Sunday, May 7, 2017

Bleep Blop Bloop: A Race Report

So.... I won a race! Sure, it was a teeny tiny race with only a handful of runners but that doesn't change the fact that I was the first female marathon finisher! As my daughter Juliana said when I tried to downplay it afterward: "You showed up and did the thing!"

Official finish time: 3:42:12

Not only did I show up and do the thing, I shaved another 25 seconds off that dang BQ time that is still hanging over my head.

Ugh, that BQ time. I really really wish I could have run a sub-3:40 and guaranteed my entry for 2018 but my body was definitely not recovered from the marathon a ran four weeks ago. I'm not even really sure how I managed this one at all, other than pure strength of will. The "plan" was to just show up and see what happened. If I felt like crap I was totally going to take it easy and just use it as a "training run" for the 15-hour ultra I'm running in June. BUT, if I felt good I was going to ride that Boston qualifying pace for as long as possible.

The Starting Line: Where hopes and dreams live.

I felt.... eh? Not bad enough to shift out of race mode but also not *good* enough to feel optimistic about my chances. I was hanging on to an 8:20 pace but I knew I was WORKING for it. My heart rate definitely felt higher than it was at the Circular Logic Marathon earlier this month. BUT, I didn't bonk like a chump this time! Sure I faded the last third of the race but I didn't completely fall apart. It was actually right before mile 22 when something clicked. I was already off of a sub-3:40 pace so I was having an internal conversation with myself trying to give myself permission to jog the final four miles in. I wasn't going to get into the 3:30s so why push it? Then when I looped by the start/finish at mile 22 my friend Bill (who was the race announcer) came up to me and pointed out the woman just in front of me and said


Initially I rolled my eyes and groaned. I think I said something like, "Uhhhhh don't tell me that!" (Or at least I thought it.) I looked at her up ahead and thought there is no way I can speed up and catch her the way I'm feeling right now.

But... I kept at it. I didn't speed up, but I didn't slow down either. I told myself, "I have four miles. Maybe I can slowly chip away at it and then kick it up at the end?"

I should have given myself more credit! It only took one more mile and I realized that while I was holding a steady pace, she was clearly slowing down. I passed her just before mile 23 and promptly FREAKED OUT. I knew I wasn't going to get my PR today but I suddenly had a new, incredible goal. I WAS GOING TO WIN THIS RACE.

I spent the final three miles hanging on to my pace by the teeniest of threads, all the while wondering when the woman I passed was going to find a second wind and come charging back. I literally had nothing left in the tank so if she had made a move I was fully prepared to let her go. I just focused on the ground in front of me, swinging my arms and mentally willing my body to keep moving forward. Part of me felt silly for wanting my 3:4X marathon self to win so bad when it's not a race pace anywhere near worth bragging about- but when else was this ever going to happen to me? And at a race that was practically in my own back yard in Bay View! COME ON.

Yay! Turn the Garmin off. Try not to barf.

I won!

A Boston qualifying time -2:48 in the women's 40-44 age group. My biggest qualifying margin yet (although not a PR since my earlier, faster BQs were run when I was still in the 35-39 age group.)

I may or may not have signed up for a Last Chance to BQ race in September. Goddammit.