Monday, November 12, 2007

I am part Kenyan.. you know

So yes.. I had an awesome weekend. Check out the results! Long story short.. it was awesome.

Okay, nevermind. Here is the long story.

We left here with three other folks, one exercise bio masters student and two sophomores. We headed straight to the Outer Banks and arrived at Matt's grandparents house which they built years ago. Cute and quaint, quite unlike the typical huge Banks house. I cooked up some spaghetti for the gang as we chatted and explored the house.

Slept in the next morning and had some cranberry orange bread and cheerios for breakfast. We headed down to the Expo to pick up our race packets and get acquainted with the course. We wanted to get lunch and ended up going to the same Nags Head Grill that I went to with my family in the spring. Delicious, again!

Back to the house after a few stops, as the weather got worse and worse. We watched a disappointing Carolina vs. NC State football game and then a couple more cars full of runners arrived. Only me and one other guy were running the full marathon, but it was cool to see people who were new to running trying their hand at a long race.

Matt's grandfather made up a big batch of delicious homemade marinara sauce for our pre-race meal, but some heart pains caused a scary trip to the ER. Luckily he is fine, but we enjoyed our pasta without his company. Trent and I went on a walk on the beach, gorgeous stormy evening, and then off to bed early!

Up at 5:45 to start eating and planning. It was brisk but not cold, but I always like to be warm when running so I had all my best duds on. Trent was a FANTASTIC organizer/driver/coach. He made sure I ate and drank enough, got me there on time, and gave me a great last minute pep talk. Then, before I knew it.. we were off!!

I was hoping to run well, but a couple weeks before I realized it was a bit ambitious to try to qualify. People train for lifetimes to qualify for Boston. I had a lot of school and other things going on. I just wanted to have a good race, not injure myself and hopefully beat my last time of 3:54. But then.. I felt good. I felt strong. I felt fast. I had to work to stay slow.

It was a beautiful course, along the bay side, on a bike path through a fancy neighborhood. The whole city was apparently out cheering and giving us food and water. It was amazing. Here are a couple pics of me and my posse I ran with for most of the time. I especially like the tie-dyed dude!

I am not going to say it was all a cake-walk. This is around mile 18. Mile 18 is no fun regardless. But I was keeping a great pace and Trent was super helpful speeding around on his bike, getting me more Gu's and keeping me company. He couldn't ride the entire time, as a few miles were off road, but knowing he would show up unexpectedly made the race fly by. Relatively.

Around mile 20, I got an awesome runners high. However, around mile 22, Trent had to leave me and I had to deal with the only "hill" of the course. It was actually just a bridge over the bay onto the island of Manteo, but it felt like climbing Everest. It took a lot of determination to keep going, but I had a new motivation. It was looking like I might qualify! I spent too much of the race pushing myself to give up 4 miles from the end because I was a bit tired. I pushed on. It was no fun, to be honest. I didn't think the end was ever going to arrive. I don't actually remember the last two or so miles. But apparently I was moving quite fast and passed a couple girls. I remember a nice lady telling me.. just a quarter mile, and I knew I could do it. I finished at 3:31! And I was one happy, emotional, exhausted, camper.

Here I am getting my timing chip taken off. I was too tired to lean over and help her. But look at that happy face. SO HAPPY!

It was a great race, I qualified for Boston, I was the first female finisher in my age group and the 10th female overall. Like 10th behind the Kenyans. It was amazing. And a huge thanks to my awesome Trent, the best support and coach and boyfriend I could ask for. He would have been proud of me regardless, but knowing how excited he would be if I qualified made me want to do my best.

We left, although I should have stayed and got my award on the podium, but I had no idea I did so well. Back to the house to clean and pack up, then into the car. It was rough sitting for 4 hours after running for nearly 4, and we had to make a few stops so we could stretch our legs, but everyone had a great time and we made it back. I am on a steady supply of Advil and walking like an 80 year old, but no serious injuries. Just lots of rest and relaxation ahead for me!