For this blog post, I want to hold off reporting about the Trials until AFTER my race report. So, we’ll start with Saturday afternoon.
TP and I took a little nap after the Trials; then hit up dinner at an Italian restaurant with some running friends. After that, we went to the Brooks party downtown. It was great to finally meet fellow blogger, Leah, and see a few other Brooks friends that I met at the coaching clinic this summer. We didn’t stay long, though. We had marathons to run!
Shockingly, I was able to sleep soundly all night. I woke up at 4:00 to drink my Ultra Fuel, but then dozed again for another hour and a half. No joke, we almost missed the start. One of my only complaints about this race is the lack of corral placement. They had only 2 corrals, and it was difficult to get to the front. I know it didn’t *really* matter, but I hate to waste energy trying to pass 4 hour marathoners in the first mile or so.
The longer I race marathons, the more things I learn about my body and how it responds to the distance. One thing I have learned is that I actually don’t feel good the first few miles. It’s like the nervous, spastic running feeling where I’m trying to control my speed, but also my heart rate, mostly caused by nerves, I think.
Miles 1-6- 6:55, 6:49, 6:45, 6:41, 6:37, 6:41
I also thought it as a touch too crowded. I looked forward to Mile 9 when the ½ marathoners would break off. I did get to meet a fellow Brooks runner (Rochelle) and fellow blogger, Candice. I ran with both of them for a few miles. I also made a new friend, Jacob. Jacob and I ran a LOT of miles together until he dropped off for a porta stop. I didn’t see him again after that, unfortunately.
Miles 7-13- 6:49, 6:48, 6:47, 6:50, 6:44, 6:47, 6:48 and I hit the half at about 1:29:1X. I was pleased with this. I knew I was on pace to break 3, but hadn’t outdone myself in the early miles. I was also finally getting into my zone and settling into the pace.
Miles 14-17- 6:47, 6:56, 6:53, 6:47
At Mile 15, I saw Coach Bill from the Woodlands and threw him my gloves. It was nice to see a friendly face out there. I was starting to lose focus. I was ahead of the pace group and red balloons, and was kind of in No Man’s Land.
Miles 18-20- 6:52, 6:56, 6:56 This was when my hamstrings started giving me problems. I felt that tightening feeling and knew that a wall was coming. I’m just wanting to hold on as long as possible. The red balloons (pace group) caught me, and I was able to hold with them for a few miles. My stupid shoelace also came untied at Mile 17- GGGRRR! I have had this problem before with these shoes, but I had triple knotted them, hoping to avoid that. I love the Racers, but if wear them again for a marathon, I will buy some traditional laces.
Miles 21-23- 6:50, 6:49, 6:49 I am already hurting, and I know I’m in for a death march. I’m holding on to the pace with everything I have.
Miles 24-26.2- 7:05, 7:23, 7:37, 2:19 I actually stopped to walk twice. My hamstrings had knives going into them. I knew I was done. No Sub 3 for today.
Final time: 3:00:59
27th Overall Female, 9th in Age Group
Prior to Houston, I told Adrienne that I would need her services if I didn’t break 3 hours. I also reread my last post describing how sick of training I was. Well… then I worked the Olympic Trials. The lessons I took away from the “job” were better than any motivational book I could ever read. While I am hugely inspired by Kara, Desi, and Shalane, the biggest lessons I learned came from Amy and Deena.
Adrienne and I were at the Trials by 6:00, beyond excited for our duties. Within an hour, we were standing wide-eyed and with open mouths watching America’s top distance runners warm up and prepare for their races. Then we spent the next 2 hours watching the race from the finish line, upper balcony of volunteer area, and on the big screen. Adrienne, the big star, went in another direction escort the winner to various engagements.
About 10 of us stood in a line at the finish line exit. Our job was to escort the athlete from the exit to the baggage claim area that was up 2 stories in the convention center. And it’s truth time- I don’t *really* follow men’s distance running. I mean, I know all the top names and who was probably going to win the race, but other than that, I really didn’t know anyone I escorted for the men’s race. After taking a few men to get their bags, and one lady DNF, came the big moment.
See, while waited behind the finish line exit, we didn’t know who was coming out next. So, it was totally by chance that it was my turn in line when Amy Hastings came out. She was sobbing; snot was everywhere; and she was covering her face. It was the most pitiful thing I’d seen in a very long time. I knew from the big screen that she had gotten 4th. More than that, she had taken her turn leading the race. I would describe her marathon performance as strong, courageous, and gutsy. As I led her upstairs, I was probably babbling like a fool. I don’t actually remember what I said to her, but I do remember that it was on the escalator that she dried her eyes a bit, and gave a little smile. She is my role model for guts, determination, and most importantly- passion. To train and train, and have a (possibly) once in a lifetime chance to do something as grand as the Olympics, then to fall a tad short has to be the most heartbreaking thing of all time. Her Trials race is parallel to mine in the lesson that the marathon is an unforgiving beast. You can train for months, only to miss your goal in the last few minutes of the race. It is often out of your control. But, like Amy Hastings showed me, sometimes you have to put it all out there and try. Sometimes you have to run without reservation, take risks, and don’t be afraid to fail. And see, it’s not *really* failing if you come up short. Amy is an Olympic alternate, and I have a new PR. Not only does Amy run for Brooks, but she is also at the very TOP of my running idols list.
After Amy, I escorted the runner behind Deena. I’ve always loved Deena, but Saturday solidified how much I admire her. It’s no secret that Deena wanted a spot on the Olympic Team. In fact, I had my money on her for a spot (figure of speech, didn’t actually bet on the race). She has been such a strong marathoner for YEARS, and if anyone could bounce back from pregnancy and rip off an Olympic spot, it would be Deena. As great as watching the Trials finish, watching Deena exit that finish area was just as great. She plastered a smile on her face, and waved at her fans. Not only that, but she THANKED them for their support. In a time of utter disappointment, she modeled more dignity, poise, and gratitude than I could ever imagine doing in that situation. We often admire athletes for their performance. Not only is Deena the greatest marathoner in the U.S., she has the attitude and demeanor to accompany it.
So, these two athletes led me to not being too disappointed about Sunday’s race. Yes, I wanted Sub 3. Yes, life goes on. Quit? Heck, no. If Deena and Amy can press on, so can I!
(I also published a post earlier today from the First Light Relay, if you are interested.)