1. My race wasn't cancelled (thank god).
2. I did not BQ.
3. I did PR!
So, here's the story of my newest Marathon PR.
The KoB, Melissa Bitch, and Jeff Sonofabitch and I all went down to Baton Rouge on Friday. We flew into New Orleans where I sweated buckets walking to the rental car terminal and then watched as the outside temperature went from 82 degrees when we left NOLA to about 41 when we got to Baton Rouge. Perfect running weather, no?
We stayed at the race hotel, which was AWESOME and cheap. And after picking up our packets headed out for our pre-race dinner. We went to what was probably the grossest and saddest Ruby Tuesday on the planet. Which... is saying a whole fucking lot, because Ruby Tuesday is normally pretty fucking gross and pretty fucking sad. BUT, this one was awful. My bad, I picked it, and no matter that it smelled weird and was completely empty, I still filled my tummy with salad from the salad bar and an enormous order of french fries. I am a FUN friend to travel to races with. Gluten free and vegetarian! Yay! Sorry guys. We got back into the hotel room at like 7pm and I started dozing off around 7:30. Again. FUN TIMES AMY!!
Now, I had been fretting over what to wear for the race. The temps were going to be in the high 30s, but the windchill was going to be in the low to mid 20s, there was a chance of rain AND the sun was definitely not going to be making an appearance. I went to bed thinking that I might just wear shorts and a thick running top.
I woke up and realized that that was a TERRIBLE idea, particularly since we were going to be shuttled to the start, which meant we would have to stand around for an hour before the race, so I wore tights. I felt good waking up and even when we got to the race. But holy cockgoblins was it cold out. The wind wasn't super strong, but man it was sharp as hell and the 4 of us briefly contemplated a 4-way group hug to try to stay warm. But, after an hour of standing around in the arctic tundra that was Baton Rouge on Saturday morning it was time to start the race.
As we stood at the start line, The KoB had some wise words for me: "don't get stressed about passing people in the beginning. we will pass 'em. don't stress about it." Yeah, he knows me pretty well. It was a good reminder to just Chill and not let my nerves take over and expend more energy than I needed to. We started and it was a huge clusterfuck just like all races these days are. Thank you running boom. I love passing someone walking approximately 1/4 of a mile into the race.
Our first mile was a 9:17, which surprisingly didn't upset me. I was afraid my watch was going to read a 10:30 or something, so I was totally cool with the 9:17. It was crowded, but honestly, that was partially my fault. I just hopped in line and didn't even think about how close we were to the start line at the beginning.
My favorite thing about this race was how quiet it was. I'm sure I've mentioned before that people annoy the shit out of me on a regular basis and during a race I usually get so annoyed by everyone's incessant chatting that I almost have an aneurysm right on the course. But no one talked. I assume it's because our faces were frozen from standing around in the goddamn cold for an hour before the race. But no matter, I loved how zen it made the race feel.
We clicked along and the first few miles felt how I expected them to feel: shitty. In every marathon, I feel like shit for at LEAST the first 6 miles and sometimes it even lasts for the first 12-13. I didn't freak out, I just let the shitty miles pass. It was cold and windy, but it wasn't effecting my pace. I kept telling myself... "at least your race wasn't cancelled. At least it's not raining or snowing." POSITIVITY!
The KoB kept telling me that Id feel better once we got through the half. And I agreed with that. It was one of the weirdest races I've ever ran. We never found anyone that was running our pace. So there was no one to latch onto, no one to get into a group with. It was WEIRD. Anyway... when we got to the half way point, I was still feeling just utterly terrible and I told The KoB if it hadn't been a new state for me, that I would have quit. I just felt like absolute dog shit. But, I kept on. We came through the half at 1:49. As terrible as I felt, my splits were fine. I felt like if I could just hold on and take it one mile at a time that I could still BQ if I got a little boost at some point.
We thought these jokers were running our pace,
and stuck behind them for a mile.
But they fucking slowed DOWN. Arg!
Without him there with me, I would have easily given up. I just had nothing. Even though I knew that I could still PR, I just felt awful. I tried to take a shot blox but just the smell when I opened the package reminded me of puking my guts out in Birmingham. I had a few slow miles in there at the end, but most of the last 6 were under 9 minutes a mile. Which considering how I felt, I was pretty proud of.
I finished the race with a new PR: a 3:45:49! I was disappointed in the day, but honestly, I was thrilled with that time. It was the longest race I've ever ran. Especially that first half. That 3:45 felt like a 5:45.
Thank god. This shit was over.
I don't want to blame the weather, because although it wasn't a perfect day, it definitely wasn't the weather that kept me from BQing. And yeah, I think I did just have a bad day. Which happens. BUT, I can't just write it off to that. I think my training plan definitely put me into position to BQ on Saturday. But, I think my execution of the training plan might not have been all it could have been. I should have ran those mid-week long runs. I should have ran one more 20 miler (at least!). I should have done the marathon pace miles in long runs when coach told me to. I don't think I was ready to run 26.2 miles at an 8:12 pace just yet. I feel like I took a good, honest stab at hardcore training this time around, but I definitely feel like I can do better next time and the better I train, the closer I'll get to my BQ goal in the future.
Happy to close out the year with a PR and excited to see how much I improve in 2014. Particularly now that I feel like I KNOW what I need to do and how to get there.