The event started out with a bang - literally. A cannon shoots off at the start of the race, and Tim got an amazing photo:
Although I'm a solo runner roughly 99% of the time, this race was completely atypical for me. I started the race running with lovely fellow blogger Twila. It was wonderful to meet her! I would say we ran together for about 25 minutes before I realized I was going just a little too fast. I waved her on ahead and settled into my perfect pace, just under 9 minute miles. I ran alone for another hour or so, just admiring the scenery (you run through a historic Civil War battlefield/national park).
|Still feeling good...|
Around mile 9, a woman running right around me introduced herself as Bettina and asked if we could run together. I said yes, but explained that I wasn't the chattiest runner. We stuck together for nearly two hours, and I'm so grateful that we were running together. It turned out that our husbands were both on the course at the same spot standing next to each other waiting for us to pass, so we introduced them to each other at mile 15. What are the odds of that happening, honestly?
Around this point, we picked up a third runner - my friend Jonathan who was aiming for a sub-4 marathon. He was completely on pace and the three of us ran together perfectly. Sadly, around 20 my new friend Bettina needed to drop back. (Spoiler alert: she still finished STRONG with a PR and a time of 4:12!) The last few miles Jonathan and I ran side by side, although we were both barely talking by this point. Although I had passed the halfway mark under 2 hours, I knew a sub-4 wasn't happening. My miles slowed every so slightly along the way, with my final mile coming in at 10:05. Negative splits continue to elude me.
|Around mile 24|
|Relearning how to walk at the finish line|
1) You can feel fine at the end, but have a nagging feeling that you didn't leave EVERYTHING out there on the course.
2) You can feel exhausted and miserable, having peaked and crashed too early.
3) You can feel spent - knowing that you gave the race everything and you performed to the best of your ability.
My race was the third option. I could not have asked for better conditions, better running partners, better support from Tim or better pacing overall. I don't think I could have finished that race any faster - I truly feel like I left it all out there. And it's a wonderful feeling. The temperatures were cold at the start and about 60 degrees at the finish - perfect. I felt exhausted but with no injuries-perfect. Intestinal distress? Fuhgettaboutit. I beat last year's time by 32 minutes, coming in with a chip time of 4:05:28-perfect.
|Best husband ever!|
Amazingly, I feel fine now. I stretched an insane amount on Saturday, and then went for a slow 2 mile walk that night with lots of stretching and foam rolling - and then the same again on Sunday. I feel great today, albeit tired, but I'm going to stick to cycling for a few more days to give my joints a break.
And to the winner, the spoils! Random.org picked #38 as the winner for the Oakley sunglasses, which is.... Marel Pease!
Marel, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your shipping information so that Sunglasses Shop can send you your new pair of Oakley Radar Edge sunglasses!
And with that, I bid you adieu. I'm going to take a little hiatus from blogging for a while. After thinking about it a lot, I've simply invested too much time, effort and emotion into this blog to give it up entirely. I think some time off will remind me of why I loved it in the first place. I'll still be on Facebook and Twitter, and of course you can always email me! As Arnie would say....I'll be back! (Bonus points if you said that out loud in an Austrian accent.)