Where to start? I certainly have spent the last few days pondering how to write the report for this race. The only thought that continuously comes to mind is “No Regrets.” Coincidently, these are the words that I said to myself standing on the start line. Amazingly enough at the finish they were also the same words that I said to my sister Candice when she asked me if I was okay.
My training went great for this race and I felt more prepared to carry out my race plan of a BQ than I had ever felt before. Then my allergies, congestion and cough hit me like a ton of bricks a week out. I broke down and used a Neti Pot, drank a ton of liquids, slept like a champ and rested more than ran all to get me the start line in the best shape possible.
Race morning came and I methodically got dressed much the same as I would for any old long run. I wasn’t nervous. However, I could tell I was a little congested still. I stuffed a ton of kleenexes in my drop bag along with a bagel and some Nutella. My sister gives me a rubber bracelet that she had made for us that says, “I am not afraid” and “I was born to do this.” She knew I’d want to wear my necklace because of the words, but also knew I don’t like to wear jewelry while running. She is the best!
We hopped on the shuttle to take us to my start and then it would take her to the Half Start. I gave her a big hug and told her good luck. She told me to try not to cough and run fast. I headed into the school for the potty and to stay dry for as long as possible. It was misty raining and slightly humid but, I didn’t let that bother me at all. I was going to give it my best shot. . . No Regrets.
I met up with RunDanRun briefly and headed off to the start to chat a bit with my running group friends. The rain started coming down a bit harder but, it still wasn’t too bad. I took my place at the start and the gun went off. There I was running marathon #5. The start was a bit tight and slow going for a bit, but I managed to get on pace and settle in early. My plan was to stay at 8:25-8:30 pace for the first half and 8:15-8:20 for the second half which, in theory should’ve gotten me to right around a 3:40 finish. I may have had to pick up the pace for the last 5K but, if push came to shove I know I could do it. No regrets.
Deep down I knew this plan would most likely be sabotaged by my sinus congestion and crazy cough, but I wanted to give it a shot. I knew that it could cause the last part of the race to be absolutely miserable, but it was a chance I was willing to take. I knew I would finish no matter what. So, for the first half of the race I was feeling relatively good. The miles were ticking off fairly easily as I was taking in the views of the misty bay and the beautiful homes. About mile 11 the wheels started to fall off. My nose was running and causing me to have trouble breathing in. I resorted to breathing through my mouth a bit more to adjust but, that caused me to cough. . . a lot.
Miles 1-13 splits: 8:34, 8:22, 8:18, 8:37, 8:08, 8:34, 8:23, 8:20, 8:43, 8:36, 8:55, 8:27 (average pace – 8:27)
Miles 14-17 were where I completely lost it. I was coughing so bad that my tummy started to hurt. Uh oh. . . I knew I’d need to stop at the nearest POP. I kept looking down as I watched my pace slow and I would see my bracelet, reminding me that I was strong and I could pull it together and get back on pace, perhaps still PR. Ah, the POP. . . finally. I get inside and immediately. . . puke? Not good. . . I tried to potty, but nothing. . . on the road again. WTF – I have to pee again? Really? I just tried to go and couldn’t. At this point the coughing wasn’t making things any easier either. I couldn’t breathe right. I kept trying to fall into a rhthym and just couldn’t. The coughing led to more walking than I would’ve liked as I was trying to catch my breath. One more POP stop. . . it seemed to do the trick.
Miles 14-17 splits – 9:14, 12:11, 9:34, 10:27
I tried to pull it together and keep the pace in the 9 minute range, but my coughing fits just wouldn’t allow for it. I’d run for as long and as fast as I could, cough and walk, and repeat. I was miserable but, I tried my best to smile and remember that I get to do this. I am lucky to be able to run at all. There are lots of people who can’t. I should still be able to pull off a 4 hour time if I keep plugging away. Smile and enjoy it. Just get across that line in sub 4!
Miles 18-26 splits – 9:18, 9:52, 9:03, 9:25, 9:24, 9:37, 9:26, 9:37, 9:26 and last .22 – 8:09 pace
Chip time – 3:58:59 (avg pace 9:06)
I gave a BQ a shot and I have no regrets at all about the struggle I had in the second half. I wasn’t 100% and I gave it what I had. I could’ve been more conservative but, I would’ve wondered, “What if. . . ” as I crossed the finish line. That was the last thing I wanted. Looking over my Garmin stats it is encouraging to see that when I was running and not walking in the second half I was still running in the mid 8s. Instead of feeling disappointed and sad about this I was left feeling very proud of myself for holding it together to pull through to a sub 4 finish. It would’ve been SO easy to throw in the towel and jog it in, but I didn’t. I gave it all I had and finished with nothing left on that day. That’s all you can ask for really; to give your best on race day. I did that and I am content in knowing that.
My sister Candice came through with an 8 minute PR though. . . 1:51:12!!! Just a day shy of 10 months since giving birth to my beautiful niece Celine! I was SO proud of her!!!
***special thanks goes to Mrs. Dave for being a fantastic spectator. I have some photos she took, but I have to figure out how to get them off my phone.