanket thing they gave me. It felt oddly comfortable and I wore it for about 2 hours after the race. Now it’s folded up and ready for the next time I feel like reliving those final moments of the race.
I finished, and I did so 12 minutes under the goal I had set and trained for. Now it’s time for recovery, and some very much deserved junk food. Nachos anyone?