While standing at the start line a guy next to me asked me if I was sponsored. This was a first. Yes, I am but it is not because I am fast [I knew this is what he was thinking]. His goal for the race was a 1:34, he asked mine. Between 1:30 and 1:32, giving myself an out by saying I just had a baby 9 months ago. It is hard for me to know how it affects me in the longer race distances. He said he was running NYC, when I asked him his goal — around 2:50 ish. He asked what marathon I was running and what my goal was, I responded with my typical I’d like to PR but I am hoping for around a 3:10.
My mind wondered why this guy who seemed fitter than me was only trying to run a 1:34 for a half but had the goal of 2:50 for a full. Was my goal off for this race? Was he using this as a training run? I was confused.
The gun went off and I went out at what was a comfortable pace. I was not out of breath, and I felt like I could maintain this pace for 13.1 miles. I was running with some of the lead men. WEIRD. Another super in shape, two of him would equal one of me guy, asked me if I had run this race before. I said in 2005 but it was a different course then. He told me there were some MAJOR hills in the last miles. I laughed and said, yeah well do not tell any other women that and maybe it will work to my advantage. Maybe the hills will tire them out.
What I now think that man was trying to tell me is, girl you can not start out at this pace on this course. Look at how fast I am and how SLOW I am running right now in comparison to my goal time. Hind sight is 20/20.
The first mile was a loop around the parking lot. Mile 1 – 6:30.
Seemed hard but easy at the same time.
Mile 2 was rolling hills, not hilly, but not flat. 6:47
Okay my pace was slower, but that is okay – You are going to have up and down miles Dorothy, you got this.
Mile 3 – 6:51. I am thirsty as heck. Geese already Dorothy? Then I heard it. The sloshing I heard at Boston Marathon. You have got to be kidding me. F-ity, F, F, F! Honestly why do you do this Dorothy? At that point I knew my race was over.
I was dehydrated and the sloshing meant that no matter how much water I drank for the next 10 miles my body was not going to absorb it, it was just going to keep on filling up my belly. [I will do a posting later on what exactly is happening to my stomach].
I did not want to quit because I have never quit a race. So I told myself it was going to be a very hard training run. At that point I thought I could keep my pace in the low 7’s – which would not result in a PR, but that was fine with me.
Mile 4. I hear a girl coming from behind, she is talking. I have rage. How does she feel so good? Oh yeah I bet she does not have a baby that was up all night, feeling crappy, wanting to nurse, dehydrating her even more than she already was. Ok Dorothy be calm, all these negative thoughts are because you do not feel good. It is okay.
Said girl runs up beside me and says. How old are you? Are you in high school cause you look like one of those skinny high school runners. Had I been feeling good this would have made me smile, blush possibly even laugh. Instead I said – I am 29. I have 3 kids. She remarked that the girl behind us was only a junior in college. Could I believe that? Believe what – that I am about to get my A$$ kicked by two girls that are 10 years younger than me and do not have kids….okay keep in mind I’m in a bad mood when this is happening, but I am still trying to be nice to this girl.
She goes – are you sponsored? Me: yes by Saucony. Her: WOW you must be fast, how fast do you have to be to get sponsored. Me: I am not fast, that is not why I am sponsored. Her: Well if you do not mind me asking, then why are you sponsored. Me: I do a running blog, work for races, bunch of stuff….I wanted to say because of my passion and dedication to the sport…but I did not feel very dedicated at that moment and certainly not passionate as I felt my legs get heavier with every step.
Then a guy came up from behind, she knew him and they started chatting. I was happy to be alone in my misery. I heard her up ahead say well I know this girl behind me is going to pass me in like 1/2 a mile…..ugh sweetheart there will be no passing for me today.
Mile 4: 6:55
Mile 5: 7:16
Mile 6: 7:20
Mile 7: 7:14
Mile 8: 8:10
Mile 9: 8:11
Mile 10: 7:57
Mile 11: 8:27
The race just went down hill with every step I took. The hills were no joke. I wanted to walk. I saw my dear friend Karen on the out and back. She cheered for me. I felt like a jerk because all I could do was smile, I did not even have the energy to cheer her on. I got passed and passed and passed.
Somewhere around mile 12 – when I was thinking about giving up on training for a marathon this fall, this sweet girl passed me. She said to me —- are you okay? I said no, I‘m dehydrated but I’ll be fine. She said you want a gel, I have one in my pocket, you can have it. Oh thank you, I’m fine though. You sure? Yeah I’ll be fine. What I knew was that taking that gel would make me even worse off.
When you take gels without water your body pulls the water it needs for digestion from other parts of the body, essentially dehydrating you even more. It is why they write on the package, take with water/fluids.
I wanted to walk. I wanted to walk soooo bad. My mind screamed at me. DARN IT DOROTHY, you did not walk at Boston Marathon, you are certainly not walking at this half marathon. So I slugged on.
Mile 12: 9:45 – Holy heck…I can push three kids in a triple stroller up a hill faster than I am running right now.
Mile 13 was better at an 8:42, but only because I was in such misery that I was pushing just to get to the end. I sprinted in to the finish at a 7:24 avg, because I wanted to feel strong, but felt stupid. I felt like a poser. Here I was running in the 7’s when I just ran a mile in the 9’s. My mind was a mess.
I finished, felt dumb for a second because I knew all the people who had passed me where thinking YEP that girl went out too fast. My embarrasment only lasted a second and here’s why.
The week before I ran 80 miles. 80. That is more miles than I have ever run in my whole life! It took me over 10 years of consistent running to get to this mileage. I felt like a champion when I finished mile 80.
My legs were dead. I registered for this race last minute, so it was not my target race. I had a baby 9 months ago and he kept me up the night before [found out Monday morning he had an ear infection and is now on antibiotics], and lastly I think I am capable of running a 1/2 marathon at a 6:30 pace. Sunday was not that day, it was not the right course, it was not the right timing and I’m okay with that.
Why? Because I had an awesome morning.
I got up at 4 am – fed baby C and got ready. Got the kids up at 4:45 and packed them in the car. My friend Karen came over and we drove the kids an hour up to my dads house, chatting the whole way.
This was the first race we have done together just us! We both had an off race.
We went back to my dads house, switched cars with him and went home. We put the top down on my dads convertible and enjoyed the ride home chatting and learning more about each other. We got Starbucks, I drove her past Chloe’s school and showed her the house I grew up in. It was an awesome morning. So what if my time was 10 minutes off of what I was hoping it would be, 5 years ago I would have been over the moon about this time. Finish time: 1:41:30, 9th female overall.
Some races are not about PR’s, good times, or fast miles – this race was about having fun with a friend and making memories that last a life time.
P.S. In hindsight I could kiss that girl that said I looked like a skinny high school runner[she won the race]. In high school I was neither skinny nor a runner, so to be mistaken for that at age 29, 9 months after baby #3 is a compliment. When I was sprinting in to the finish she cheered for me and said You Are My Hero. A belated thank you and sorry for seeming like a b*tch – I was dead tired 🙂