This race is in my blood it seems. I know how tough it is, but I love it because it was my first half. I set out to run this race and get a PR. I have been training toward that goal and I know I have it in me. That being said, I did not accomplish my PR, but I fought for every mile and every step on Monday. I came very, very close to that PR and I will get it.
I rested all of last week because of my ankle. I got 4 miles in Saturday morning as a test run. I knew if I couldn’t do it pain free, then Monday was out of the question. I ran it pain free and so far still no ankle pain. I will not forget to stretch and roll like a rock star every single week, pretty much every other day for the rest of my life.
The expo was on Sunday, I volunteered to work our Moms Run This Town booth for a few hours. I grabbed mine and Ally’s packet the day before and we were set. That night we had dinner with a few friends and I got to bed early. I wasn’t too nervous yet. I didn’t realize it yet but I wasn’t drinking enough water. I had the minimum amount but really should have had more. Hind sight, right?
I had to be at the race at 6:15 on Monday to work packet pick-up. I got up at 5AM, got dressed, had breakfast, had a few minutes to sit (pace). Then grabbed my friend Lisa and we drove the 5 minutes to the race. We helped out and then the picture taking ensued. I don’t even know how many group pictures we took, it was like the paparazzi or something.
The weather called for rain and what we thought would be a downpour. It ended up being super cloudy at the start at 7:45 AM, temperate felt ok at that time. I never checked the humidity but I’m told it was in the 80% range.
I met up with my pacer, Melissa. We’ve been running together for about a month or so, she offered to pace me to what I had hoped would be my first 1:50 half. We did a little warm up, I talked with Ally once more about where she was going to line up. (She was running the 5.75 mile leg of the half relay). We had the prayer and we were off. First few miles were good. We tried to start on pace so we wouldn’t have to make up time at the end. I’d rather keep even splits than have to worry about how to make it up later. I decided not to carry water this race. I went back and forth on not wanting to have to carry it vs having the water when I wanted it. I did pretty good for the first few miles.
I got to mile 4 and it was like I hit a wall. This wave of heat coming off my head and chill bumps, I was seeing spots. I couldn’t figure out where this was coming from. I got some Gatorade and started on my Advocare Rehydrate Gel. I was planning on waiting til mile 5 at least but decided I needed it. We walked a minute, Melissa assuring me we were fine on time. I was having trouble getting my breathing under control so she was reminding me of that as well.
We started up again and were coming into the first hilly section of the race. I was feeling better and breathing was getting under control. I never thought to check my heart rate on my watch, but I knew there were times it was high.
Here we are heading into mile 5 or 5.5, I’m smiling and starting to think I had a grip on things.
After the turn around at the park I got to see Ally and cheer her on right before I started up a series of 2 hills. This was also about the time it started raining. Looking back I think the rain helped keep my breathing under control and heart rate down. If I think about when the rain stopped it was about the time things got bad. I had moments of greatness in this race, I was running like a champ. Then there were times when Melissa was literally telling me to take deep breaths, keep my arms down and relax.
We got these hills done and got a nice big downhill and a little bit of flat-ish running before heading into the last of the rolling hills to the finish. If I remember right mile 10 was pure greatness. I felt good, I took the hill with great form. We were still on pace, I was telling myself and Melissa how much I wanted this PR. I knew I could do it. Mentally I was ok. Physically I wasn’t but I kept on. Melissa was dumping water on my head and chest, trying to keep me cool and focused.
We took the last of the hills and made the next to the last turn, we were in mile 12 and my body gave up on me. I had to stop in the road and Melissa had to take hold of me. A guy I didn’t know came up behind us and grabbed my other arm. We stood there a few minutes, I knew enough that I was letting my PR slip out of my grasp.
This is the worst and best photo. I got to experience first hand what a great running community I’m a part of. Literally being held up to finish a race. Words cannot express my emotion. I have never, ever fought so hard for every step, every mile. I wanted this so bad and I can honestly say I left it all on the course.
I had no idea how bad off I was at this point. I only knew I wanted to finish. We tried telling the guy to go on, I didn’t want to ruin his race too. But there was no way he was leaving us. So we took off running, really slow, but running. I had to keep moving. We rounded the last corner, the finish line was in sight but might as well have been 3 miles away. I had to walk again, being held up.
I had enough fight to finish the race running but as soon as we crossed the line they both grabbed me and the medics had hold of me pretty quick. I don’t remember much, other than them telling me I didn’t look good, my eyes were red, they were dumping water on me again, laying ice packs on my neck.
I had to stay put for a while. I did get to eat an icee and a few small cupcakes, I guess the sugar was what I needed. They took my blood pressure and just watched me for at least 20 minutes but it seemed like forever. I missed my friends finishing and I felt so stupid at the time. But looking back I am a fighter, I went after what I wanted and even though I didn’t get it (this time), I didn’t give up.
And somehow through all that I took 1st place in my age group, something I have never done in a half. I am able to be excited about that now! Final time 1:52:22. It’s a course PR but, Allstate from last year holds my PR at 1:52:02.
Ally ran her relay like a rock star! She had the 1st leg, 5.75 miles, at a 9:10 per mile pace. I am so very proud of her! I cannot wait to see the things she will accomplish!
If you are in the Dallas area or willing to get there, the Patriot race is a tough course but one I highly recommend. The crowd support and finish line area is great. The parking is easy to get in and out of. It’s mentally and physically challenging but can bring out the fighter in you! Registration for 2015 is already going on and it’s at a great price.
You never know how you might affect someone in a race. I got to be the recipient of someone giving their time in a race to help me. And someone else emailed me to tell me I helped her early on in the race when I didn’t even know it. Sometimes all it takes is a positive attitude and a look of determination that someone needs to keep going.
Try to remember that the next time you feel like giving up.
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13