Today’s 3M Half Marathon has been my goal race since the minute I finished it–practically in tears, definitely in pain–last year, some 364 days ago.
So when we got out of the car (into 36* temps) at the start this morning, I felt nervous. I’ve worked toward this day for an entire year. I knew I could vanquish last year’s time, but could I, as Venkman says in Ghostbusters, kick its ass?
OF COURSE I got separated from just about all of my friends before the race. The bathroom line at Texas Running Company, while indoors, was way too long for my stress levels, so I headed to the more utilitarian porta-potty option closer to the starting area. I met back up with two of the others, lost them again, and finally re-located them right about the time the national anthem finished. And then it was time to run.
Instead of re-hashing every mile, let’s play Most Important Word.
S and I stuck together most of the way–I was grateful for her even pacing. But the last three miles got pretty tough. My stomach lurched periodically, and it still felt like we had forever to go. Janet did an amazing job pushing me, encouraging me, steering me around slower people, and trying to distract me.
When we got to the bottom of the hill just short of the 12-mile marker, the police directing traffic STOPPED A LARGE GROUP OF RUNNERS for 30-40 seconds to let traffic through. I thought J was going to stop traffic herself to get us across and moving again. I almost lost my mind right there. I was on pace to reach my goal time but didn’t have a huge cushion. What if I missed it because of this traffic stop? A traffic stop.
I picked it up the best I could after we started moving again, but I was suffering.
Janet: Sprint to that stop sign!
Janet: I can hear the finish line!
We finally turned the corner onto MLK Blvd. and my dad stood there, which was an awesome surprise. So now I had a two-person escort up the last hill to the final turn.
I saw the finish line straight ahead. Dad, my sometimes-football game companion, pointed out it was just 100 yards away. They peeled off, and I had to suck it up and finish on my own.
And then I got close enough to see the race clock.
Back at the beginning, S and I had started nowhere near the front. I didn’t look at my watch then, so I couldn’t be sure how far back my chip time was from the gun time, and I hadn’t paid attention to anything other than mile paces along the way. But at that moment, I knew I’d done it.
Not only had I beaten my goal by just over three minutes, I’d PR’d by almost ten minutes. Last year’s race? So far in the rear-view mirror it wasn’t even visible with binoculars.
My sherpa crew and my running partners were AMAZING. I cannot thank them enough.
We came, we saw, we kicked its ass.