First, shout out to my freakish fast husband who finished first in his age group, and sixth overall. Holy crap.
Race morning: 30 degrees, zero wind, brrrrr, it’s April and I just want to wear my 2017 Coeur Team kit because I heard it has unicorns in it. Unicorns!
I packed a bag with a dozen different layer options. I spent 30 minutes before race start swapping layers, second guessing, wondering why I live here. I finally settled on a long sleeve to toss if needed, arm warmers under, and my Coeur kit. I ran for a few minutes to get loosened up. I hit the power button on my Garmin and it buzzed “Low LCD battery” and shut off.
Shit. Shit, shit shit shit shit. No. Dammit. Gahhhhhhhhhhh.
If endurance sports has taught me anything, it’s taught me to handle all the plot twists thrown at me on race day. No Garmin? Fine, I’ll roll without it. I seeded myself by the 9 minute mile group, with my goal being to break two for the first time since…2015? 2014? It’s been a while.
The race started, and I ran strong, having no idea what that actually meant in splits. I compared the feel to some previous runs. I felt fast, strong, loose, nothing hurt, it was a good day. It was scary to see how many people I started with disappearing into the distance, and how many people behind me were catching up and passing. Am I slowing down? What is happening? I don’t feel like I’m slowing down? I wonder how fast I’m running? omg. Shhhh, calm down, you’re running strong. No Garmin, no care.
My friend Clare left me a Facebook message that morning reminding me that there’s a 5K at the end of the race, a mental trick for me to finish strong. At the turn around my focus was to get to mile 10, so I could begin my 5K mental race trick. When I finally got to mile 10 I was all okay! Let’s go! Hey legs, let’s go! Hello? Legs? Mile 10, are we going to do this? Oh, I guess there’s no 5K at the end.
The last 3 miles were a struggle. I felt like I was moving in slow motion, and had no idea what the clock was ticking. There are no on course clocks, I was tempted to pull out my iPhone from my race belt, but I didn’t want that to slow me down. I’d slow down, and then think “but what if you miss it by 10 seconds? You’ll be pissed. Just try. You never know. Run. Go!”
I’m glad I thought that, because as I crested the last hill I looked for the race clock. There were so many people standing in front of it, with a few more steps I could read 01:5X:XX. I couldn’t make out the last bit, but I dropped every last ounce of will to get to the finish line in time.
Accomplishing my goal of breaking two hours makes me look back at the last few weeks of hustle in my training and know it was worth it. And now I have even more drive to work towards my next goals!