Saturday, January 4, 2014
That's the way to do it, right? When doing a half marathon every month for the year, it doesn't make sense to do the scenic races early. On paper, that seems like the way to do it, but I'll this is the real world and it doesn't work out that way. Today, is a trail race where I've maybe logged six miles total in the summer and today is winter. Lets see what happens.
Not only did my cheering section accompany me, but she also chauffeured. As we sat in the car, trying to keep warm before the start, I thought back to why I signed up for this run. Oh, how much difference a year makes. Looking at the pictures from the previous year, there wasn't more than a dusting of snow. Heck, that looks easy, I can do that! Staring out the window, not the same! I think I should be skiing, not running. Did I really sign up for this? Did I miss the "no snowdrifts" option when filled out the form?
Scraaaape, goes the shovel to start the race. The first mile was on a two track that had been driven on, so it was almost like running on snow covered roads. The traction of the new shoes felt good. While it wasn't prefect, it wasn't bad and only added a little extra effort. Then mile two started the trail. Conditions quickly changed, to a single path of footprints in probably six to eight inches of powder. At this point I quickly decided there wasn't any point wasting energy trying to pass people. At times, it felt very frustrating not to go faster, but I kept telling myself it's okay and it's better to save energy for the end because it's still very early in this race and even though it seems to be going alright, never know what's to come.
At the first water stop, I got the typical question of "where are you from, Alaska"? Somewhere after this stop, I noticed that my calves were starting to hurt. It would be one thing it were because it was super hilly, but I know this pain, I've felt it before. This is the tell tail sign where my shoes are brushing my calves as I struggle to keep my footing. While it's still early, this is going to be a problem, maybe this is why people wear pants. About this same time, the guy behind me says "woah dude, your leg is bleeding, that last stick got you". My response was no, it's just my calves starting to get raw from the scraping of my shoes, don't worry about it. Fast forward to the end, sure enough I had two puncture wounds from that stick. It looked like a cool battle wound, but the sad reality is the rubbing from my shoes totally masked getting stabbed by a stick.
Mile eight is where the "saving the best for last", stopped. This is a damn nightmare, crazy, what was I thinking, my ankles hurt so bad from all the excess twisting, my calves are on fire, lord I'm only halfway through this. Being fast, attempting to place thoughts were gone. Survival mode is here, and I know that because I'm walking up this hill while texting CT how awful I feel and how hard this is.
Mile ten, more of the same. This is the first race where I've had three different text conversations, with three different people, all going on the middle of a race before. I had the time, each mile seemed like it was taking forever. Before you say, you should have been running harder, maybe you'd be right, but my legs were done and fear of injuring my legs anymore than they already were telling me didn't make sense. At the last water stop, again I did something I've never done before, I grabbed a chair and sat down. My secret weapon for this race was going to be running with a spare pair of socks, figuring my feet would be soaking wet from the snow, switching them out would be a nice backup. While sitting, it was a challenge to even change my socks, my legs were cramping and even had my abs locking up in kind of a charlie horse. One would think this would be a nice break to regroup and finish this thing, but instead every second felt like torture.
The final miles were spent reflecting. I've had some very tough runs, the one that I thought would live in infamy forever as the most horrid one...just got passed by this one. I can't think of a race where I've been more excited to see the finish line. Crossed the line, can't even remember if I gave CT a hug, got my post race snow globe finisher medal, and practically fell into the car and let my chauffeur drive me home.
My injury report goes like this, two calves that burned something awful for two days post race from the slashing they endured trying to stay upright. Right calf, two pencil sized holes from a stick. Didn't even notice this until the following day because the pain from everything else, but a good sized blood blister on my right little toe. Then finally, the sore muscles that lasted all week. But hey, it was a pretty run. Think I'm going to pass on this one next year and will really save this race for never.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
That didn't take long, less than 24 hours to be exact! I haven't even had my new shoes long enough to name them and they already got me in the local paper. That's impressive. Talk about pressure to aptly name them.
If you took the time to read the article, then you've probably figured out that it really wasn't my shoes that got me noticed, but my shorts, again. Lets face it, giving my shorts credit is hardly fun at all! People sure love to make a big deal of it, though CT's favorite story of the day was passing a couple of women who made it a point to say "it didn't impress them much" under their breaths. Meanwhile my mind drifts of Shania singing that to me...oh back to reality.
This run certainly wasn't meant to get noticed for wearing shorts on a cold winter day. The goal of the day was testing out my new shoes! With my trail run this weekend, I've been nervous about the conditions playing much more of a factor than I had anticipated. Of course, it was silly of me to expect the mild winter conditions we had last year to repeat this year, but I fully expected to be running the trails with not much more than a dusting of snow. When the race director sends out an email a week before asking for volunteers with chainsaws to help clear the course, things might be a little dicey. I love my Green Mambas, but I've been slipping and sliding in the snow like crazy. Even short runs have seemed like a chore with all the extra effort needed to keep going and upright. The time has come for something with a little more traction, enter the unnamed.
I've looked for a while, but nothing jumped out said "buy me", plus I feel loyalty to the Green Mambas. It's not like I'd replace them, but it would be good to have a good trail shoe. After another attempt of surveying all the shoes, I was almost set to leave again empty handed when one of my Gazelle buddies got excited to show me a shoe on the clearance rack. First impression, that's "flashy", upon opening box. Not sure if bright red is the statement I'm going for, but then again I'm the guy who wears shorts in the winter. One shoe on, this feels so good, much better than I expected. Hmm, let me try them both on. A short test sprint in the store, sold! Jiminy Christmas these feel fast. Maybe, it's simply trying new shoes after years of wearing the same style. This running thing is so mental, I don't care if it's pure BS, psychologically it felt like I could chase down a cheetah in these things. Quickest sales job ever.
A twenty foot test run and a sixteen mile trail run in the middle of a blizzard are two different things. Now, it becomes do I bend the cardinal rule of never racing in new gear. I say bend, not break, because I obviously used the unnamed for the One One run. How did they do? Completely different ride. While not a trail run, the conditions were horrible, a good four inches of snow with all kinds of foot prints all over in it. The start was fairly flat and I could already tell the immediate improvement in traction, but the game changer was on the first hill, people were sliding all over the place and had to really slow down, I could actually increase my speed going up. This is where the sky opens up and the awwwwwwww sound comes with the light shining down, but this is Michigan where we are getting blasted with a storm, so just pretend. I'm calling this a very successful first test. It only would have been better had the unnamed melted the snow behind me.
What does the future hold for the unnamed, I'm not sure, but it's a New Year!
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
2013 started off with a goal, running at least a half marathon every month for the whole year. Well, I did it*! Pause. Why the asterisk? Well, I need a couple more days to pull it off. It's hard to find runs in some months and December happens to be one of those months, so I need to spill over into 2014 by four days to accomplish my goal. Even though I have to do that, I'm still calling my goal good! Here are the totals for the year:
6 Half Marathons
2 soon to be 3 25K's
and my hometown 5K that I'll include just because it's a race
For a grand total of 1,550.1 miles run this year! That's damn impressive if you ask me. It's so impressive, I decided to treat myself to a new pair of shoes.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Tis the season for some romance! I'm the real deal, the complete package. I know it doesn't seem that way, running all over town with my shirt off and shorts to impress the ladies like a typical jock. Oh, there's so much more to me than the hot bod. To prove this, I figured taking my special lady out for not only a fine dinner, but also a night at a castle would only solidify (at least in my own mind) what a great guy I am. How do you think this fairy tale is going to end?
Before I blur the lines too much with my misty haze of the truth, I'll admit it was CT's idea to simply have dinner at the Castle and not my own. There, I said it, so I need to work on this romance thing. While researching, I decided it would be my surprise to turn our dinner date to a full evening. Why not? We hadn't done anything like this before, why not go for the full experience and treat ourselves to something neither of us had ever done. Thirty seconds after clicking "buy", I got hit with a feeling that I rushed into my decision. Nah, everything will be fine, it feels a little drafty here. Thirty minutes later, curiosity got the better of me and that strange feeling after clicking buy got the better of me and I found myself checking some of the reviews. Knight and Day (like what I did with that?), ugh! For every positive, there was at least one scalding awful review, what had I gotten us into?
Our stay at the Castle remained a secret until the day of, which I was proud of. The beans (not magic ones) were spilled only because I didn't want to be responsible for trying to pack everything we'd need for an overnight stay and thought it would be best to tell CT the plan. She seemed surprised, so either she's a good liar or it kind of worked.
Standing waiting to be checked in, that feeling came back. That same one that I felt purchasing this adventure, something just felt odd. This is an old Castle, ghosts maybe? Our room was nice, not four star hotel big city nice, but it had character. Don't want to overuse odd, so I'll say strange to open the outside door and be in the bathroom, but hey, there are times when bathroom is the first room you want to hit, coming from a runner.
We took in the atmosphere of our room at first. I wouldn't say it felt like a room in a castle, I'd probably say more of a Victorian feel. Do I even know what that is? Who is writing this? The novelty wore off soon enough and we wanted to explore the rest of the castle. We we able to peak in a couple of the rooms that were still left unoccupied. Each had their own them and nitch. Occupied rooms had their doors closed, yet one of the staff opened one of the rooms for us. It smelled weird and both CT and I discovered at the same time this room really was occupied, her by seeing a curling iron in the bathroom and me by seeing a cell phone charging. As if two mice, we scurried out of the room before being discovered, whoops!
This whole time, the staff were busy setting up dinner tables on our level and even the landing of the stairwell, hmmm. With our exploring ending with slight embarrassment, we figured might as well eat dinner. Here is where our first real sign of trouble started. "Oh, we have two Christmas parties we are hosting tonight, so you won't be eating in the dinning room." The Princess and Prince were now banished to eating dinner on the landing of the stairwell. We can "roll" with the punches pretty well and it wasn't a big deal. Many of the reviews were critical of one of the courses of the meal being a roll. That's just kind of funny to us, again only adds to the overall story. It turned out to be a private dinner (in the stairwell), while I'd want to say it was completely reserved for us, I think it may have to do with that latter, more on this in a minute. Either way, it felt odd that nobody else ate dinner.
After dinner, we retired back to our suite. Wanting to relax, this is when we tried the TV only to find it wasn't functioning. This might have been CT's breaking point. She wanted to call the front desk and have it fixed. I explained, we are in a castle, they didn't have TV back then, we can survive without it (meanwhile playing on my tablet). There is another funny story here, but this blog has a rating system and I have to leave out some details to keep the readers guessing.
Anyway, fast forward about an hour and the Christmas parties are in full swing because the noise is a constant cocktail party bantering. Romantic! One of the things I really wanted to experience was the hot tub on the roof overlooking the city. I thought at night, in the winter, it would be something to remember for sure. The thought of walking out the room, through what essentially is dinner tables to get to the roof seemed like bad taste, even for me. Good thing I booked a room with a Jacuzzi tub! CT started the tub and came back to bed and at this point began to feel ill. Remember the latter, well this is it and it is food poising. There went dinner. On her return trip to bed, she reported that the tub was filling very slowly. Hoping she'd feel better after a little nap, I continued to let the tub fill as I continued to play on my tablet, damn castles without TV! About fifteen minutes later, I decided to check the tub, two inches! That's it! At this rate, it will be another hundred years before this thing fills! This may have been by breaking point, but now it was simply a quest to see how long would it take to fill this tub, since my Princess had now fallen into a deep sleep. You ready for this? One and a half hours to fill! At this point, I'd almost call it despair. Room problems, dinner problems, how did it come to this? Here I sit in a Jacuzzi tub, by myself, listening to the commotion of a party, watching my sick wife sleep. Do I know how to have a good time or what?
The story isn't over yet, one last thing. We had made early plans for the next day prior to booking this fiasco. Even though we had those plans, I still felt like we could get breakfast in at the Castle when I saw when the kitchen started. On the dot, we arrive downstairs to hopefully end this adventure on a positive. What did we find? Not even the ghosts were up, the Castle was dead. Figuring we might as well pack the car, then come back and by then there would be activity, nope. At this point, we simply shrugged our shoulders and left the key at the vacant front desk.
If this is how Kings and Queens live, they can have it. We could have ordered pizza and stayed at local hotel and had a much more romantic, quiet, experience. Prior to staying CT had been worried that ghosts might be living in this Castle, but after our experience, I'm convinced any ghosts that had been living there have long since left for better living conditions.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Speed, it's what every runner wants. Few are gifted enough to have it naturally and even those who do are required to put ridiculous amounts of time and effort to keep it. It seems like I run crazy amounts, to make minimal gains, and I know it doesn't even scratch the surface of what real runners do. It's kind of sickening, but at the same time, I have a whole new level of respect to them. Where do I fall between the Tortoise and the Hare? I'd like to think closer to the hare, but today I'm a turtle.
This is the last scheduled race before the end of the year. The last race should be special, right? Well, special enough to get us out of town for a mini vacation. Say hello, to Mackinac Island! Who schedules a summer time island for the tail end of fall? Well, runners of course! It's a chilly, dreary, day to start with as we wait for the ferry. The line waiting for the boat looks much longer than the boat could hold. Who knew there were this many hardcore, boarder line psychotic people. As it turns out, standing room only for our group of Superstars, but at least we were inside. Oh, those poor suckers outside dealing with the wind and splashing water. See, should have got to the dock sooner! Speed is good, again.
This race has three options, the half marathon, a 5.7 mile run, and get this a 5.7 mile walk. Why would I even mention this? Wait for it, suspense is best for story telling, the one time speed isn't best. I signed us up for this race before CT got injured. The race powers wouldn't let her defer to next year, but they would let her switch to the walk. Now, don't get me wrong, CT is happy to be doing anything, and although it's not running, it's something. You'd think that simply being able to participate and not having to only watch would be the icing on the cake for her. No, the icing on cake with the cherry on top, better make that a TURTLE sundae, was when she found out they also give awards for walking! Her eyes started sparkling like only hers can. Oh boy, competitive CT is back.
Once on the island, we all get settled. As you know, to me there is no such thing as a race that is too cold. That being said, it was damn cold with the wind. Luckily, we could hide in the building prior to the start. To say CT was antsy, is an understatement, stressing over if she'd place in her age group, wanting first. She finally had to go line up early. The shorter run and walk started earlier than my race, but I couldn't stand outside in the elements long enough to see her off. My plan was to stay in the warmth until about five minutes before her start, then see her off. Just as I was about to do that, sis Downhill, told me let her go, she's in her zone, she's starting to get snippy! That was enough for me, to heed the advice of Downhill. I know all about that zone, best to stay clear!
Holy crowded! Lining up, it was a mob of people in a little space. I suppose it helped to keep warm, but it was almost impossible to even see where the start was. I had a vague idea of how the course would go. The first two miles were along the shore, then the next nine were over and around the interior or the island on "trails" and the final two were back on the same road we started on. This wouldn't be a flat course and I knew the biggest climb would be from about mile two to five. I figured I'd have an advantage here, but also didn't want to push too hard to burn too much energy, but based on this cattle heard of people, I was now worried about how big these trails were. This would go against all my race strategies, but told myself to go out fast to avoid getting stuck behind people if the trails were tight. Speed.
Splish, splash, goes the starting gun. Is this a triathlon? Two steps past crossing the starting line, two huge pools of water laid in wait. There is NO WAY I'm running thirteen miles in soaking shoes. I did my best impression of a basilisk (Look it up), again speed! Past the water, the challenge became dodging people and horse poop for the first mile. Going fast, trying not to spend too much energy making unnecessary moves, I felt pretty good, until some young kid blew by me. Speed. Things are thinning out and now it's just a matter of finding the grove. As I caught and passed small pockets of people, I couldn't help but notice how poor people race. Granted, running along the curves of the shoreline was scenic, but I was amazed at how many people stuck to the edge of the curve that they were running, without at least trying to being on the inside, let alone adjusting in an attempt to run the tangents. I caught and passed so many people when I really didn't feel like I was running faster than them, simply by cutting the angles. Hell, maybe I don't need speed, if everybody wants to add distance to their run.
Mile two is where the trail started. Trail turned out to be an exaggeration. Dirt road is more like it. Maybe starting out fast wasn't the best idea, because I clearly didn't have to worry about getting stuck behind people on a narrow trail. Before I could second guess my strategy, there was a huge mud puddle, bog, swamp thing spanning the entire width of the trail. Skirting the edge as best as possible seemed to work, but it was also very slippery. Now, I was glad I started out fast because the people were now thinned out enough were it became easier to plan and navigate around the water hazards.
Somewhere in this section the hill definitely started. Passing a volunteer, she cheerfully announced to the woman in front of me she was woman number ten. As I pass, nothing. Does that mean I'm so far back I don't count for the guys? Or is it because I'm a guy, that I don't matter? What a bunch of bullshit, or on this run I suppose it should be horseshit! Either way, it annoyed me. Sorry number ten, the hill is here and this (meaning being a head of me), isn't going down. There goes number ten, then nine, and eight females.
The middle miles leveled out. Figuring the worse was over, I felt pretty good, besides almost drinking part of a tree that had fallen into my water cup at a water station. While not exactly on PR pace, I was doing much better than I thought I would considering I had just ran a marathon six days earlier. But, then the rollers started. Up and down, up and down, over and over. Scouting the course on the web, this caught me completely off guard. Brutal. This is where Karma caught up with me for making it a game passing those women, starting too fast, and probably not falling in one of those many puddles. My hip started bothering me and all I could do was wish for the trail portion to end and road back to the finish to start.
Nine guys passed me and I swear they all looked like they were in my age group in this section. Even though I had slowed, I still was clocking some great miles. It frustrated me that these guys were catching me, but at the same time I knew my time was going to end up being pretty darn good. Damn hares, maybe they'll need a nap before the end.
Crossing the finish line, I somehow managed to run my third fastest half marathon time on what was a damn hilly course. I gave CT a hug, she was all smiles with her medal for her race. Then it was hobbling to the building to change and attempt to warm up. Inside, we checked the results. For me? Fourth in my group. Not fast enough to be the hare, but I guess I still have my hair, so those nine guys who passed me must have just looked old. Sure enough, CT the walker, placed first in her age group! Can you believe that? It shouldn't surprise, but she she is coming off surgery, and she still gets an award. Figures, the "injured" turtle of the group, is really the hare.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
The morning started staring at a shirt. A few years ago, all my race gear would be laid out the night before neatly organized, ready at a moments notice. My race bib would even already be attached to the shirt I was planning on wearing. It was done under the pretense of preventing anything being forgotten, but honestly it was nerves and the excitement leading up to the race. That adrenaline rush has worn off and waiting until the last minute, seems more natural to my style. Seven o'clock? Maybe, I did it because I didn't have the vast selection of shirts to choose from. Now, heck, I have my choice of color coordinating the shirt to the race itself, the theme, or matching my shoes. The choices, oh my! Green it is!
Preparing for this marathon has me very unsure of how things will go. On one hand, I know I haven't put anywhere near the amount of time or miles getting ready for this race. On the other hand, a few weeks ago, I crushed by previous best half marathon time. Then there's my hip. It's been bothering me off and on since that run. Some runs by mile two it's bugging me, other's it holds off until mile eight. Rested legs versus nagging minor injury, roll the dice and see what happens today. Uncertainty, just like selecting a shirt.
Lined up behind the pace group I wanted to finish. Planned my GU spots slightly different for this marathon. I'm always paranoid carrying too much stuff. My new plan to avoid The Wall, has me taking more GU earlier in the race, specifically at mile six and every three after than. Compared to about every six in previous marathons. That's a lot of GU to carry, so I intended to run with three on my body and grab the two free ones along the course. Three GU's loading down my short shorts, lets get this party started!
The first miles were easy and relaxed. It seems like I've run this course so many damn times now, I feel like I almost know where the pot holes are. By mile three, I had closed the gap of space I gave the pace group and it was starting to feel congested. Hey, there's Steve! I'll probably regret this, but felt it was time to build my pace group buffer.
Four to nine miles were a blur. Hey, there's Rob and Chris! Whoops, I missed grabbing a free GU as I passed by. Then, there's the turn off for the half marathon people, lucky dogs! Why do I do this again? At this point the light bulb when off and dawned on me that at least my hip isn't bothering me.
Ten to fifteen are the prettiest of the run. Here, I'm still feeling very good. I've taken now all of my GU's. My half split has me on PR pace. Still, tons of miles to go, but most happy about not having to deal with my hip.
Sixteen, there it is, that slight twinge of there is just something not right with my hip. In addition to feeling it, it's the first time I notice my time being slower than what I thought I was running. This is where the fun starts. Did I mention how much I despise this part of the course? At this point it's an out and back on this awful graded trail. I swear that tracking devices also don't work here in this twilight zone of a trail and every mile is in fact two. By eighteen, I was in definite pain and was feeling funny. Figured, I'd muscle through it as best I could until twenty, then decide what goals I had for myself.
By twenty, I knew a PR wasn't going to happen. I was still ahead of the pace group I wanted, but was just offered the worst flavor GU, which I turned down thinking I'd have a chance to grab another flavor, nope that was it. For all my planning on increasing my GU consumption, I was going to end up using the same amount I've always used. I didn't ponder this long because now in addition to feeling a little funny, hip, now had a new source of pain coming from my inner thigh.
Even though I was feeling funny, I knew the tell tail signs of chafing. What is going on here? I've only had this issue one race where I was stupidly pouring water on myself in an attempt to cool off. Besides, the occasional water stop spill while drinking and running, I didn't think my shorts were getting that wet. Regardless of why or how, this was the most immediate problem, hip pain was a distant thought. Between twenty-one and twenty-two, the pace group caught and passed me. Once that happened, all thoughts of going for a time went out the window and surviving became the plan.
The final miles were ugly, but I wasn't going for style points either. Getting across the line for Marathon number eight was good enough for me. When I did cross, I'm not sure if I was more relived to be done with the damn thing or surprised to the fact with how bad my inner thigh hurt, my time was respectable. I'll spare you, the reader, with the gross chafing picture. You are welcome.
So, what is TDS? Is it the condition that cause the chafing? No, maybe, yes. TDS, I'm labeling as That Damn Shirt. I've spoken about how I've got my little runner routines, how I do them, but I don't believe them. Well, I've had it with this shirt! Only bad races have resulted when wearing this shirt. Prior to selecting it this morning, I ruled out how silly that superstition was, and tempted fate. The result, TDS. The result, is you'll never see this shirt on me again come race day!
Saturday, September 28, 2013
A year ago, I stood injured and unable to start a race for the first time of my short career, the Park 2 Park Half Marathon. It was my first race designated cheerleader and spectator, not runner. There's nothing easy about running thirteen point one miles, but being forced to watch, taught me watching was WAY more difficult. That was my first taste and hopefully the last of being injured. This year, CT is only a couple days from getting surgery, so it should be obvious she's not running. It's a catch twenty-two, she wants to watch and support me, but at the same time I remember how awful it felt to watch and not being able to run. There's really no way that I'd be able to talk her out of it, so here we go.
I like to think that deep down I believe in logic, things that make sense over the supernatural. Sure, I've got a couple of my pre-race superstitions, but I'd like to think I do them more for repetition and comfort than believing they'll magically help me. Driving to the race, both CT and I watched this amazingly bright shooting star come streaking towards the ground. I asked if she made a wish, she did. I did too, but mine was in fun, not because I believe it would come true, logic, right?
Marathon training is winding down. Last week was the last (and my first) twenty miler of the season. Needless to say, my miles are down and that was evident because I struggled towards the end. That has brought me to the conclusion that next month's marathon is going to run strictly for fun and I won't be trying to set any PR's. Today's run is suppose to be a pace run, so I figured might as well do a half marathon, especially since I missed this race last year. Since I'm not planning on running the marathon fast, I figured today I'd run today's race at the pace I'd like to be able to run a marathon at someday. That pace would put me at about a 1:42 finish. Not close to my PR time for a half, but I think a very respectable time. Well, I thought it was respectable, until I verbalized out loud to CT what time I was planning on. You would have thought I served her the sourest drink in the world, while kicking her bad leg, with the face she made. It was truly awful! She then informed me that if I ran a 1:35, she'd buy me a Big Mac. A 1:35?! Keep in mind my PR is a 1:36 and that day the stars aligned. Ridiculous! I haven't come close to running that fast in a while and even then, not for a half. She is out of her mind!
I was still in shock as I wandered up to the starting line. 1:35? That is so damn ridiculous, where did she pull that number from? No way I'm getting a Big Mac today. "You sandbagging it today?", as I get knocked out of my stupor. That's the comment I got from a guy who typically runs with the local run groups. Sheesh, rough crowd today, simply because I lined up behind the eight minute pace group! Sandbagging and 1:35?What's next?
Whoosh (my impression of a shooting star sound), goes the gun. They changed the course and venue this year and it just so happens that about a mile out is the apex of the race with there being a spot where we cross three times in the race as course makes somewhat of a figure eight. I had CT head there, so she could watch and dare I say support. Sure enough, I can see her in the distance coming on on the first mile. I also notice a running friend who happens to be a Gazelle just ahead of me. First thing out of CT's mouth, "Don't let her beat you!". As if a 1:35 wasn't a tall enough task, now I had this added pressure added.
It was nice to have a familiar face to run with, even if it did mean going faster than I wanted. The first mile clocked in close to "my" projected finish time. Mile two, right about my PR pace. Uggh, should I really be doing this? The miles did seem fairly easy and I didn't feel like I was pushing too hard, so I figured just go with it and see what happens. Mile three, still at PR pace. Mile four, there's CT again. The Gazelle decided to ditch her first layer, I debated, but ultimately decided if I were going to attempt to keep up with this Gazelle, I better take mine off as well. CT became a gear check station as clothing went flying towards her. Mile four, even faster than PR pace! Is that right?
At this point, I had to smile a little as the Gazelle now began pointing out people who she was planning on catching. Hmm, that sounds like somebody else I know. Mile five is in the books and WTF is wrong with my watch, it just said I did an under seven minute mile? Mile six, again under seven. I've never clocked under seven minute miles in ANY of my long races. Oh man, I'm in some serious trouble because eventually running this fast is going to catch up with me and I'll be sorry. I can't slow down though, team Gazelle is rocking. The Gazelle runs the place, I support the place with all the gear I buy! Teamwork! Seven, under seven. Eight, at seven, and it's only there because of hitting a water stop. This is crazy!
At this point, I was honestly really starting to get worried. I haven't run close to this fast for this long in a while. I figured the end was moments away at any point. Then I noticed the Gazelle started to fidget with her shirt and bib more. Did she push too hard and her were her wheels coming off? Mile nine, it finally started to feel like work. Between nine and ten, I could tell maintaining this pace wasn't going to happen. I figured I'd attempt to make it to ten, then I'd free the Gazelle and let her finish at her own pace without me holding her back. At ten, I told her this and decided I wasn't going to try to hang with her, but I also wouldn't take my foot of the gas either, maintain. Mile eleven, not under seven, but still better than PR pace. Twelve, still better. At this point I was involved with runner math in my head. I figured I'd have my PR, but wasn't sure if I'd pull off the Big Mac.
It wasn't until the last mile finally clicked on my watch, that it sunk in that I could fall apart and run an easy pace mile and still get a 1:35. Things were starting to get sore and tired. It was great seeing CT on the final stretch to the finish line. It was even better seeing her at the finish line standing next to the clock with a 1:33 on it! Holy Sh*t! Or should I say Holy Big Mac?
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be able to pull a run off like this. Makes me wonder what CT wished for with that shooting star.