The late arrival got me to the hotel almost at 10pm which didn't have me very concerned since I was merely running the race the next day as a training run. Coach Amanda had me on a tight leash with exact instructions for every mile through the 20 mark. Ugh!! I secretly wanted to just go hard from start to finish but I also know from experience that Coach is always right. Always. So I had enough time to barely gulp down a pizza before heading off to bed. I figured with the marathon starting at 9am, I had plenty of time to sleep in a little and still get my scheduled warm-up in. Ummm...wrong. Something inside caused me to double check the start time and thankfully I did because the marathon started at 7:30am, not 9am! NOOOOO... Oh well, visions of enjoying a Skinny Vanilla Latte prior to the race quickly faded away. I was stuck drinking some kind of strange looking coffee from the hotel room, at least I hope that was coffee but there's no telling.
I got to the starting line with enough time to warm-up and off we went. The first mile was a pretty good clip only because of the downhill. I found myself with a few other women upfront and could tell they were there to run it fast. Too bad that by mile 2, I had to scale it way back because that was Coach's orders. It seemed strange to be in the lead pack and than intentionally slow it down. At about the same time, this girl flew past me and the rest of the gals. She was on suicide pace while in the meantime, I'm plugging along in my prescribed heart rate zone. I can do this, I can do this...stay the course!! I kept telling myself so as not to go crazy. An iPod helps too. I switched to one of the newly uploaded songs and took my mind off competing. The goal wasn't to win, it was to land my training and set me up for another long run on Sunday.
Miles clicked by with the same girl upfront. Ohhhh I wanted so badly to try and catch her but I'm proud of myself for trusting Coach enough to hold back. My only saving grace was that she gave me open heart rate zones for the final 10k. That would be my only section to run hard. Before that, I was caged up like a bull waiting for the gate to swing open.
In the meantime, I took some time to reflect on training, some of the obstacles I've had the last few months and looked ahead to what my goals are for the race season. I also enjoyed the course which took us through the beautiful Campion multi-use path. This path was under construction when I lived there and it was nice to see how it came together throughout Las Colinas and Valley Ranch. One of the highlights was literally running past my old house which has terrific memories.
Coming through mile 18ish we had a long steady hill with head wind. I could see the lead girl ahead and lucky for me, I'd been running easy prior to this point. I gained on her and by mile 19 was sitting on her heels still waiting for the final 10k mark to let it fly. Of course, the question was how much did she have left in the tank?
I took off for the finish line and never bothered to look at my watch again. There were a few times where I wondered if she was sitting on my heels but at the end of the day one of two things would happen - either I was going to win, or she was going to win. It made no sense to look back and I floored it to the finish line.
Coming through the final two miles I remember was another long steady hill before entering the final stretch. Many of the half-marathoners were also finishing up and I was happy to be able to cheer them on. My legs felt like little pistons from the engine of a high speed train.
And so exactly what I didn't think would ever happen, did. I ran a 3:11 PR and won first female overall during a training run. Hahahaha! Some days life throws you lemons, and other days it hand feeds you chocolate covered strawberries. Or in my case, I enjoyed a cupcake (no pictures of the cupcake in case I ever want to deny that I would eat such a thing)!
A terrific moment in time that comes and goes quickly. By Sunday morning I was grunting and groaning up and down hills in the rain with cars spraying road grit all over me. Lemons?
Here's some pics from the marathon. And if you're in the area next year, I highly recommend the race! The course is almost exclusively on a perfectly paved path but when it goes onto the road it's coned off from traffic. Aid Stations are amazing with all sorts of goodies. I didn't stop to use them but it seemed like they had an abundance of stuff at each one. The course is also setup nicely to allow for friends and family to come out and cheer in multiple locations with two out and back sections. Perhaps what I loved the most though was the ease of parking only a few feet from the start and having access to the Irving Convention Center for bathrooms and stretching. The morning was chilly but we all enjoyed staying warm inside the building until gun time. Oh and the medals and trophies are FABULOUS! Thanks to everyone that helped make the Irving Marathon a memorable one!
And one last note, I honestly think it was my orange crusher Newton Gravities. Honestly. :)