this is one of my favorite parts of reading other peoples' blogs - the race account. with every single detail included. unfortunately, i don't think mine is going to be that exciting -- i can't recall too many details as a result of the oxygen deprivation. but here goes:
i've run this race 4 times now & it gets bigger every year ... this year was so far, the biggest field - about 11,000 people. but despite the crowds & the fact that i was about to run a half marathon and try & kill myself for a certain time, i have never been so calm at the start of a race. ever. i don't know if it was having coach there, or just knowing i was ready - but i am usually a bundle of nerves - yesterday morning though, there was nothing but a nice zen calm. we chatted a bit, checked out the crowds a bit ... and then, with little fanfare - we were off.
mile 1 8:33 ... first mile was slower than i thought it would be, it was tough to maneuver through the crowds.
mile 2 8:03 ... much better
mile 3 8:11 ... this is where we hit a series of hills that will last the next 2+ miles. this portion of the course is the same as the 10 mile race i ran a few weeks ago & the hills really slowed me down then - but not this time. i barely even knew they were there - i was amazed when i saw a handwritten sign on a tree at some point with "last hill!" written on it. i do however, find religion in the hills & chant the hail mary over and over and over again. i swear it works like a charm.
mile 4 8:08 ... still in the hills.
mile 5 7:47 .... coming out of the hills! woo hoo.
mile 6 8:01 .... there was even a port-a-potty stop in this one ... i kept looking over to the woods for a good spot to go pee, but my coach reminded me that there was a huge bank of portolets at the bottom of the hill, so i dashed into one of those & was reminded of a dream i had the night before of running into portolet & running out with toilet paper streaming from my shorts. my dream did not come true - although i did check quickly before leaving!
mile 7 7:55
mile 8 7:58 ... i'm actually amazed at these splits - i hated this stretch & thought i had slowed down a bit (the slow down is yet to come) there is this one house though, that has a huge party out on their front lawn every year & they've got huge speakers blaring music set up on their front lawn ... as we passed, the commodores "brick house" started to play ... and so of course, we started to sing - she's a brick. howse ... she's mighty mighty ...
mile 9 7:58 ... at the end of mile 8, we enter Churchill Downs ... last year, this gave me chills (this is a new part of the race & was just introduced last year) ... this year, i think i was just working too hard to get chills or be awed by where we were running. what is fun though, is that they have speakers set up that play recorded announcements of past races & you can see the horses working out on the track. this thought did carry me through the rest of the track though & i shared it with coach: exactly one week from then, we'd be sitting in the stands, in our derby finery, drinking beer ... very nice.
mile 10 8:20 ... clearly, i was really hurting by now ... i think i was even wheezing. but (other than the start) we never got any slower than the next mile. i don't even know why i had slowed so much ... i don't remember anything hurting, i think i was just plain tired.
mile 11 8:23
mile 12 8:07 ... once we got past mile 11 & i knew how close we were, i was able to pick it up a bit. this is also where my coach would start pointing people out for me to start picking off ... 'see that guy up there? he shouldn't be ahead of you - pass him" ... and then, "see that girl in the blue? you need to pass her" ... and so on. we played this game for the last mile, although it didn't feel like a game - it was hard. especially when he'd tell me to pass someone that i thought was so far away - but i did it ... it was the perfect thing to pass the last mile & to get me going.
mile 13 7:47
the .1 7:43 once we hit the finish line crowds & turned the corner to the finish, i kicked it in & we crossed finish line together. i was so tired i could barely speak - i didn't even know what my time was - just knew it was sub 1:50. we just hugged & walked arm in arm to get medals, chips taken off ... and to go fill up our bags with goodies.
i think the average pace was 8:05. it was so fun to run with my coach ... he was amazing. i never had to think about a thing - i even stopped pressing my watch for the splits because i knew he was doing it. we'd come up to a water stop, he'd tell me to just keep running & he'd bring me my water. he provided the perfect encouragement when he knew i needed it, he made me work hard, and brought an air of calmness to the whole event that i had never experienced. now i'm spoiled & want him to run every race with me.
i think it was just the fact that i knew i didn't need to worry - i didn't worry about my splits, my pace, my hr or which mile i was at. in fact, i missed a couple of miles - never even knew we had passed certain points. if i just let go of all that stuff & run ... it always works out very nicely. now to bring this lesson learned to next race ...
speaking of which, we're in the car, headed back home - feeling very satisfied about the mission we had just accomplished ... and i say to him "what's next?".
i didn't get an answer. i know what the answer is - just rest. enjoy some time off.
this morning i was still on such a post race high i felt like i could have gone out for a nice big long run ... but by 4 pm, the exhaustion hit me in the head like a sack of bricks. so i'll try my best to give my body a much deserved break ... this is the part i hate the most. post race - nothing on schedule & no races on the horizon ... must try to be a grownup & be zen with this.
in the meantime, i've got a great half marathon to add to the logbook.