The morning started where I had woken up at a decent hour. I really couldn't sleep at all as I woke up multiple amounts of times: 2am, 4am and 6am (before my alarm) and then I finally got out of bed at 6:30. The race started pretty late at 8, so I didn't really need to get out until 7ish...where Betty Boop lived relatively close to the start.
In all race mornings, I ask myself the question, "why do I sign up for these races?" Seriously, why do we? We need to wake up so early and I guess, I'm not a "go getter" kind of person...not until I get to the starting line at least.
Got everything on: Brooks singlet, brooks shorts, brooks arm warmers, and brooks duel colored shoes: The Pure Connects. Yes, I wear two different colors, same brand shoes, but since I have seen the multi colored Nike track shoes for the 800 meters, I wanted to bring some element of branding to our sponsor. I was selected into the Brooks Inspired Daily Program this year for the 3rd year, as I am graciously appreciative because of the hard selection across the nation. I pretty much got in because I am a coach for two different charity groups for the NYC marathon and also work for the NYRR as a creative assistant manager. One of those charity groups: The Alzheimer's Association; team called -
Run to Remember, I have co-founded and have been a coach for 5 years.
The morning was cold (not much colder than waking up in NY) around this time, although it was a bit chilly. I was surprised for a southern state, although recently across the nation the colder states that have expected cold weather were getting warmer temperatures than the warmer states who had received colder temperatures than these warmer states. Funny that!
I wasn't sure if the race would offer baggage and needed to check that, so Betty Boop waited for me to make sure that it was ok, until I returned with the ok that they would have bag check. The bib didn't have a baggage bib! Ok...for my work for the NYRR, I am in charge of all race bibs for all NYRR events, so being a stickler about these things for my race, I notice!
Anyways, after finding this information, I went back outside to tell Betty Boop as she would return later to pick me up and I would be able to leave my after clothes in my baggage bag. Also my cell phone would be essential as well to give her a call afterwards.
I wedged myself behind a column of the school near the gym and stretched, eating my onion bagel (not ideal of a food to eat due to the amount of acid - having your body process this is not so good, because of the stomach gas, but I guessed I was an ultra runner and my stomach is better than most, so I chanced it). Usually the preferable cinnamon raisin or even plain would do. I stretched while I ate and then tried to locate my co-worker Daphne M. She was in town after deciding last minute to run the half marathon because she had grew up in Charleston and her parents still lived there. She found me and we chatted a bit until finally realizing it was time to get our bags in place and go to the starting line.
I had my throw away shirt on, the sun was nice, although it was windy and chilly still, but pretty ideal temperatures for running.
I took a few pictures, as I always do in the beginning, rather than the end when I am tired, and a guy later found out his name is: (____) next to me asked if I was part of the Brooks ID Program (guess with all of my Brooks gear, I would ask as well). He was part of the same program, as I took a picture of him and he was in for the Half. He later stayed to see me finish and we chatted a bit as he found out how I was part of the program and I found out he was chosen because he worked at a shoe store...so I took a picture of him, and he took a picture of me and we also took a picture together, as I told him that I would post it on the Brooks facebook page!.
I continued on as I didn't want to have him chase me as he described some of his injuries in the past, so he let me go. I quickly darted to be on pace as I took a few pictures of the course. One guy asked me how easy I looked while taking pictures, as I quickly responded "it's easier in the early stages, although we'll see how many pictures I take at mile 20," his response, "that's when the real race begins!"
The course was relatively flat, and we rounded points of downtown, through the nice avenues where I had roamed the night before. It was nice and beautiful and then we went out into the outer areas.
At mile 7 or 8, I started feeling it. Wow, this was really early to feel tired. Need to get into the groove. I tucked behind a group, although they slowed, so I passed them to just feel a good pace. Another guy followed and we stayed together for about a mile or two...I spotted a youngster, a mere boy running in the race at a great pace. I asked him what age he was running at and he told me that he was 15! 15! Damn! Seriously, absolutely amazing. I had thoughts of how your kids can apply for college and how your child can put on their application that they have done a half or full marathon...that would set a person apart from all the rest! Seriously...(Yes, folks, this is what I think about during a marathon!)
Anyways, moving on. The full marathon quickly separated from the half marathon at mile 10 or so, and that really separated the competition. This is what separated the men with the mice, (yes, I actually said that in my mind!). Seriously, where do I come up with these things!
I was slowing down as I could really feel just my body tire from the lack of training, but I moved on. I got passed by one guy and I wanted to stick with him. We were pretty deserted as I the only thing I could think about at that point was as if I was running in the desert...It was getting hot out now and the sun was finally piercing our skin. No one was around cheering, just you and the sparkling road (the road had glimpses of glass and speckles that shined as you passed and the sun just shined on it). That's all I could think about. I saw that a few runners had already passed...the front runners were way out in front as they were on their way back to join the half marathoners and I couldn't catch them...seriously, where were they taking us?
We ended up going out on this curved road, where most of us just cut the tangents and then got to this point of this yachting dock, we went out...and literally had to turn around at the dock...what? What kind of race was this? Then back out to where we left the half marathoners...you literally could see what place you were at and I saw that there was only one female ahead of me.
All I could here behind me were these guys that were jibbering away and in my mind I was thinking, gosh, these guys really are relaxed. They could go so much faster and they are just chatting away, while I am struggling....gosh, I need to hold them off. Ok, mile 11, just hold on till the half marathon mark...then you can quickly add 3 more miles and then you'll be at mile 16...I was seriously hurting...and struggling to keep pace.
When we were reunited with the half folks, the directions and folks that volunteered at these vital points were non-concerning. I had to scream ahead to ask which direction we were to go to and the traffic ahead while merging with the first time half marathoners as they cheered us on, although didn't provide much room for us to run around. It really would have been nice if the race directors offered our own lane or had a separation, because we had to zig zag through the crowd. It would be not that far as the jibber-jabber group behind me caught up and frollicked ahead, and as we again split off between the full marathon and half, I stuck with the group, continuing to pace myself and in hopes to try to get a sub 3. The guys slowed down and I forged ahead and they formed a group behind me. I quickly saw that a group had formed of 3-8 people and a female runner quickly jumped ahead. She was about 30 meters ahead and I made the decision to go ahead and catch up to her...I caught up and then passed her telling her that literally the girl in front of her was the first female. She wasn't that far behind and I quickly felt a real nice groove. I chatted to her that she was rolling and I was rooting for her, since she had an extra gear and she was rolling.
I told her, "I just wanted to see this (these two gals - meaning her and the person ahead of her) unfold!"
As I let her go and said she could catch her, I surged ahead...catching up to the first female. She actually tried to draft off of me, although sort of failed because she couldn't keep up. She asked if she could, and I knew what she was doing, so I didn't mind, although in the back of my mind, I could only think what the other gal was thinking...(Hopefully not thinking that I was helping the other gal!)
After I surged ahead and lost her, I could hear girl chatter behind, both ladies were running side by side with each other. I didn't care, all I would do is just keep running.
I really felt good and the miles kept coming. 16, 17...then I could hear the crowd just cheering, I now felt the lady that I dropped very much earlier who I rooted on, right on my back. It's ok, I totally embraced this moment. I would help her and allow her to piggy back on me and go, push and surge as much as I could (as I wanted to push for a sub 3) as much as I could. We worked together as actually she worked off of me. I would guide her through some mazes of the course and keep pushing as much as I had in me...18...19...20...21...22...23...
Ok, by mile 23, we were moving as I couldn't keep the pace that I was pushing. I felt as though I didn't know if I was pushing her too hard, but I wanted to see her win and go forth to do so. I told her to keep going as she passed me, we only had 3 more miles to go, although those were the tougher miles to go through and from mile 18-23, we were powering through 6:45 min miles. I have done what I needed to do, to help her in any way I could in straightening her path along the not so great paths of clearly defining the course route...
I can honestly say that I did see one guy fall of course during this time and when I passed, I told a spectator or was it a volunteer for the event to close up the gap of confusion...
But all I could remember is basically trying to hold on. We winded our ways, made some turns here and there and basically made it to some portions where the end was near. We went to some parks and riversides...and then went along a long stretch...and we were almost done! Left turn...into a town center...no finish line...
Ok, so we need to make yet another left and soon enough the finish line will be there...
Ok...sprinting, surging to the so called finish line...and...where could it be? Seriously? I mean all of this surging and sprinting is making me feel tired...plus I can hear the guy in back of me...oh gosh, hold on!
Keep moving! Uh...
Then one more push, turning right now and I can see something!
Sprint some more and the final surge!
Race is over and I could finally relax. I saw that the first female had crossed the line about 800 meters in front of me...and I congratulated her at the finish, although she was surrounded by video camera guys and so on...