Sunday, April 26, 2015

Living the Dream - Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon 2015

It was a long time coming... I'm overwhelmed by so many thoughts I'm not sure where to start..

I started this blog in February 2013 hoping to run a half marathon in under 2:00 again. I reached that goal in May then decided to run a fall marathon and try to qualify for Boston 2015, announcing it to the world HERE on June 15, 2013.
I suppose if I had reached that goal in November 2013 I would not have had the journey... and what a journey it has been. Along the way I met all my Sole Sisters from Brook Kreder's Inner Circle, I had to get a Facebook account, I met all my Indiana Timing running friends, Facebook put me in touch with other friends I hadn't heard from in years, I learned about diet and nutrition, I lost weight and now weigh what I did before I had kids, and I learned to believe in myself and push harder and dig deeper for the things I really wanted. I believe the journey is a story in it of itself, so onto the race.
I drove to Lousiville Friday afternoon and met up with some of my Sole Sisters at the race Expo.
Araminta, Michelle, Jackie, me, and Magda
We then met up with Sole Sister Beth, her husband and sister for dinner.
After dinner at the Troll

Magda and I shared a room at the Galt House hotel. Badass Trena, who had run Boston on Monday then traveled to Florida for business and back, got into town late Friday night to run in the morning. Trena and I ran the marathon. Everyone else ran the half.
Magda, Michelle, and me at the start
Saturday morning... it was raining... of course!!! Thankfully it was not super windy and it was just misting rain at the start. The temperature was actually ideal, around 50 degrees.
I started slightly behind the 3:50:00 pace group but passed them before the first mile. The early miles ticked off just as planned...
Mile 1 - 8:36
Mile 2 - 8:40
Mile 3 - 8:26
Mile 4 - 8:32
Mile 5 - 8:32
Mile 6 - 8:26
Mile 7 - 8:21
I originally didn't want to run faster than 8:30 pace and just keep it in the 8:30's but I felt really good and it felt easy so I just went with it and found myself running slightly faster than I intended.
Just after Mile 7, I heard someone yell my name and turned around to see Jane. She was running the half. She either gave me a big boost, or maybe my subconscious thought we were racing, or maybe it was because we entered Churchill Downs right after that and the field compressed and I don't like running in crowds... but anyway my pace picked up...
Mile 8 - 8:19
Mile 9 - 8:18
The field split after Churchill Downs, with the half runners going back downtown and the full runners going out to Iroquois Park. I told myself to SLOW THE FREAK DOWN!!!
Mile 10 - 8:26
Mile 11 - 8:23
The hills in Iroquois Park started at mile 11.5. I told myself to maintain the same effort as I climbed the hills.

                                                                                     the dreaded hills
Mile 12 - 8:36
Mile 13 - 8:34
Mile 14 - 8:46
I passed Trena going up the hill between mile 12 and 13. I knew she was tired from Boston but I had thought I might catch her in the last couple miles of the race, not here. Either she was running really slow or I was running too fast. Turns out it was probably both.
At 13.1 I peeked at my watch and it read 1:50 and change, an unofficial half PR. The skies also opened up at this point and the misty rain turned to hard rain. Please no lightening. Please don't stop this race!
Then it happened... just before mile 14...  my calves started cramping. NO! It was the same lightening flashes of pain that had made me gasp and stumble at Napa and it was just mile 14. NO!!! I tried my best to calm the rising panic. Relax, relax... think calm muscle relaxing thoughts... I was 3:30 under 3:50:00 pace at this point. Calm down, calm down... you have time.
Mile 15 - 8:38
Mile 16 - 9:03
Just after mile 15 as we were exiting Iroquois Park I had a full on Charley horse in my left calf. I had to stop and let it relax. This CANNOT be happening again!
I felt a rising despair. This is where I had lost contact with the pace group last year. Did I run the first half too fast? Did I totally screw myself? Is this where my lack of mileage is going to come bite me? I CANNOT fail again! This is my last BQ attempt this year. I don't have time to do this again. Get your head together! Get your head together!
I was still close to 3:30 under goal time, way ahead of the 3:50:00 pace group. All I need to do is run 9:00 pace... maintain 9:00 pace... I've run 9:00 pace hundreds of times... just run 9:00. I can run 9:00...
RUN THE MILE YOU'RE IN... the next light pole... the next sign... the next tree... just keep moving forward!
Mile 17 - 9:06
Mile 18 - 8:47
Mile 19 - 9:07
Mile 20 - 8:51
I still had twinges of calf and foot cramping but no full on Charley horses. It was still raining but the downpour went back to a drizzle. I was losing time with every mile but every mile was bringing me closer to the finish and I was still ahead of the pace group. I thought about all my Sole Sisters pulling for me today, either here in person or following me online. I thought about all my Indiana Timing friends, my co-workers, and everyone else that had sent me well wishes and encouragement.
Give me strength! I HAVE to do this! Run the mile you're in. Run the mile you're in...
The last 10 miles of this race were the hardest 10 miles of my life... and 10 miles is a freakin' long time! I wanted to give up but I couldn't give up. I was too close. BELIEVE!
Mile 21 - 9:11
Mile 22 - 9:19
Mile 23 - 9:52
Mile 24 - 9:15
The 3:50:00 pace runners passed me just before mile 24. There were no runners left in their group, just the two pacers. My goal now was to keep their bright orange jerseys in sight.
Mile 25 - 9:37
Mile 26 - 9:41
The last mile went on FOREVER. All I could think about was this is your Boston... this is your Boston qualifying time!
I FINALLY turned that last corner and saw the finish line. I closed my eyes and ran as fast as I could... this is Boston...this is Boston...
last 0.2 - 2:27 (roughly 10:00 pace that felt like 6:00 pace!)
I started wobbling about three steps before the timing mat but got across the mat and immediately got grabbed by medical. All I wanted to do was stand for a minute and I'd be alright... but I guess I always look like hell at the end of a race... Anyway, there were four of them and only one of me and the two people holding my arms would not let go so I let them put me in a wheelchair and take me to medical. I drew the line when a photographer wanted to take a photo of all of us! We got to medical and they wanted me to lay down in a cot but I wanted to stand so I wouldn't tightened up. They finally left me standing next to the cot, handed me a bottle of water, then went to find someone else to grab. I gathered myself, wrapped myself up in a space blanket, and went back out to the finish chute.
I had done it! I qualified for Boston! I didn't run 5:00 under like I had hoped but 3:13 under should be good enough. I was IN.
It was still pouring rain. I had told everyone not to wait for me if it was raining; I'd meet them back at the hotel. The only one left on the course was Trena. The official clock read 4:02 when I left medical. Had she finished while I was in medical? I looked around and waited for a couple more minutes then decided to walk on out of the chute. Now that I had stopped running, I was cold. I couldn't feel my fingers and my teeth were chattering. I wrapped myself up tighter in the space blanket and decided to head back to the hotel.
As I started tottering back I had moments were I was overcome by emotion and let out a couple sobs of joy and relief. Tears mixed with rain. My journey was over. I had met my goal. I cannot remember anything in years that I had worked so hard for and wanted so much.
soaking wet but elated

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