Oh goodness.. what a great weekend. We headed out with our friend Alyse snuggled in between Abby and Pilot. I was worried they'd want to play the whole ride, but they quickly fell asleep. Easy drive and we made it to the house around 9pm.
The house.. was awesome. Trent coordinated a bunch of friends to stay together so we got an enormous three story beach house, complete with an elevator and 12 rooms. We were on the top floor, which was also the big living room and kitchen. The second floor was all bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, and the first floor was a smaller kitchen/living room and several more rooms.
There were three dogs total, all cute little red puppies. They had SUCH a blast playing all weekend long, Pilot was in heaven. We quickly headed out to the grocery store as folks started arriving. We ended up being about 20 people total but the house was so big it never felt crowded.
Saturday was lovely and lazy. Lots of catching up on cheezy TV, reading, lunch at a local brewery. We picked up our packets and Trent and I had fun being the resident experts on this race (this is the 4th time I have run this race, we know the area!). Home and more lounging and then everyone made their pre-race dinner. Lotsa pasta! I was pretty nervous the night before... with the injury and my busy week I had NO idea how the race would go.
Up early early early to start eating peanut butter toast and coffee. Dressed and out the door by 6:30am. We drove over with a new friend, a MD who works in infectious diseases in Durham. He did the Peace Corps and it was a nice distraction to chat with him on the way over.
And then before you know it... time to run. I had no idea what pacing I should do or was planning on doing, but then dang.. you could set a clock to my miles per hour. 8 minutes per mile, mile after mile after mile. The weather was great, I felt fast, I felt happy. I had an epic runners high at mile 14 and again at mile 20. Usually I start to fade around mile 18, but for some reason, I felt great. I was so happy to see 8:00 pop up on my watch at each mile flag.
And then, mile 23. Blargh. The only hill on the course, and then mile 24 is along a busy road. Demoralizing. But I was really proud of myself. After a little mental math, I knew exactly what I needed to do to get a qualifying time for Boston. And I wanted it. So I dug deep and put one foot in front of the other. I thought of all the wonderful people in my life who have done MUCH harder things than simply running. A girl I used to give riding lessons to decided to have deep brain stimulation to help with jerky motions. Recently she's been posting the most uplifting pictures and comments on facebook. It looks so scary, but her smile is always radiant. I thought a lot about Jana in those last miles.
And then, it was over. I even kicked in the finish! 3:37 final time. 8:17 minute miles for 26.2 miles. I felt pretty rough. Luckily I immediately ran into Alyse (who did a great job with her first half-marathon) who took care of me. I'd seen Trent several times along the course, but he couldn't make it to the finish on time. She helped me hobble along and get wrapped up in my space blanket. Soon Trent showed up and we hung out waiting for other finishers. Everyone finished the race and felt, well... as good as they could for running 26.2 miles for the first time.
Back to the house (where I was SO happy for the elevator) and a quick ice bath (oh man, I was not a happy camper) and a long hot shower. Trent picked up pizzas and we chowed down. Naps for everyone and some people took off in the afternoon. Six of us headed to a cute restaurant for celebratory beers and dinner. Quick house clean up and a great night's sleep. Trent had to be at class at 9am so up early to hit the road... I just slept (best husband ever). I hobbled around at lab for most of the day and have been enjoying the sofa for the evening.
In recap... this race was great. Maybe taking the week completely off due to my injury really helped? Maybe I am just learning how far my body can take me? I honestly enjoyed 22 miles of it. I felt so capable and strong and alive. Runner's highs are amazing, I was dancing and smiling like a fool. And then the last 4.2... they were hard. But I think that is the part of the race that really tests you, when the going isn't so easy and you have to find something inside yourself that wants it. And I was happy I could. Kinda like life, no?
Hobbling around today like crazy, but nothing too significant. Big mistake wearing new shorts for the first time to run 26.2 miles (chafe-age!!) but I should be 100% soon. And I am going to take some time off running to let my body reset itself. Though I am excited about Tobacco Trail in March....