K and I decided to sandwich this race in the middle of a much-needed romantic getaway. We traveled only an hour from home to the loved Pensacola Beach. We got there on V-day and spent a wonderful evening doing the beach thing, including dinner at Hemingway's Island Grill. Going into this race, I was already stressed. I was stressed about two things-
1. I really, really need a PR. (I'm cutting to the chase and telling you that I DID NOT PR yesterday.)
2. The weather was not going to be ideal. 60% chance of thunderstorms- Yikes!
So, race morning was rainy, but not storming (thank goodness). I was a bit jittery, but not too bad. I pretty much knew this was not going to be a PR. I met up with speedy Anna at the start and chatted with her about her upcoming first marathon. When the gun sounded, it was barely light (6:30 a.m.). I take the female lead from the start. Here's the mile-by-mile:
1- 6:33 feeling okay, but the road is dark, wet, and slippery
2- 6:34 going up, down, then up again- I can finally see what I'm doing
3- 6:44 miles 3-6 are pretty hilly (Scenic Blvd.) Nothing too steep, but enough for you to feel it.
6- 6:40 It has been raining the whole race, but coming down harder now.
7- 6:33 finally flat and a bit downhill
8- 6:53 this is the steepest hill of the race
Final time: 1:28:19 First female, 9th overall
Quickly after finishing, we drove back out on the course to find Anna. Wowzers- words can not describe how awesome she is! The girl was doing so well at mile 21- smiling and asking me how I did. She finished her FIRST marathon is sub 3. Yes, you read that correctly- sub 3!!!!!!! Watching her finish was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. She is truly an accomplished athlete and I am blessed to have her as a friend. (Maybe if I stand close enough her speed will rub off on me. Haha, just kidding, Anna.)
In summary, I am not surprised by the outcome at all. I know my running is not where it should be. Obviously, something is going on that is preventing me from improving. I don't blame Coach or my training. I think it's just a physical plateau that I am going to have to cross. My brain tells me to push through and hang in there. I know I can get better. My heart is discouraged, though. Like all of you runners reading, we train hard- very hard. Day after day of 3 a.m. running alone in the dark- lap after lap around this tiny town is wearing me down. PRs used to motivate me and push me out of bed. Those PR memories are fading. My half & 15K are over a year old.
Some of you are probably reading thinking that I am insane. I mean, I won a race, what more can I ask for, right? Keep in mind, it's a heck of a lot easier to win when a race has <500.
BTW, whoever said you can't run away from your problems is wrong. I like to imagine myself running quickly and throwing down my problems like used racing cups. I expect to be feeling better in the upcoming weeks. In general, I am feeling more peaceful and hopefully my training will respond to this renewed feeling!
Ps. About the picture... I'm really not as fat as I appear in the photo above. GGRRR- Uggghhh.