To sum it up: it was hot.
The race has gotten progressively better and easier every time we’ve run it, but it still always surprises me how challenging it is once we’re actually there. Our training runs always go fairly well, so it takes me off guard when I’m struggling at mile 10 when I ran 12 miles just fine the week before. It’s like all our training gets thrown out the window and I have to run it on pure mental determination. I don’t get it.
But in all fairness, we ran it faster than we’d been running our long runs, and we ran it in warmer temperatures. April is so unpredictable, and it’s a bummer because we train in cool temperatures starting in January, but when we get to April we don’t know if it’s going to be hot or cold. Two years ago it was cool. Last year it rained. This year it was hot.
Really, it was a beautiful day. It started out in the 50s, which was perfect, but was in the 60s by the time we finished. It was a perfect day for just being outside, but the 60s quickly become hot when you’re running 13.1 miles and the sun is beating down on you.
I was determined to not have to run having to pee like last year, so after we found a place in the crowd to wait for the start, I scampered off in search of a portapotty. After crawling under a fence, then getting smarter and climbing over several others I found one that miraculously didn’t have a line (and found out later that it was in the medical section, and later they wouldn’t allow anyone in the area). Got that taken care of, climbed the fences back to the starting line, met up with the gang again and we were off.
They changed the course this year, so we got to see some more scenic neighbourhoods instead of just running around the stinky Anheuser-Busch complex for the first half. We started drinking water at mile 4, but looking back on it we should have started at mile 1 – or 2 or whatever, since this year they stupidly only had aid stations every two miles. That’s both stupid and dangerous, in my opinion. David said they ended up having to treat over 60 people for dehydration.
By mile 6 we were double-fisting it at the aid stations and pouring water over our heads to cool down. We ended up having to stop to pee again around 6.5. Thankfully there wasn’t a line and we didn’t have to cross over the other side of the course illegallly like we did last year.
By mile 10 I was dehydrated and was starting to have difficulty seeing straight. For a long time I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it or not, but by the time we hit 13 miles I was totally out of it and having a hard time keeping my eyes from crossing.
I grabbed a PowerGel thingy at mile 8, buy was hesitant to down it because of my experience the first year with taking Gu and ending up with heart palpitations. I shoved it in my shorts and later had three serious scratch marks on my belly to show where it had ridden for 5 miles. I didn’t notice it at the time, but I sure did a day later.
The last three miles were pure determination. We’d been running our long runs in training at around a 9:35 average pace or slower. At the race our average was around 9:25. Plus with the changes to the course this year there were several big, long hills. It was more scenic, but who’s noticing the scenery when you’re running up a half mile hill?
We hit mile 13 and we all thought, okay, just got to get around the corner and the finish line is right there. But it wasn’t. They’d moved it way back because of the course rearrangement. So we got around the corner and were like, what the crap? Where’s the finish line? We finally crossed over one of the speedbump-type things that they have at the start, that signals your chip to start timing. So I thought that was the finish. I stopped for half a second and Robin was like, “No, the finish line is up there!” So I kept going. We crossed in 2:03:26.
After we stopped Robin took one look at me and grabbed my arm to steady me. I had a hard time keeping my balance, waking and seeing straight. Robin was so great and played watergirl for me for a long time while I got myself back together and rehydrated.
It was a tough race. Like I said, it felt like all of our training went out the window and I had to run it on pure determination. I hate that. What’s the point of training for 12 weeks if I’m going to feel like I haven’t trained at all when I actually get to the race? I know the training made a huge difference. Even last year compared to this year was a huge difference. But I guess when it really comes down to it, 13.1 miles is still a long way to go.
I’m really proud of how well we did. I though coming in in 2:05 would be a great goal, but that 2:10 might be more realistic with 17,000 other people around and losing time going around people in the first few miles, as well as including potty stops. But we did it in 2:03, and I’m really amazed by that.
Sub 2 next year!